Nissan Motor Co. Ethics Essay

Nissan Motors is a Japan-based vehicle manufacturing corporation. Since 1958, when Nissan entered the United States, it has been a major competitor among cars and trucks. Nissan now has headquarters for all of its major divisions all across the country; from Tennessee to California. Just a few of its divisions are Nissan Logistics, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, Nissan Data Center, and Nissan Design America. As companies expand and conduct business in other markets, a question arises, how can it stay profitable? This question can drive a company to make two types of decisions: ethical and unethical.

Just as all large corporations and industries have major ethical issues to confront or avoid, Nissan is no exception. In particular to the automotive industry, a strict focus has been placed on companies to cut down on carbon emissions in an effort to counter global warming. Global warming has led to many changes within the manufacturing of vehicles. Such changes are fuel economy, alternative fuel sources, and a higher demand for smaller vehicles. This is an ethical issue because it is believed that vehicles have been a huge contributor to global warming through their carbon emissions. These emissions come from fossil fuels, which is the primary source of fuel for almost all vehicles. Theoretically, the excessive carbon builds up so-called greenhouse gases and trap heat.

Another recent issue the industry has faced is vehicle safety. After Toyota had to recall millions of vehicles because of safety issues, other companies began to be proactive regarding the safety of their own automobiles to avoid lawsuits. Because the safety of human lives is involved, this becomes an ethical issue in why such problems would be accidentally or deliberately left unfixed for such a long period of time. The automakers’ duties of early detection and warning of malfunctions are now under close observation. This means there is constantly an effort to keep an eye on new models, while also monitoring older models. With the extra effort to stay aware of potential hazards and lawsuits, costs become higher. With higher costs, companies will find ways to absorb them. The practices they choose to pay for operating costs can lead to another ethical topic, financial accountability.

The compensation of executives and the well being of companies in the auto industry have become popularly scrutinized. People are now concerned with workers’ salaries and pensions because they know unions require their members to maintain high pay, even after retirement. After the recession came about, two of the United States’ largest domestic car companies declared bankruptcy. This led to the shutting down of factories and thousands of job losses. Luckily for the two companies, the U.S. government rescued them with billions of taxpayer dollars.

Millions of people were enraged because the idea of free enterprise was essentially ignored by the government. On top of this, the executives of these companies took huge bonuses from the bailout money while people on the factory floor were being laid off. An ethical problem that spans all global industries is truth in marketing. Companies must make their products appealing without lying about what they can do. However, it may now be more common for car companies to falsely advertise a certain price with the wrong model. Advertising should be something that is overseen closely by upper management. The government’s involvement has also been vital to truthful advertising. It would be ideal to trust that a corporation would not falsely advertise, but it would probably get out of control without the government’s intervention. Marketing becomes unethical when someone purchases a product based on false information provided by the maker.

No matter the size of the issue, the company has still lied to its consumer. Lying is probably one of the easiest distinguishable ethical issues. Each of these ethical issues is important, and should all have solutions. Nevertheless, two of the problems which should be addressed are the environmental, and vehicle safety issues. This would be done through global corporate citizenship and consumer protection; respectively. First, Nissan should conduct a social performance audit to see where it stands among other corporations and the global standard. Any company would be adequate, but because it is conducting business in the United States, an American company such as Ford would probably be more accurate for this market. Corporate social reports using the triple bottom line method would be effective, too. This would increase Nissan’s stakeholder awareness through transparency.

Nissan should also partake in sustainable development, focusing on alternative, renewable fuel sources. Some of the main focuses should be voluntary business initiatives such as the life-cycle analysis, industrial ecology, extended product responsibility, carbon neutrality through some type of carbon offsets, and technology cooperation. For the second issue, Nissan should focus on quality management. The company should continuously find ways of improving aspects of production to reduce flaws. Another approach would be for Nissan to take the reins, so to speak, and persuade other companies in the industry to set codes of conduct. For example, they might all agree to provide a certain warranty for a common problem so that customers feel at ease.

To stay self-aware of necessary information regarding their products, Nissan could assign a consumer affairs officer. This would prove effective in both costs, and reduction of legal ramifications. Finally, Nissan should be proactive toward product recalls, rather than waiting for the government to force them to do it. For this to work successfully, Nissan should devise ways to inform customers of any recalls. The first solution would work because Nissan would understand its environmental impact. Additionally, by developing sustainable energy sources, Nissan would be taking action to reduce or reverse any harmful practices. The second solution would work because developing new quality management programs, and having feedback and awareness systems in place would leave less faulty vehicles on the road. This would build its brand name, and brand loyalty