Nissan posted a net loss of 83.2 billion yen in the fiscal third quarter to December, blaming the global economic slowdown and the strong yen.
Chief executive Carlos Ghosn, who salvaged Nissan from near bankruptcy when he was parachuted in from Renault a decade ago, said the automaker's "worst assumptions on the state of the global economy have been met or exceeded."
"The global auto industry is in turmoil. Nissan is no exception," he said.
Nissan said it would shrink its global workforce in the next financial year to March 2010 from 235,000 to 215,000.
"In response to this crisis, which is not of our making, we have to reevaluate our global headcount," Ghosn said.
Nissan made an operating loss of 99.2 billion yen in the third quarter as revenue tumbled 34.4 per cent to 1.82 trillion yen.
Nissan sold 731,000 vehicles worldwide in the third quarter, down 18.6 per cent from a year earlier.