No Hard Feelings: Ghosn Predicts Nissan Bankruptcy

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

There’s certainly no love lost between former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn and the automaker he once helmed. After trashing the company’s sales performance in a Lebanon media conference earlier this month, during which he again accused Nissan of conspiring with Japanese officials to orchestrate his arrest, we know hear he gives the automaker maybe two or three years before it hits rock bottom.

Rock bottom” is where former CEO Hiroto Saikawa said his company was at last May. Maybe there’s still a ways to go.

Ghosn, who purportedly fled Japanese captivity in a large music case in late December, was outspoken even before his clandestine flight from the country, where he was awaiting trial for alleged financial crimes. According to Ghosn’s lawyer, Nobuo Gohara, the ousted executive told him Nissan will be bankrupt by 2022.

Per Bloomberg, Gohara said during a Tokyo news conference, “He told me that Nissan will probably go bankrupt within two to three years.”

The prediction came during 10 hours of questioning that preceded his client’s escape from house arrest and Japanese justice. Ghosn maintains that he’s the victim of a corporate coup, flatly denies the charges against him, and claims he stood no chance of a fair trial in the notoriously incarceration-happy jurisdiction. Japan has issued an arrest warrant for both him and his wife, Carole.

“Nissan and prosecutors worked together to bring a criminal case against Ghosn,” Gohara stated. The lawyer had been working on a book at the time, one which now may never see print. The last time the two men spoke was two days before Ghosn’s escape, Gohara said.

In a lengthy Q&A with media following his arrival in Beirut, a safe country where he holds citizenship, Ghosn listed off the names of Nissan executives he believes played a role in his arrest, though neglected to list any Japanese officials.

Looking at Nissan’s sales and financial trajectory, many might claim Ghosn’s prediction holds water. While the company claims its cash reserves are healthy, the automaker capped off a dismal 2019 by reportedly ordering the cancellation of all non-essential flights and meetings in an attempt to save money wherever it can. A two-day furlough of all U.S. employees came in January, and a travel ban is said to be in place for the foreseeable future.

Last November, the company reported a 70-percent drop in second-quarter profit and cut its operating profit forecast by 35 percent. Sales plunged across the globe last year, though newly minted CEO Makoto Uchida claims a plan is in the works to turn things around.

[Image: Nissan]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Civicjohn Civicjohn on Jan 24, 2020

    Bought a 1994 Altima for the (ex) wife, she had some POS Mitsubishi when we met. It was an excellent car and passed around my family for college nieces and nephews. I mainly bought it because of the great experience I had buying a 1981 310 (at 18.9%!). It was a great car for my college years. But I also have a history of working for a Japanese company as the VP of Sales for the Americas. Lots of great trips to Tokyo and the Northern Prefecture staying at the company guest house, it was awesome. My experience when sales began to decline was to get the dreaded phone call about “why my sales forecasts didn’t show enough profit”. Didn’t matter if they couldn’t deliver the products I needed for my markets, I just needed to adjust my numbers. Maybe I was just complicit, but there was always a veiled implication that I needed to be a part of “the team”. I was never the CEO, but I do have interest in this because it was completely different to me than any US company I worked for. So much to hear that probably will never be reported.

  • Victor Victor on Jan 28, 2020

    No good can come from jumping in bed with Renault. See American Motors.

    • Mcs Mcs on Jan 28, 2020

      I'd still like to see the Fiat, Nissan, Chrysler, Renault, And Peugeot (FN CRAP) alliance come together. Until then, we have to settle for Chrysler, Ram, And Peugeot.

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