Renault Board Meeting Ended: Renault Cleaning House. Ghosn In Charge

The extraordinary board meeting at Renault has ended. The spy scandal most likely has also ended. CEO Carlos Ghosn remains firmly in charge. Below him, one of the largest revirements in the peacetime of a car company. This is what TTAC has developed from sources in Paris:

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"Renault Three" Exonerated, Security Employee Charged With Fraud
Unexpected Arrests In Renault Spy Case

The Renault spy farce has taken yet another, this time totally unexpected twist. Presumptive spy catchers at Renault are behind bars. Renault’s security managers Marc Tixador and Dominique Gevrey are being held for questioning at the offices of France’s DCRI domestic intelligence agency which is investigating the matter, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor told Reuters.

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Renault Spy Scandal: Everybody In Full Reverse

The alleged Renault spy case is getting curiouser and curiouser. Renault is in full reverse. Renault CEO Patrick Pelata said information may have been leaked about the costs and economic model of the program, but all technical secrets are safe. “Not the smallest nugget of technical or strategic information on the innovation plan has filtered out of the enterprise.” So what, they are missing a spreadsheet?

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While France Suspects China, Renault Backpedals

We don’t know who gave which state secrets to whom at Renault. But now we know what everybody already suspected: “The Elysee has charged the DCRI (intelligence services) with an investigation. It is following a Chinese lead,” a French government source told Reuters.

If they find a smoking gun in China, then it’s war: Yesterday, France’s industry minister Eric Besson called the scandal “economic warfare.”

Reuters doesn’t know more, but found some highly suspicious activity:

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French Government Terms Renault EV Espionage "Economic Warfare"

France’s industry minister Eric Besson lashed out at those who may have attempted to steal EV secrets from the French automaker Renault using the language of international relations rather than economics. He tells RTL Radio [via Automotive News Europe [sub]]All I can tell you is that the matter seems serious, that it illustrates once again the risks our companies face in terms of industrial espionage, and economic intelligence, as we call it today. It is an overall risk for French industry. The expression ‘economic warfare’, sometimes extreme, is appropriate and this is something we should monitor in future.
To which ANE helpfully addsFrance has for some years been worried about potential attacks on its industrial secrets and even has a “school of economic warfare” aimed at rooting out economic subversion.But who is behind the alleged “economic warfare”? China is the obvious scapegoat in internet speculation, but thus far there is no proven connection between Renault’s suspended executives and any foreign company or country. The highest-ranking of the suspended execs, Michel Balthazard, was born and educated in France, and has been at Renault since 1980. And, according to French media reports, this may have less to do with foreign attackers than in-house rivalries…

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Dumb And Dumber: How Not To Spy

Xiang Dong “Mike” Yu, 49, of Beijing, pleaded guilty in federal court in Detroit to two counts of theft of trade secrets. He will be sentenced in February 23, 2011. He’s looking at anywhere between 5 and 6 years in the slammer. He will also have to pay a fine of $150,000. After serving his sentence, he will be deported from the United States. That’s a lenient sentence, only reached through a plea bargain.

In case you ever want to spy on your employer, here is what not to do:

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  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.
  • FreedMike I just don’t see the market here - I think about 1.2% of Jeep drivers are going to be sold on the fuel cost savings here. And the fuel cost savings are pretty minimal, per the EPA: fuel costs for this vehicle are $2200 and $2750 for the equivalent base turbo-four model. I don’t get it.
  • FreedMike How about the “Aztek” package? Wait, this car already has that…Said it before and I’ll say it again: they need to restyle the hind end on this car, stat.
  • Johnster "Vale" is the [s]cheap[/s] lower-priced performance version with black trim and stiff suspension."Mist" is the "DeLuxe" version with a bit more chrome and trim. (Sort of like the "Decor Package" option.)"Magentic" is the full-on Brougham treatment (in its current state) with more chrome trim than the "Mist" and all sorts of gimmicky electronic features inside. (Sadly, it will not include simulated landau irons or a vinyl covered roof, even as an option.)"Aurora" is the Oldsmobile of Cadillacs (sort of like the old Cadillac Calais). No, that's not right. It's the top-of-the-line model, sort of a "Grand Touring" version, with not as much chrome as the "Magentic" but all of the gimmicky electronic features and a stiffer suspension.
  • Drew8MR Why can't CARB leave hobbyists alone? Maybe lay off the low hanging fruit and go after the gross polluters. Bring back the rolling exemption.