Benefits, especially health care and retirement, are a hot topic in the automotive industry. Thus the media pays keen interest when any manufacturer makes sweeping new changes.

Nissan Motor Co. announced that all employees hired after January 1st will receive a 401(k)-type plan instead of the company’s traditional pension plan. Also, employees and early retirees in manufacturing who did not turn 65 at the end of 2005 would receive an annual stipend for health-care issues instead of the regular insurance policy upon retirement. This plan goes into effect at the beginning of 2007.

The changes were not unexpected by Nissan employees.

"I knew it was going to happen," said David Gore, a retired Nissan manager. "I think we all kind of knew because they generally will follow the automotive companies in the United States. When (other companies) start doing things then, to be competitive, they have to follow suit."

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