Amid Strained Relationship, Nissan Hands Renault the Straight Dope on Ghosn

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
amid strained relationship nissan hands renault the straight dope on ghosn

Nissan’s board didn’t wait long to oust Carlos Ghosn as chairman following his Nov. 19 arrest, but alliance partner Renault’s board stood firm, awaiting more information. The waiting continued as Mitsubishi voted to drop Ghosn as chairman.

The disgraced executive, indicted this week by Japanese authorities on charges of underreporting his income by tens of millions of dollars, remains in a Tokyo lockup but still holds the title of Renault CEO. If the French automaker’s board finds the contents of a dossier delivered by Nissan compelling, that status could soon change.

As reported by Automotive News, citing Reuters and Bloomberg, Renault now has in its possession the results of Nissan’s internal investigation. The probe into Ghosn’s financial practices came about by way of a whistleblower. In its wake, Ghosn and board member John Kelly found themselves both ousted from the company and placed in custody by Japanese authorities.

Some board members at Renault felt a coup was afoot and, despite all three alliance members publicly stating their continued commitment to the deep-rooted partnership, suspicions remain. Did Nissan cook up a reason to drop Ghosn as a way of warding off a full merger of the automakers? That’s what some whispering voices claimed. Nissan hopes the dossier, now in possession of Renault, changes things.

For the French automaker, the decision of what to do with Ghosn is fraught with politics. Ghosn holds French citizenship. France holds a 15-percent stake in the automaker, earning it two spots on the company’s board. Meanwhile, Ghosn is credited with saving the automaker from bankruptcy while at the same time forming a profitable partnership with Nissan.

According to media reports, the French government has not yet had an opportunity to look at the Nissan dossier. Before Nissan was able to hand over the evidence, it first had to clear the info transfer with Japanese authorities, which clearly took time.

Renault’s board meets Thursday, and you can bet there’s pressure to see some action come from it.

[Image: Nissan]

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  • Null Set Null Set on Dec 13, 2018

    I think this is a both/and, not an either/or situation. Companies and governments often turn a blind eye to questionable behavior on the part of their leadership, as long as they remain useful. The minute (a) their success becomes too great or (b) too little, the knives come out, and the shady stuff comes in very handy at that point. I'm pretty sure Ghosn is guilty as charged, but also that this is only happening now, and in such a publicly decisive and irrevocable fashion for purely political reasons.

  • Joshhanson18 Joshhanson18 on Dec 17, 2018

    Greg Kelly. Not John Kelly.

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.