The Truth About Cars » Annual results FY 2012 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Annual results FY 2012 Nissan Friday: Ghosn Ain’t Going Fri, 10 May 2013 19:10:05 +0000

Then, finally, a reporter asks Ghosn when he intends to pack up and leave. Of course, this is Japan, and the question is asked in a circuitous way. The reporter argues that Nissan now makes solid profits, hence Ghosn could perhaps put the company into the hands of someone else, such allowing Ghosn to focus fully on Renault, which needs all the help it can get.  This suggestion earns the reporter a likewise polite rebuke. Ghosn thanks him “for taking care of my own organization.” Pierced by Ghosn’s trademark laser eyes, the reporter deflates into his seat.

The meme that gaijin has done his duty, the gaijin can go back to Paris, is nothing new. The Nikkei  tried it two years  ago, which earned the wire a robust reprimand. A year later, Bloomberg tried it, and was likewise rebuffed. Now the matter degraded into a question on the mind of freelance journalist Inoue-san. Ghosn tells him, and the room, that he’s not going anywhere – unless he’s told by the people who really have the say at Nissan.

“I serve the shareholders.  As long as the shareholders of Nissan want me to continue to be the CEO of Nissan, I will continue to be the CEO of Nissan. As long as the shareholders of Renault want me to continue to be the CEO of Renault, I will continue to be the CEO of Renault. The day the shareholders say: ‘Stop, we want someone only dedicated to us,’ then it will be different.  If the shareholders are happy, you continue. If the shareholders are not happy, you stop.”

Ghosn’s contract at Nissan was extended on April 1, 2013.

And this concludes our Nissan Friday. Have a nice weekend.

]]> 18
Nissan (Green) Friday: About Dollars And Yen Fri, 10 May 2013 18:07:27 +0000

Finally, a chance for Ghosn to speak about his favorite topic: The value of the yen. Two years ago in Kyushu, Ghosn said that its valuation against the dollar and other major currencies was a crime against nature, a perversion. Back then, you got 77 yen to the dollar, and I assure you that 76 yen buy next to nothing. Ghosn called a high. The rise of the deviant was arrested. In the following year, the yen turned around, fainthearted first, then, with honest Abe getting behind the wheel in Japan, a dollar now buys 100 yen.

Ghosn does not want to hear talk of a “low “ yen.


“The yen is in neutral territory. The headwinds have been removed. But there are no tailwinds. I don’t want anybody to think that we are getting tailwinds from the yen. Before the financial crisis of 2008, the yen was on average at 110. But 100 yen is better than where we were at 76.”


One yen more to the dollar helps Nissan’s books to the tune of $150 million, but Ghosn warns that it won’t all translate into profits. All Japanese manufacturers, competing with Nissan, gain from a lower yen. “Part of the lower yen goes to the consumer,” says Ghosn. Meaning that it can be invested into lower prices, or better value.

]]> 4
Nissan (Green) Friday: Ghosn Still Sees 1.5 Million EVs Fri, 10 May 2013 17:22:24 +0000

Asked today at the annual results conference in Yokohama whether he wants to back off from his old target of putting 1.5 million EVs on the road by 2016, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn displayed an astounding degree of determination. He still believes in the 1.5 million. Maybe a little later than 2016.

So far, Nissan sold 62,000 Leafs. In the last months, Ghosn observed “an acceleration of the sales of the Leaf.” The people who bought the battery-operated car are happy, says Ghosn.


Happy owners spread the word “that this is a good car, and that charging the car is not such a big problem – if you know where to do it.” Ghosn banks on a better charging infrastructure, and he sees good signs of one in many countries. Says the man:

“This range anxiety, which is more a charging anxiety, will disappear and will help a lot to increase the sales. I maintain the 1.5 million. I think it will be difficult to reach in 2016, but without any doubt it’s still on the radar screen.”

]]> 7
Nissan (Red, White, And Blue) Friday: America Disappoints More Than China Fri, 10 May 2013 16:50:54 +0000

Nissan closed  the year in America with U.S. sales up by 10 percent, but that wasn’t enough to please Ghosn.  Said the CEO today in Yokohama:

“China was not our biggest disappointment last year. It was mainly the United States. We were expecting a strong year. It did not happen. We postponed it to 2013.”


 Then, Ghosn calls up his EVP Colin Dodge to explain what happened last year in America. Dodge does not mince words either:

“We did not quite make it. We did not quite make the delivery targets, we did not quite make the cost targets, and we certainly destroyed our car flow, the reliability of our cars arriving at the dealers.”

IMG_3095Dodge booked it as a learning experience: “We learned what we were not very good at.” Now, he says, things are back under control. Mostly:

“This year, our carflow is in an orderly  way, we are now delivering the cars our dealers are expecting, with one exception, the Sentra. We have about 50,000 backorders of the Sentra, and that will come in in Q4.”

Ghosn and his Lieutenants all skipped the class where they teach the art of the spin. I like that.

]]> 7
Nissan (Red) Friday: China, The Lost Year Fri, 10 May 2013 16:05:46 +0000

Nissan is the largest of all Japanese automakers in China, and therefore has the most to lose. With about a quarter of its global sales in China, Nissan has the highest exposure to the ups and downs of the Middle Kingdom. When  Chinese rioted in the streets, overturned Japanese cars and torched their dealerships , Nissan was beaten hard.  At one point, sales of Nissan cars were cut in half.

Recently, the situation has improved a bit. Nissan’s April sales in China even booked a slight increase over April  2012. A month and a couple percent do not make a trend. Says Ghosn:

“I consider recovery achieved completely when our market share will come back to what it was before the unfortunate events of September 2012. And our forecast is that we will reach this level by the last quarter of 2013 – supposing there will be no other adverse events to deteriorate the relationship between China and Japan.

In a way, we would have lost more than one year.”

Shortly after the riots, TTAC predicted that the effects of the island row would  last longer than predicted, and would hit Japanese carmakers harder than tsunami and floods – at least as far as lost sales are concerned.

]]> 4
Nissan (Black) Friday: “Europe Is Going To Be Bad” Fri, 10 May 2013 15:08:18 +0000

If any carmaker is hoping for an imminent turn-around in Europe, or is telling shareholders (I am looking at you, GM) that better times will be here again real soon now, then Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn has a bucket of ice-cold water for them.

“Europe is going to be bad,” Ghosn predicted today in Yokohama. Ghosn also serves as CEO of Renault, a company that is taking major lumps in a market that has been careening south for five years in a row now.  One would assume that a man in his position paints a rosier picture. Instead, Ghosn’s pallet is all gloom.

Ghosn knows what is on the mind of the European customer:

“The European consumer lacks confidence, is confused, he does not know when Europe will get out of this crisis, and until he sees and understands what’s going on in Europe, he is not going to come back buying cars.”

Ghosn does not “foresee any growth in Europe probably before the end of 2016, or even later.” He thinks the worst is yet to come:

“We are absolutely not forecasting any growth in Europe. And we are preparing to face Europe with a decrease in 2013, probably another decrease in 2014, and at best a stabilization of the market in 2015. We hope we are wrong. If we are, better for us.”


For the case that Ghosn’s predictions are wrong (they rarely are), his companies “have capacity in Europe and we are ready to respond to any pent-up demand, even if we don’t believe it is going to happen.”

Listening to Ghosn’s dire predictions, one begins to believe that European turn-around may not happen until the end of the decade. And it must be brought on by governments that are tired of austerity measures. Says Ghosn:

“I don’t think the European countries can afford to continue to see a decline in the economy for much longer. At a certain point in time, the focus will be put on growth.”

In a Europe that is not known for speedy decisions, this refocusing could take many years. Ghosn recalled how he demanded action on the obscenely high Japanese Yen 5 years ago, and now finally, there is action.

In the meantime, says Ghosn, “we are not banking on a recovery of the European market, because it may not happen.”

]]> 17
Nissan Friday: Why Is This Man Smiling? Fri, 10 May 2013 14:17:35 +0000

If you wanted to have a ten minute advantage (for placing those jumbo derivatives order into the mainframe of your hedge fund) before Nissan’s annual results for the last fiscal were announced in the newly redecorated meeting room on the 8th floor of their Yokohama headquarters, all you had to do was read the smiling faces of Nissan’s top lieutenants. Executive VP Andy Palmer was all grins.

U.S. and Canada sales chief José Muñoz was all smiles. Grinning, Nissan EVP Colin Dodge quickly turned away from the camera and tried to mislead this reporter by saying the cheery faces are “because it’s Friday.” Sure.


Minutes later, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn took the podium, and announced (with a serious face) that Nissan finished the year with an operating profit of $6.31 billion, and a net income of $4.13 billion. All of this contributing to a cash pile of $9 billion, good to have in these unsettled times. Ghosn promised a net profit of $4.23 billion for the year to March 2014. That was the boring part.

What is much more interesting is what Ghosn and his Lieutenants said later while chatting with reporters. We will hear them talk about Europe, China, America, about Leaf sales, about the foreign exchange, and even about Carlos Ghosn’s career. Some of it is good, some bad, some awful. We will cover all this in the course of this Nissan Friday. Because we don’t want Dodge to lie.

]]> 11