- Expertise: Production engineering, Plant management
- Location: Sunderland, UK
- Languages spoken: English, Spanish, basic French and Russian
- DOB: February 1971
Who is Alan Johnson?
Alan Johnson is Vice President of Manufacturing for Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK). Based at Nissan's Sunderland plant in the UK, he is responsible for all manufacturing aspects of the plant. On a day-to-day basis he oversees the plant's entire operation, from strategic planning, to liaising with global functions, and coordinating with supply chains and design teams on all elements of Nissan's vehicles. However, for Alan, one of the most important elements of his role is ensuring the teams within the manufacturing plant are set up for success.
Alan joined Nissan's Sunderland plant in 1991 as a Graduate Engineer – Trim and Chassis. He was then promoted to Trim and Chassis Engineering Manager where he helped launch the next generation Micra and Almera. After a few years, Alan spent time in Spain with assignments at Nissan's plants in Barcelona and Avila. This then resulted in Alan being promoted to General Manager Quality Assurance Engineering. In 2009, he moved to Russia as Monozukuri (Japanese for manufacturing) leader, focusing on localisation of parts supply. Shortly after in 2011, Alan returned to the UK as General Manager NEPE and was involved in the successful launch of the LEAF, NOTE and Qashqai. In 2015, he returned to Spain and a year later was promoted to Vice President of Nissan's Spanish Industrial Operations. In 2018, Alan then became Alliance Global Director of Production Engineering for AMI (Africa, Middle East, and India), based in the Renault Technology Centre in Paris. Alan then assumed his current role in May 2020.
Alan says some of his greatest achievements include the lead preparation and successful launch of three new models – LEAF, NOTE and Qashqai – and one minor change – JUKE – in 15 months at NMUK across 2013/2014. He is also proud of the launch of the Daimler 1-ton pickup and operational improvements at Nissan's plant in Spain during his time there.
Alan says the farewell he received from Nissan's team in Spain following his time there was "unforgettable". He was touched that the team recognised what he was trying to do during his time at Nissan's Spanish plants, and Alan said the farewell was very "kind and generous". Alan appreciated all the hard work from his "capable and talented" teams and found his time in Spain a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Why is Nissan different?
Alan has worked all over the world and no matter where he has been, he says he has always managed to find people with a similar work ethic and mindset. Alan says that he always believed that doing his best and treating everyone with respect is how he got to where he is today. He stressed the importance of enjoying the job you are doing and who you are doing your job with, with Alan saying he has met brilliant people at Nissan that have genuinely inspired him, and he is thankful for the opportunity to work closely with colleagues in very senior positions. Alan says that he never would have dreamed that he would one day be Vice President of Nissan Sunderland and continues to be amazed at where the company can take you. Alan also believes that the opportunities within Nissan "are and continue to be huge geographically", that there are limitless opportunities with "no glass ceilings" and if you're good enough, then you can go anywhere. He says working in Russia, France and Spain had a "big influence" in his life – he met his wife through Nissan, had his first child in Spain and second in France – and that these opportunities continue to provide development and new challenges.
Alan says that the future of the automotive industry will see a consolidation of OEMs, an increased presence globally of Chinese manufacturers and the further electrification of products. From a business perspective, Alan says development costs and new technology will increase, meaning the cost will need to be shared by OEMs together. He adds that he would not be surprised if more partnerships form, even if they come with complications. Alan also acknowledges that Chinese manufacturers are becoming more capable, their products are becoming more attractive, they are innovating in terms of EVs, and they continue to grow their footprint in Europe. He believes that while it's widely acknowledged that the future is electric, Alan thinks that as more people try electric vehicles, they will find it harder to go back to diesel or petrol cars.
Alan completed an Honours Degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering from Strathclyde University.
In Alan's Personal Time
Alan likes to spend his personal time with his wife and two young daughters.
Your current car
Alan's current car is the new Nissan Juke.
Your first car
Alan's first car was a 1983 Vauxhall Astra. As a student, Alan saved his money from his summer job and bought the car and "loved it".