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Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that the Japanese government’s effort to keep the yen’s value under control had failed and that Nissan was strongly considering moving production out of Japan and into foreign countries.
A weakened United States dollar has meant that the value of the greenback has shifted from 91 yen per dollar to 76 yen per dollar over the past two years. This unfavorable exchange range has led Nissan to examine other countries for vehicle production. ”We have to make investment decisions all the time,” Ghosn told Reuters. “This is one of the factors that we have to consider when we look at a project and say are we going to do it in Japan or are we going to do it in another country?”
Despite this, Ghosn said that he felt vehicle sales would rise in 2012 even in the face of another possible economic downturn. Ghosn also announced a new electric vehicle to be built in China for the Chinese market.
Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn reported back in late July that ”with more than 10,100 electric Nissan Leaf vehicles already sold worldwide” the Japanese automaker is “clearly the global leader in zero emission mobility” but, these numbers were never verified.
However, it has now been confirmed that Nissan has officially topped the 10,000-unit milestone globally. Nissan spokeswoman Katherine Zachary said the sales of the Leaf, “crossed the 10,000 mark a couple weeks ago.” The exact number is not known due to the Nissan’s “summer holiday” shutdown in Japan.
The Nissan Leaf will retail for $35,200 in the SV trim and $37,250 for the SL trim. The annual cost of running the Leaf on electric power is expected to cost as little as just $561. Furthermore, the Leaf returns a very impressive 99-mpg on average. That means the electric car returns 106-mpg city and 92-mpg listing for highway driving.
[Source: Autoblog Green]
Infiniti may develop its own version of Nissan’s famous GT-R sports car. Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan was asked if Infiniti would tap into the existing products through Nissan and use the brilliant GT-R sports car platform for a high- performance Infiniti.
‘Are we going to do that, I would say “no”, I don’t think so,’ said Ghosn. ‘If your question is “could we do that”, I would say “yes”. The idea of using existing technologies on the body of an Infiniti, yes. All the technologies developed for Nissan are available to Infiniti.’ Ghosn basically beat around the bush leaving the question unanswered. A GT-R type sports car is unlikely to be a priority because the company is busy prepping for the 2014 release of a small car that will rival the BMW 1-series and the 2013 release of an electric car.
‘Will we do it?,’ added Ghosn. ‘I think we need to go step by step. We have positioned the FX, the M, the G. Then we have the QX in the US, which is a big success over there – it’s a high-end 4×4. We have the EX. We have the electric car, we have a sub-G smaller car coming and we have a lot of people saying “why don’t we use the power of the GT-R and give it an Infiniti body?”
‘The idea makes sense. The technology is here, the platform is here. It’s a great car, the GT-R. Is it a project now? No. But I don’t want to give you the impression we’ll never do that. But I don’t want you to think that it’s coming in the next two to three years either.’
Nissan has emerged from the global economic downturn as a powerhouse, quietly growing but without grabbing headlines like Ford or Hyundai have. Now the Japanese automaker has unveiled a new business plan titled “Nissan Power 88″ that aims to grow its share of the global market to 8 percent, while bringing operating profit to a sustainable 8 percent.
The strategy is a global one and includes growth in all markets. How exactly Nissan aims to do this is has been laid out, in brief, in a statement released by the automaker. First, and perhaps most impressive, is news that Nissan will launch one all-new model every six weeks, starting immediately and for the next six years. In total, Nissan aims to offer a global portfolio of 66 vehicles, competing in 92 percent of all markets and market segments.
In addition, Nissan will grow its electric vehicle size, with planned sales of EVs from the combined Renault-Nissan Alliance to hit 1.5 million units by 2016. With new green car innovations will come technological advancements of all sorts, with a planned 90 new innovations over the next six years.
The commercial vehicle arm of Nissan will also grow in significance and the automaker claims it will be the, “world’s leading light commercial vehicle manufacturer” by 2016.
To help support all this growth Nissan is planning to expand its retail sales network from a current level of 6,000 points of sale, to 7,500 in the mid-term of its Power 88 plan.
And of course, what business plan would be complete without projected strong sales in emerging markets like China, where Nissan aims for a 10 percent market share. In addition, Brazil will get a new plant, while Nissan plans further expansion in India and Russia.
As for the Infiniti luxury division, it is projected to grow by more than triple, from the current 150,000 units annually to over 500,000. Along with strong branding support with its current Formula One tie-in, plans include a growth of products, with dealerships to offer at least 10 different models by the end of 2016.
“Nissan Power 88 is the roadmap for our company’s profitable growth,” said Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn. “We will accelerate our growth, bringing more innovation and excitement to our products and services as well as cleaner, more affordable cars for everyone around the world, in line with the energy and environmental challenges of the 21st century.”
CEO Carlos Ghosn has set a lofty goal for Nissan: capture 10% of the total American car market in the next 4 years.
Right now in the first five months, Nissan and Infiniti have sold 8.2% of all cars in America, or about 433,032 vehicles. Nissan aims to sell over 1 million vehicles in the US by the end of this year.
The sales target comes as part of Nissan’s six-year global plan to increase sales, with volume cars such as the new Versa. Ghosn didn’t mention specifics other than some impressive numbers and a deadline, but hey, that’s how Kennedy got us to the moon.
[Source: Left Lane News]
In an official press release, the Renault-Nissan Alliance stated that the office will “build staff organically, to focus on specific projects and business developments as they emerge.”
The office is part of the automaker’s $5.4 billion commitment to sustainable transportation and will play an integral role in vehicle Information Technology research, including graphic user interface displays, in-car connectivity features already employed on the Nissan LEAF EV (shown above) as well as Smart Grid R&D.
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, during a speech at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), said that “the [Renault-Nissan] Alliance is at the vanguard of the auto industry’s shift to sustainable transportation. Having a greater footprint in one of the world’s headquarters for clean tech research will extend our lead further.”
Nissan and Renault are planning to officially combine into one automaker, solidifying a partnership between the Japanese and French companies that has existed since 1999. Or at least, they were planning to do so according to a report by Japan’s Nikkei, that quoted company CEO Carlos Ghosn. Today, however, both automakers are refuting that claim.
A statement released jointly by the two automakers claims that the Nikkei article was, “a misinterpretation of a wide-ranging interview in which Mr. Ghosn said that the corporate structure of the Renault-Nissan Alliance would remain dynamic,” and that “There are no plans to create a holding company, and in fact Mr. Ghosn did not say that Renault and Nissan are ‘leaning toward establishing a holding company.”
If a tie-up were to occur, it would bring together two of the world’s larger automakers for a combined annual output of around 7 million vehicles. That would put it in direct competition with Volkswagen, which currently holds the title of being the world’s 3rd largest automaker with 7.14 million units sold last year. First and second place, held by Toyota and GM, are still comfortably out front with 8.42 million and 8.39 million units respectively.
Having left Japan just one day before the tsunami-inducing earthquake wreaked havoc, a large shipment of Nissan LEAF Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) has just arrived in Long Beach, Calif.
Nissan’s Luna Spirit vehicle-carrying transport ship was safely on the open ocean when a 500 MPH wave passed under it, at about 3-inches high.
About a week after the tsunami, Nissan announced more than 1,500 LEAFs were either in transit or in a U.S. port.
With the estimated 1,500 new BEVs now in the U.S., this will be make possible the first substantial delivery of LEAFs to the U.S. which at this juncture have had less than stellar sales.
Short supply has been said to be the primary reason why a waiting list of about 2,000 U.S. pre-orders remains unfilled.
In January, Nissan reported 87 LEAFS delivered, and in the 10-percent shorter month of February, just 67 LEAFS were sold. In all, just 173 LEAFS have been delivered to the U.S. according to the Japan Auto Dealers Association (JADA).
This U.S. allotment plus 3,657 LEAF sales primarily in Japan will mean over 5,000 LEAFs will have been produced. This makes it one of the highest production BEVs yet produced. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has previously stated that plug-in vehicles will account for a quarter of Nissan’s sales by 2020, and the LEAF represents the first step towards that goal.
Renault is admitting that is wrongfully dismissed three executives accused of corporate espionage, saying it has found no evidence to support the allegations made.
Carlos Ghosn, Renault’s CEO, met with the three and promised compensation for their erroneous termination. Renault had accused the executives of holding illicit bank accounts in Switzerland and Lichtenstein, but their claim was contradicted by authorities in both countries. Renault is now investigation potential fraud related to another employee.
“At this stage we do not know whether we are dealing with just fraud or a deliberate attempt to destabilize Renault,” Paris Chief Prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin said. “If there was any espionage it was not carried out through the networks identified by Renault.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Days after Renault fired three men and pressed criminal charges on them for allegedly attempting to sell electric car secrets overseas, CEO Carlos Ghosn is facing a disturbing lack of evidence, embarrassing Renault into reconsidering its accusations.
The entire dramatic episode is becoming a farce—like BP during the Gulf oil spill, Renault may be faced with a new round of replacement executives. Chief operating officer Patrick Pélata told a French newspaper that “a certain number of factors lead us to doubt” the accusations that it had made. Key evidence is missing, such as the bank accounts that the three men had supposedly used in the spying operation. Renault’s own investigators looking into the case have divulged little information on their findings, if any.
To make matters even more complicated, the three men have fought back, suing Renault for defamation and reaching out to the media. They are part of senior management in Renault’s electric car program (that it shares with Nissan) and have been with the company for years, even decades. And they are maintaining their innocence, believing that they were fired without the company even looking for evidence to match the accusations.
Was Renault the victim of a con man, who played on the company’s fears by accusing it of being spied upon? The French government is understandably angry at the whole affair, as the state owns 15 percent of the company. The entire case will only get messier from here, and few people—including Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s wonder boy—are safe.
[Source: New York Times]
Carlos Ghosn, head of Renault-Nissan, offered a series of very optimistic forecasts regarding electric vehicles during a recent interview with Bloomberg TV, while stating bluntly “There are customers who want really zero emission cars.”
Ghosn predicted that 10 percent of auto sales in the year 2020 will be comprised of zero emissions vehicles, and Nissan seems to be betting heavily on electric vehicles in particular.
With plans to produce 500,000 electric cars by 2012, Ghosn said that profits could be generated within 3 years as the production volumes increase to a level where economies of scale can be taken advantage of.
[Source: Automotive News]
Carlos Ghosn has been re-elected to serve as CEO and Chairman of Renault for another four years.
In a prepared statement, the company announced that “Renault’s board of directors has re-elected Carlos Ghosn as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for a four-year period, following the renewal of his directorship by the Annual General Meeting of April 30, 2010,” the company said in a statement.
Ghosn is famous for helping to reverse Nissan’s fortunes from a $6.1 billion loss in 2004 to a $2.1 billion profit in 2005. Speaking to the Annual General Meeting for Renault/Nissan, Ghosn stressed that emerging markets were the future of the company stating
“We are combining our strengths with Nissan, notably in India, Russia, Brazil and Mexico. The Alliance product strategy has been finalised in India and Russia, and Renault and Nissan will pool their production capacities and platforms there to fully deliver on these developments.”
[Source: Business Standard]
The Infiniti G will in fact be powered by a 4-cylinder engine in the future says company CEO Carlos Ghosn, and that four-banger will come from Mercedes. Earlier this week when Mercedes parent company Daimler and Renault/Nissan announced a new partnership, the deal included the use of both 4-cylinder and V6 Mercedes powerplants in Infiniti models. One could presume these would be for the G, although there’s also speculation that the 4-cylinder could be used in a new entry-level model that Infiniti is reportedly planning.
According to a report by InsideLine, the Mercerdes 4-cylinder is likely to be the entry level engine, slotting in even under the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that reports have suggested Infiniti will launch next year in a model called the Infiniti G25. It’s possible the engine could be a 154-hp 1.8-liter supercharged engine currently used in Europe, although Mercedes has also been testing a supercharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder for the C-Class and is rumored to be working on a turbocharged 4-cylinder.
In terms of the upcoming entry-level Infiniti model, that vehicle will also be the result of a joint venture by both Infiniti and Mercedes and aimed at taking on the Audi A1 and BMW 1 Series.
As to whether all this cooperation might be bad for both brands, offering similar products to customers, Ghosn mentioned on a conference call that neither company sees it as an issue because Mercedes and Infiniti customers rarely cross-shop vehicles.
Infiniti to get 4-Cylinder and 6-Cylinder Mercedes Engines as part of deal
At a press conference earlier today a new partnership between Mercedes parent company Daimler and Renault/Nissan was announced that will see all three automakers working together to develop new products, while reducing overall costs. The partnership will see the German, French and Japanese automakers work together on future small car projects, engines and commercial vehicles.
The alliance also includes each automaker taking a share in the other with Daimler taking a 3.1 percent share in Nissan and Renault, while the Japanese and French automakers will each take a 1.55 percent share in Daimler.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the asset sharing was “symbolic” and commented that unlike the unsuccessful deal with Chrysler, this one focuses on shared products first. He even confirmed that, as rumored, the two automakers have been working together for some time already.
Zetsche commented on how the deal will see initial benefits for Daimler in the small car area, while Renault CEO Ghosn said that he expects to save 2 billion Euros over the next five years in cost reductions – apart from the new revenue the partnership will generate.
In terms of specifics, the two automakers will work to co-develop the next generation of the Smart ForTwo and Renault Twingo, both of which are due out in 2013. Both models will be offered with electric engines at launch and new 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be developed for use in both vehicles.
According to a statement released by Nissan, the automakers will also work to develop the new line of premium small cars for Mercedes-Benz – presumably the A-Class and B-Class.
The Mercedes connection will also help Nissan’s luxury brand, with Infiniti getting 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines that are to be used across the product line in the U.S., China and other markets. There’s no word if the 4-cylinder will appear in a rumored compact front-drive Infiniti model, but Infiniti does expect the new engines will help the brand grow more quickly. This move will, however, allow costs savings at Daimler due to economies of scale.
As for the commercial vehicle side, Renault will develop a new commercial van for use by Mercedes. There was no mention, however, if Nissan could get any help with its next generation of pickup trucks by using older Mercedes truck technology.
Both automakers have also said they are open to the possibility of more development and product sharing in the years to come.
[Source: Automotive News]
German automaker Daimler AG and French car manufacturer Renault have reportedly agreed on a new business strategy that will see both parties create a global small-car alliance, sharing development costs and technology. Details of the deal are set to be announced tomorrow in Brussels with Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and Renault-Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn taking part.
According to a report by Automotive News Europe, the management boards for each automaker have agreed to the partnership.
Currently Daimler, parent company to Mercedes-Benz and Smart, is looking to introduce new A-Class and B-Class models, as well as bring the B-Class to the U.S. New Smart models are also a part of future plans. Meanwhile, Renault, which owns Japanese automaker Nissan, launched a new sub-compact Micra (above), which is slated for global sales.
The move is just the latest partnership to emerge in a post-recession auto industry, where automakers are looking not only for ways to reduce research and development costs, but to partner with companies with expertise in other areas. Earlier this year, Volkswagen and Suzuki announced a similar partnership, while Italian automaker Fiat took control of Chrysler in a bid to reduce costs and expand into new markets.
[Source: Automotive News]
Somehow Nissan will bring a successor to the Titan pickup truck to market, although it’s not known how or when. In an interview with InsideLine, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said that the Titan will remain. “”Titan will have a replacement,” he said. “We are staying in the large pickup truck market.”
The next Titan was expected to be a rebadged version of the new Dodge Ram, but Chrysler canceled plans for that project shortly after emerging from bankruptcy protection.
That being said, Nissan may continue to use an updated version of the current Titan’s platform, which also underpins vehicles like the Armada, Pathfinder, Xterra, Frontier and Infiniti QX56..
Nissan President Carlos Ghosn has confirmed that the automaker is getting ready to bring several electric vehicles to market, including one sold under the Infiniti brand. Ghosn made the announcement at the Tokyo Auto Show, where the brand officially unveiled the Nissan Leaf electric car as well as the strange Land Glider concept, which is also being studied as a fourth electric vehicle.
An Infiniti electric concept vehicle is currently being prepared that will be a compact four seater with typical Infiniti luxury and style.
No additional details were given, including if the four-seater would be a small sedan or a 2+2 coupe. Regardless, it is sure to take design cues from the Essence concept that was first shown at the Geneva Autpp Show last March.
Official release after the jump:
Zero emissions vehicle to go on sale in U.S., Japan and Europe next year.
Nissan has just unveiled a new zero emissions vehicle that is slated to go on sale in Japan, Europe and the United States next year. Called the LEAF, this C-segment (sub-compact) car is powered by an electric motor and lithium-ion battery packs. Nissan says it will be able to drive 100 miles on a single charge. The batteries will be able to be charged up to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes with a special quick charger, or in roughly eight hours through a standard 200V outlet. Nissan says that through extensive research the 100 mile range will be suitable for 70 percent of car buyers.
Output from the lithium-ion battery packs is rated at 80kW/280Nm, (107-hp and 207 ft-lbs of torque), which should make this sub-compact a sporty little car.
Pricing has yet to be released but Nissan aims to give the LEAF an MSRP competitive with well-equipped C-segment cars. That should put it near the $20,000 mark. The car will also qualify for government rebates and tax incentives desigend to help promote the sale of fuel-efficient cars.
“Our car had to be the world’s first, medium-sized, practical EV that motorists could afford and would want to use every day. And that’s what we’ve created. The styling will identify not only Nissan LEAF but also the owner as a participant in the new era of zero-emission mobility,” said the LEAF product boss Masato Inoue.
The first LEAFs will be built at Nissan’s plant in Oppama, Japan with plans to also start production soon at the company’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant. The LEAF is the first of three electric vehicles that Nissan plans to launch in the next few years.
”The Nissan LEAF is a tremendous accomplishment – one in with all Nissan employees can take great pride,” said Nissan President Carlos Ghosn. “We have been working tirelessly to make this day a reality – the unveiling of a real-world car that has zero – not simply reduced – emissions. It’s the first step in what is sure to be an exciting journey – for people all over the world, for Nissan and for the industry.”
GALLERY: 2010 Nissan LEAF
Official release after the jump:
Japan's fourth largest automaker may seek bailout funds
With the original forecast being a $1.76 billion profit, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has just announced that the company will actually see a loss for the past fiscal year – to the tune of $2.91 billion.
Ghosn cited Nissan’s problems as being three-fold: the current credit crisis, the worldwide recession and the strengthening yen.
To help turn Japan’s fourth largest automaker around Ghosn has a solid plan of action, which includes the reduction of worldwide Nissan staff from 235,000 employees to 215,000 staff – meaning that throughout the next fiscal year the company will layoff 20,000 workers, or 8.5 percent of its staff.
Of that number, 2,000 temporary jobs in Japan will be eliminated, as will 1,680 jobs in Spain. In the U.S. 1,200 retirement packages will be offered. It is not known where the remainder of cuts will occur.
Other key initiatives include cutting labor costs by 20 percent to $7.69 billion; reducing new products over the next five years from 48 to 60; slowing the development of Nissan’s Chennai, India factory; ceasing involvement in Renault’s Tangiers, Morocco factory; reducing board member pay by 10 percent and manager pay by five percent.
Nissan expects that 2009 will continue to be troublesome with total production seeing a reduction from 62 million units to 50 million. To meet this lower demand Nissan will scale-back production by 20 percent.
Ghosn also announced that the company may seek bailout funds from governments around the world. According to Japan’s Nikkei newspaper, Nissan may seek up to $549.5 million dollars in loans in Japan.
Despite all the bad news, Nissan has it better than most, posting a modest 10.9 percent sales decline in 2008.