Greg Kelly, the American businessman and former Nissan board member that was arrested with ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn almost two years ago, has pleaded not guilty to the financial misconduct charges leveled against him in Japan. While he was supposed to stand trial with Mr. Ghosn, Carlos escaped his captors with the help of at least one U.S. Army Special Forces veteran and a lot of careful planning at the end of 2019. Kelly is accused of helping the former chairman hide millions of dollars in deferred compensation.
During the trial, he defended Ghosn by saying he was an outstanding automotive executive who helped save Nissan in its darkest hour. He also hinted that the firm should have done everything in its power to retain him, adding that his role was to find legal ways of keeping Ghosn from jumping ship to a rival company. While that included financial incentives, Kelly asserted during the trial that Nissan’s attorneys were always consulted before decisions were made and that no illegal actions were taken. “I informed Mr. Ghosn what could be done legally and what could not be done legally,” he told the court. “I believe the evidence will show that I did not violate the [financial] disclosure regulations.”
The same week that Nissan outlined a supposedly sustainable path forward, alliance partner Renault did the same thing, revealing a blueprint for a streamlined business and pared-down workforce in the years ahead.
Annual production will be cut, plants will be shuttered, and about 15,000 employees will be let go, the automaker said. The company’s problem was thinking too big, its interim CEO remarked — something Renault’s former boss might disagree with.
Nissan and Renault opted against a full merger on Wednesday, but neither side seemed to feel now was the time to disband the alliance and see how they might fare as a solo act. Every member of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance took time to address financial concerns last year, encouraging further product integration as a cost-mitigation strategy. Despite Nissan shareholders and staff clearly losing interest in the French-led confederation, the brand seems to understand that leaning upon its allies might be the only way to get through a period of increasing economic uncertainty.
Mitsubishi slashed its 2020 financial forecasts ahead of the coronavirus pandemic by over $500 million while the other two issued numerous profit warnings in the latter half of 2019. Now the world is exiting lockdowns and assessing the economic damage they caused. Obviously, this is not the time to be burning bridges, even if some alliance partners aren’t enthralled with what’s probably waiting on the other side.
Remember, long ago, when former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn filled headlines, rather than a virus? Good times. And it seems they’re still good times for Ghosn, whose Bond-like pre-New Year’s escape from Japanese authorities via chartered jets and a musical instrument case delivered him to the relative safety of Lebanon. Warrants are out, but the country’s lack of an extradition agreement with Japan works heavily in the fallen exec’s favor.
While Ghosn, arrested in Tokyo in November of 2018 on suspicion of financial misdealings, may have managed to side-step what he claims was an orchestrated legal hit job, the same can’t be said of the crews of the private jets that shuttled him to Beirut.
Nissan’s new restructuring plan, due out at the end of the month, is coming together, and it seems the document will spell out which members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance will go where. In the interests of efficiency and not stepping on each other’s toes, sources claim the plan will see each automaker pour themselves into key markets, rather than competing against each other.
This will have the effect of making maximum use of resources.
For the Nissan brand, that means North America, China, and Japan will become its main stomping grounds.
Rumors that the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance could be in danger of breaking up are unfounded, said alliance chairman Jean-Dominique Senard on Thursday.
The chairman was responding to reports of a contingency plan in the works at Nissan, one aimed at guiding the Japanese automaker away from its French partner in a stable fashion in the event of a split.
Despite Nissan and Renault spending much of 2019 attempting to reassure the world that their 20-year relationship was soundly intact, fractures have been impossible to hide from the public. If you want an analogy, imagine a carton of milk being left to curdle near a radiator and someone attaching a post-it note that reads “fine for drinking.”
While legitimate efforts to fix the relationship have been made (parts sharing, more collaborative projects, management changes, etc.), a lot of it has been undercut by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance attempting to cleanse itself of the old guard — many of whom had ties to former alliance chair Carlos Ghosn. At the same time, Nissan has sought autonomy from the French automaker, enacting corporate reforms to give it a bit more independence. It also has a cogency plan ready in the event it has to break from Renault entirely; reportedly, Nissan’s been updating that strategy ever since Ghosn escaped Japanese custody last month.
Tokyo prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s wife Carole on Tuesday for allegedly lying during testimony. While Japanese authorities have also speculated that she may have helped orchestrate the movie-like escape of her husband from the island nation, something Mr. Ghosn proactively denied, she’s only officially charged with perjury.
The warrant accuses Carole Ghosn of having falsely denied knowing or meeting individuals tied to the company who received payments from Nissan Motor before funneling a portion of those funds to a firm owned by her husband — which is one of the reasons why he was arrested in the first place.
Perhaps former Renault and Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn will put rumors to rest when he speaks to the media on Wednesday. Then again, the international fugitive, who fled house arrest in Japan to a refuge in Lebanon on December 29th, might remain tight-lipped about the details of his escape, as Ghosn’s main beef is with Nissan and the Japanese judiciary.
As a new week dawns, so too does another take on Ghosn’s flight from justice.
Ghosn Update: Turkish Jet Operator Files Complaint, Pilots Detained, As Japanese Authorities Remain Tight-lipped
The Carlos Ghosn escape saga continues to evolve without any help from the man himself. Stating Thursday that he alone orchestrated his escape from Japan, where the former auto titan was living under house arrest, Ghosn has not offered the full story on how he slipped out of the country and made his way to Lebanon.
What is clear is that Ghosn’s two-part escape involved the use of two private aircraft and a plane swap in Turkey. The operator of those aircraft isn’t happy.
The former auto giant who once hosted a Marie Antoinette-themed wedding party at the Palace of Versailles (and later reimbursed Renault for the supposedly “corporate” event) had his wife to thank for being able to spend New Year’s Eve as a free — but wanted — man.
According to Lebanese news outlet MTV, Carole Ghosn was the mastermind of her husband’s escape from Japan, where Carlos was being held under house arrest while awaiting trial. Like his wedding, Carlos Ghosn’s flight from captivity had all the flair of a blockbuster film plot.
Japanese authorities are attempting to confirm reports that former Nissan and Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn, arrested in Japan in November 2018 and since charged with two counts each of improper financial reporting and breach of trust, has fled the country.
Numerous media reports claim Ghosn, who holds Lebanese (as well as French and Brazilian) citizenship, appeared in Beirut on Monday. How he managed to slip out of the country where he was awaiting trial is still murky.
A brand that’s slowly capturing a greater (albeit still slim) slice of the U.S. new car market stands to gain a new version of a long-running crossover in the coming year. That product is the Outlander, an outdated vehicle whose current generation bowed back in 2012.
The largest vehicle in Mitsubishi’s meager lineup, the Outlander stands to gain size and decidedly non-Mitsubishi underpinnings for its ground-up revamp.
Nissan’s planned corporate governance reforms were teetering on the brink of disaster after alliance partner Renault indicated it might abstain from voting on them. The French automaker’s concerns were varied, focusing primarily on a lack of representation from Europe. But some believed Renault was feeling vengeful after Nissan failed to support a merger proposal with Fiat Chrysler and found the Japanese brand’s push for autonomy unsavory. Fortunately, for Nissan, Renault played ball and the reforms passed.
Hiroto Saikawa will likewise retain his position as CEO, despite previous indications that he would step down and claims that he might be too close to Carlos Ghosn to hold the job. Ultimately, Nissan shareholders voted for his reappointment and he promised to carry them boldly into the future while taking some responsibility for the brand’s recent bout of industrial scandals. However Saikawa’s time with the company may be short lived, as he’s already discussing his replacement.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Lou_BC The birfield joints on these older units tend to need a rebuild and are very expensive to replace.
- Luke42 I'm only interested in the electric models.I own a 6L GM V8 (in a pickup truck), and it's a big sound and fury for small delta-V.A bunch if E-Vettes which reflect the Porche range would be interesting,.
- SilverHawk Only if they keep it focused on what a corvette represents, in a similar way as to what Porsche has done. Badge engineering using lower tier platforms is not acceptable. Don't even think about it, GM!
- Jeff S E-Vettes are coming to your nearest Chevrolet dealership. I reserve judgement on this I will have to see these and see the pricing. So far Lyriq is about the only GM vehicle I have any interest in.
- Kukala J. Machus GM has an extensive history of bad decisions.....and it continues.