By on January 8, 2020

Former Renault and Nissan boss and current fugitive from Japanese justice Carlos Ghosn said he’d open up in front of the cameras, and boy, did he ever. After discussing what he says was brutal confinement and “injustice” at the hands of Japanese officials, as well as the motivation behind the alleged “plot” to oust him from his Nissan chairman position, Ghosn meandered into other topics of interest.

Clearly, the former auto titan wishes nothing but the worst for the company he once chaired.

As reported by Reuters, Ghosn provided a list of names of Nissan executives he believes helped orchestrate, with the help of Japanese government officials, his November 2018 arrest. Those persons include Masakazu Toyoda, an independent director at Nissan who happens to be a adviser to the Japanese government; former Nissan auditor Hidetoshi Imazu; and former Nissan executive vice president Hitoshi Kawaguchi.

Ghosn was reluctant to name Japanese officials, claiming he didn’t want to start something between that country and his current sanctuary of Lebanon.

Ghosn fled house arrest in Tokyo on December 29th before turning up in Lebanon, where he holds citizenship. In that country, Ghosn and his wife, both the subject of Japanese arrest warrants, are safe from extradition. However, should Carole Ghosn use her American passport to return to that country, she could face arrest and transfer to Japan to face charges of lying during testimony. Like her husband, she denies the allegations against her.

Ghosn claimed the plot to oust him as he angled for a closer alliance (but not a merger) between Renault and Nissan is an intricate one, but said he believes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had no involvement in the supposed corporate/political coup.

As for Nissan, Ghosn had harsh words. “They said they wanted to turn the Ghosn page. Well, they have been very successful,” he said, his words dripping with schadenfreude. “What we see today is a masquerade of an alliance … that is not going to go anywhere.”

The ousted executive marvelled at the timing of his arrest, which came as he was attempting to bring Fiat Chrysler into a potentially lucrative merger.

“How do you miss that? It’s unbelievable,” he said.

After mentioning Nissan’s plummeting market cap, Ghosn entered the realm of historical revisionism. The former savior of Renault and Nissan said he should have taken up Obama administration auto guru Steve Rattner’s offer to lead General Motors out of bankruptcy.

As for his present situation, Ghosn claimed he does not think of Lebanon as a prison, claiming he will use his freedom in that country to prove his innocence, adding that he expects to stay there a long time.

[Image: Plamen Galabov/Shutterstock]

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23 Comments on “Still Talking: Ghosn Names Names at Nissan, Wishes He’d Taken Up Obama on That Whole GM Thing...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Speaking of Nissan’s plummeting marketing cap…yes, it’s plummeting, because their product is largely old and uncompetitive, so they had to give away the store to move it.

    Now, considering that Ghosn only got canned a little over a year ago, someone please make me a coherent argument that it isn’t Ghosn’s fault. And good luck with that.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      He may have been trying to merge with someone in order to get better/different product for next product cycle.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Actually, I think Nissan/FCA made zero sense – too much dealer / plant duplication in the American market.

        But I’m curious what platforms you’re thinking Nissan would need. Nissan has access to all kinds of sedan and CUV platforms through Renault. They just brought out three new clean-sheet sedan designs that shouldn’t be too hard to adapt to CUVs.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          FCA’s platforms may have been less expensive to built on, but a merger would also allow access to FCA dealers and vice versa. So instead of investing money into a new Titan, Frontier, and the handful of actual SUVs they could have just appropriated RAM’s platform and motors and even sold RAM derived trucks abroad. Infiniti could have also benefited from access to Jeep, since Jeep is not sold as a pseudo-luxury product but with tweaking could be reskinned.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “What we see today is a masquerade of an alliance … that is not going to go anywhere.”

    Very likely correct.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    This has been mentioned here and elsewhere:

    In the not-too-far future, Netflix or HBO will make a multi episode docudrama of the whole event.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “The ousted executive marvelled at the timing of his arrest, which came as he was attempting to bring Fiat Chrysler into a potentially lucrative merger.”

    This was likely the last straw.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Of course, one must wonder if any merger with either Nissan or FCA would be lucrative. Both companies have struggled with their alliances.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Hallmark will bet them to it. They’ve already penciled in Chris Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence to play Ghosn and his wife.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    The comment program is screwed up again.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    How does merging with another company (Fiat Chrysler) hobbled with uncompetitive products help?

    It’s like he was begging the board to can him.

    Nissan used to make really good cars and trucks. Now they make cvt equipped crap.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You may have missed where FCA had actually been successful the past eight or so years. Moving forward is a bit of a crap shoot but through the end of 2019 they’ve done rather well.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    It is not only the CVT issue.

    Their products are bland and unappealing.

    Their last product I seriously looked at was the Juke in 2014.
    It has a bold and distinctive look, but when I got in the back, I could not get out without help.

    I got a Mazda instead.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “As for his present situation, Ghosn claimed he does not think of Lebanon as a prison, claiming he will use his freedom in that country to prove his innocence, adding that he expects to stay there a long time.”

    It’s funny you mention that. When I read that he was in Lebanon, I thought to myself, “Would I rather be in jail in Japan, or free in Lebanon?” I almost think I’d rather be in jail in Japan.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’m glad there wasn’t a merger with GM. I’m imagining zillions more cars running around with garbage CVTs – ticking time bombs.

  • avatar
    incautious

    I have to say that in this day and age, I really can’t fault the dealer too much now a days. I’ve purchase at least a dozen cars in different states over the years even did a few overseas deals in my lifetime. The main issue is counterfeit certified checks. In the old days I would just send my driver down with a cert check, pay and go. Now all you hear is horror stories about bogus checks. now a days cash is king. The dealer may balk about the $10,000 threshold, but other than wire transfer, or 3 party escrow there really is on easy way.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Carlos is having his Nissan shirts embroidered to read – PISSON NISSAN ! ;-)

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    Not sure Ratner was proposing a merger. I think they envisioned Ghosn leaving Nissan/Renault and moving to GM as CEO.

  • avatar

    I always get a kick when people think FCA is a money pit. While they have some issues going forward they sell tons of high margin vehicles at the moment.

  • avatar
    jrocco001

    I think their main issue is they never globalized their manufacturing ability, and the yen worked against them. The mergers were mainly an attempt to rectify that but they had no product or cultural alignment. So I agree it’s fair to blame Ghosn but this has been a slowly sinking ship since before him. My last car was a Maxima – liked a lot about it but MSRP on them is insane compared to what you can cross shop (not to mention the Altima is nearly the same). Nissan (and Infiniti’s) product line is way too bloated. Six SUV models? Crazy.

  • avatar

    Lebanon is lucky to get executive of Ghosn’s caliber 100% at their disposal. They can utilize his talents – Israel has hundreds of people who can eat Ghosn for breakfast.

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