May 17, 2011 / 5:56 AM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-Nissan working to restore full production before Oct-CEO

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IWAKI, Japan, May 17 (Reuters) - Employees at Nissan Motor Co are working hard to restore quake-hit production at Japan’s No.2 automaker to full levels before its October target, although such an early recovery may be hard to achieve, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Tuesday.

“I can tell you that every single Nissan employee is trying to (prove) me wrong when I say October. This is absolutely a sense of motivation from everybody to say we’re going to make it happen before October,” Ghosn told Reuters in an interview at Nissan’s Iwaki engine plant, about 60 km (30 miles) from Tokyo Electric Power’s crippled nuclear power station.

“But reasonably, I don’t think it’s going to be before October,” he added.

The Iwaki factory, which builds 2.5 to 3.7-litre engines for the Fuga, Murano, Infiniti M, and other models, marked its return to full production capacity on Tuesday after suffering damage to its equipment and structure from the magnitude-9.0 earthquake on March 11.

Ghosn surprised the market last week with a projection of higher vehicle sales this business year compared with the year ended in March despite a big disruption to production resulting from the disasters that have crippled the supply chain. Nissan expects a full recovery in vehicle production by October.

Ghosn also told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the Iwaki plant will be working at a faster pace over the next three months than initially planned, to make up for lost production after the quake.

He added that the Iwaki plant has fully recovered its production capacity but it is still not at 100 percent of planned production due to continued parts disruption. (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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