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Russia is a bloodbath market for carmakers, says Renault-Nissan CEO

Russia has become a place for a "bloodbath" for carmakers, no thanks to a weakening ruble, according to Renault-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn. He remarked that both Nissan and Renault are not taking orders anymore for some models in Russia, and could even hike the tag for other vehicles if the ruble continues to weaken.

Much worse, a falling ruble is making the Russian auto market shrink further. “It's red ink, people are losing money, all car manufacturers are losing money," Ghosn said. He said that Renault and Nissan are suspending orders on some models until they could see where “this situation is going.”

So far this, the Russian ruble has dropped by around 50 percent against the dollar, placing more pressure to carmakers to sell their products at a higher price while facing lower demand. Carmakers like General Motors, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover have suspended sales in Russia due to the dropping ruble.

Read the entire article Russia is a bloodbath market for carmakers, says Renault-Nissan CEO

Nissan CEO earned over $10 million last year, on track to become the best-paid Japan executive

Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn received over $10 million in total compensation in the fiscal year ended March 2014. Ghosn disclosed at the carmaker’s annual shareholders’ meeting that he received JPY995 million ($9.8 million) in salary and bonuses for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014, representing a 0.7-percent rise.

If dividends are included, Ghosn’s total compensation was over JPY1 billion. Ghosn also received EUR2.3 million ($3.13 million at current exchange rates) in compensation in 2013 in his capacity as CEO of Nissan alliance partner Renault.

Ghosn received compensations four times higher than what Toyota President Akio Toyoda earned in the same period despite leading a carmaker which profit just around a fifth. Nissan saw its lowest profit surge among Japanese carmakers in 2013, save for Daihatsu.

Read the entire article Nissan CEO earned over $10 million last year, on track to become the best-paid Japan executive

Ford exec casts doubt on Ghosn’s 2020 forecast on self-driving cars

Self-driving cars won’t hit the road by the end of the decade, so declared Ford's head of advance r&d in Europe, Pim van der Jagt. He expressed doubt on Carlos Ghosn's prediction that Renault-Nissan, or any carmaker -- will have autonomous vehicles ready by 2020.

"All automotive companies are more less moving at the same pace," Pim van der Jagt told Automotive News Europe, claiming that carmakers are still several years from handing over complete control. "The last 20 percent, when you could be fully asleep, that will be the most difficult."

Until then, van der Jagt says the move toward self-driving will be evolutionary, with each successive generation of cars handing over more or less a tenth of control to the next vehicle. He disclosed that Ford's next step after self-parking will be to introduce traffic-jam assistance -- an advanced version of adaptive cruise control that includes automatic steering.

Read the entire article Ford exec casts doubt on Ghosn’s 2020 forecast on self-driving cars

Carlos Ghosn wants next Nissan CEO to be Japanese

Nissan Motor Co. chief executive Carlos Ghosn wants a Japanese leader to replace him as the carmaker’s top honcho. Ghosn has been leading Nissan for 14 years. After eliminating the COO post held by Toshiyuki Shiga and reshuffling the carmaker’s top management, he remarked that while Nissan's diverse management is unrivaled by any other manufacturer, it is important to reinstate a Japanese leader at the top when he eventually steps down.

"It's symbolic, and we have plenty of Japanese talent,” Ghosn told Automotive News in an interview. He added that he wants Nissan to be continued to be seen as a Japanese company. He noted that around half of Nissan's top 100 managers are non-Japanese representing 17 nationalities.

Of Nissan’s eight executive vice presidents, one is American and three are British. Ghosn is a Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese descent.

Read the entire article Carlos Ghosn wants next Nissan CEO to be Japanese

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA, currently has one right hand at the Japanese carmaker -- chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga. But in the near future, Ghosn will have four right hands at Nissan, after announcing last week that he is eliminating the COO post.

The management overhaul will see Ghosn having four executive vice presidents at Nissan, a decision that came as the Japanese carmaker revised downward its profit outlook at a time when the weaker yen is boosting earnings of the country's exporters.

Ghosn remarked that getting rid of the COO post is an indication of the company's maturity, but the move may also mean the Nissan and Renault will increasingly depend on one man.

Read the entire article Carlos Ghosn deletes COO post, names 4 deputies for Nissan

Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said that the decline in the European auto market has stopped and that it’s now expected to achieve some light growth. Ghosn told reporters at the Frankfurt Motor Show that Renault-Nissan agrees with the forecasts from market analysts that the three growth indicators (a buoyant used car market, an increase in the prices of used cars, and an expanding growing new car market) were in line.

Ghosn said that all of the numerous indicators show that the downtrend trend is at its end. He said that the company is presently at the third stage of recovery where new car sales are expected to increase once more. He also thinks that for the next two years, the car industry will stay at this phase and will post a 1 to 2% growth a year.

In the first half of 2013, the European car market declined by 7% more. However, it’s expected to recover to end the year with a 5% drop. Ghosn believes that the “worst is over” and that the figures will increase starting in 2014.

Read the entire article Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn says the European car market has recovered

Renault SA chief executive Carlos Ghosn turned down proposal by Carlos Tavares that the chief operating officer play a broader role at the French carmaker, two people privy with the matter told Bloomberg. Under the proposal, Tavares would have his responsibilities expanded beyond purely operational decision-making, and would include oversight of human resources and legal matters, one of the people told Bloomberg.

Under the proposal, Tavares would still report to Ghosn.  The sources disclosed to Bloomberg that instead of agreeing, Ghosn offered to let Tavares remain as COO at Renault.

Tavares has now exited from Renault and decided instead to seek a top post elsewhere.  The French carmaker is now mulling whether to drop the position of COO completely, another person told Bloomberg.

Read the entire article Carlos Tavares had asked Carlos Ghosn for wider role at Renault

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of both Renault and Nissan, is expecting the car market in Russia to prevail over its current weakness. Car sales in Russia has drop for four months in a row, no thanks to the weakening Russia economy. Moscow-based Association of European Business (AEB) expects the Russian car maker to drop 5 percent in 2013.

The Renault-Nissan CEO, however, remains positive that the market would gain in the longer term, citing low car ownership in Russia. Ghosn told the Vedomosti business daily that he does not doubt that car ownership in Russia should be not less than in Portugal, Spain and Italy.

Less than 300 per 1,000 people own cars in Russia, compared with a European average of 500, Ghosn said, adding that  on the whole, he has “no doubt that the trend is upward." Ghosn is aiming for Renault-Nissan, with the Lada-maker AvtoVAZ, to grab 40 percent of the Russian market.

Read the entire article Renault-Nissan CEO is optimistic in Russia despite slump

The announcement that Carlos Ghosn received JPY988 (EUR7.6 million) for his role as Nissan’s chief executive in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, could further earn the ire of French unions and government officials. The same unions and government officials who were already upset on the EUR2.47 million he received last year as chief executive of Renault.

Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg and union officials said that Ghosn’s pay as Renault CEO was excessive, especially since the French carmaker has implemented a wage freeze in France and is making jobs cuts at its sites in the country. Ghosn agreed to postpone 30-percent of his variable 2012 bonus from Renault until 2016 during discussions with CGT union officials in early 2013.

But CGT representative Ali Kayak told the France Info radio station that Ghosn’s gesture was an insult to French workers, who estimate that Ghosn received EUR27,500 a day in combined pay, which is considered a very high in France. In comparison, Toyota president Akio Toyoda only received JPY184 million and Honda chief executive Takanobu Ito got JPY145 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

Read the entire article Carlos Ghosn’s payment may earn further ire in France

Renault-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn is now the chairman of the AvtoVAZ board, the French carmaker said in a statement. The previous chairman and currently head of Russian Technologies, Sergey Chemezov, is now vice chairman. Ghosn's appointment is part of a deal that entails Renault and Nissan taking a majority stake in a joint venture with Russian Technologies that will control 74.5 percent of AvtoVAZ by mid-2014.

Ghosn is hoping that AvtoVAZ could help increase Renault-Nissan’s sales in Russia, where demand for vehicles is expected to further surge in coming years. Demand in Russia is even expected to surpass that in Germany by 2014. The high potential of Russia for further sales growth have reached the attention of a number of carmakers like Renault, Volkswagen Group, Ford Motor Co., prompting them to expand capacity in the country.

Following a meeting of AvtoVAZ general shareholders, Ghosn remarked that the Renault-Nissan alliance is committed to providing the resources and expertise “necessary to transform AvtoVAZ into a world-class” carmaker.

Read the entire article Carlos Ghosn named as chairman of the AvtoVAZ board

Carlos Ghosn received a total of JPY988 million ($10 million) in salary and bonuses for his role as chief executive of Japanese carmaker Nissan for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013. Ghosn's pay for the previous fiscal year reflects a 0.1 percent rise, which came on heels of the carmaker's performance during the period when its operating profit margin dropped to 5.4 percent.

Ghosn's compensation places him on track to be among the highest-paid executives in Japan. In comparison, Toyota president Akio Toyoda received JPY184 million ($1.9 million) while Honda president Takanobu Ito got JPY145 million for the fiscal year ended March 2013.

Nissan, however, noted that Ghosn's pay is lower than the industry average. Nissan, citing estimates at consultant Towers Watson & Co., said that comparable global carmakers paid their CEOs an average of $15.3 million in 2012.

Read the entire article Nissan paid CEO Carlos Ghosn $10 million in last fiscal year

Carlos Ghosn expects to break records this year when it comes to Nissan’s annual retail sales worldwide but then he believes that it will be challenging year for the European market. Ghosn is the chief of Nissan and Renault. After the release of Nissan’s earnings for the fourth quarter, Ghosn said at a news conference at its headquarters in Yokohama that 2013 will be “tough” and that he doesn’t predict a growth in Europe before the end of Nissan's mid-term plan, which indicates that it won’t be before 2016 and may arrive even later.

Ghosn also said that the European consumer is confused and doesn’t have enough confidence. Nissan, which is the No. 2 largest automaker by sales volume, estimates that for the business year that ends in March 2014, it will have global retail sales of 5.3 million vehicles.

This is higher than the 4.9 million units sold last year, when it had a 1.4% increase year-on-year. Meanwhile, its rivals did so much better. Toyota experienced a 16.3% increase while Honda posted a 32.2% climb. Of all the Japanese car manufacturers, Nissan is the most exposed to China as it makes up around a quarter of its global sales. Last year, many Chinese customers stayed away from Japanese brands because of a territorial dispute between the two countries.

Read the entire article Carlos Ghosn expects Nissan to break sales records this year

CEO Carlos Ghosn blames the political tension between China and Japan for the one-year delay for Nissan to achieve a 10% market share in China. Ghosn was at the sidelines of the New York auto show when he made this statement. So instead of targeting 2016, Ghosn said that the Nissan team now has up to 2017.

Nissan is the leading Japanese automaker in China, making up from 6.5% to 7% of the market share in the world's largest auto market. Nissan had a 7.6% market share in China in the quarter that ended in June 2012, which was before the dispute arose between the two countries.

Last Wednesday, Ghosn said that as Nissan lost one year, he is allowing them one additional year to get to this target with the hopes that there will be improvements in the relationship between Japan and China.

Read the entire article Nissan CEO: China-Japan political tensions delays growth plan by one year

Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn is confident that because of the automaker’s plans in China, its industry investments in electric car will soon pay off. The automaker has a large stake on battery-powered motoring. Ghosn, who is the most committed to this technology compared to other mass-market automakers, was quite optimistic upon introducing Renault's Zoe into the market in Europe, where there are very few electric car chargers available and where customer response has been unenthusiastic.

When interviewed, Ghosn said that the company will be able to sustain its investments due to its plans in China to reach a production capacity for two million electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2020. The automaker has started deliveries of the Zoe in Europe last week.

Ghosn asserts that he isn’t merely making speculations and that the China government’s decisions are “among the most audacious” that any country has taken. Even when the U.S. and Europe governments have provided substantial subsidies, sales of its electric cars have fallen below expectations three years since the Nissan Leaf was introduced.

Read the entire article Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn confident that China will save the electric car

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Renault-Nissan, told Bloomberg in an interview that it would take many years for the auto industry in Europe to recover from dwindling demand and overcapacity.  Ghosn remarked that Nissan is "preparing for many mediocre years" in Europe. Ghosn said that despite the excess production capacity in Europe, the region "will not see any kind of Armageddon."

New-car sales in the continent has slipped to their lowest levels in 17 years, due to lower vehicle demand brought about by the current European debt crisis, rising unemployment and slowing economic growth. Business consultants AlixPartners made a forecast in August 2012 that the European auto market would not recover to pre-crisis levels until the end of the decade, as the current euro crisis and high unemployment continue to corrode consumer confidence.

According to AlixPartners, the demand for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in Western Europe will drop by around 1 million units in 2013 to 13.5 million, which is 3.3 million units less than pre-crisis sales figure. As for Nissan’s operations in Europe, Ghosn told Bloomberg that the carmaker will match its production capacity with demand.

Read the entire article Europe auto industry’s recovery to take years, says Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn received a salary and bonus of $12.5 million or JPY987 million from Nissan Motor Co. for the past fiscal year, the carmaker’s chief executive told  the company’s annual shareholders' meeting in Yokohama today. Although Ghosn’s large paycheck represents only a 0.5 percent rise in compensation at Nissan, it effectively makes him Japan's highest-paid executive.

It, however, fell short of making Ghosn as the first chief executive of a Japanese company to receive more than JPY1 billion in compensation, as investors are more concerned with his tenure than the terms of his compensation.

Nissan justified the higher pay for Ghosn as well for other company executives, saying the compensation package for its global chief should not be compared with the lower ones received by Japanese chief executives, but should be rather compared with the pay given to CEOs of other global industrial companies like Ford Motor Co and Volkswagen AG.

Read the entire article Nissan’s Ghosn is the highest-paid exec in Japan with $12.5M received in 2011

Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan Motor Co., said that he could vacate the position before its next mid-term business plan starts in around five years. Spokesman Koji Okuda said that Ghosn, who is now 58, doesn’t intend to get involved in the next mid-term plan. This year, Nissan’s investor-relations officials have informed investors and analysts this year that a succession plan has been established.

This would be the last mid-term plan that Ghosn will commit to, implying that he won’t be around for the next one. Okuda added that the company would have to prepare for his leaving within a duration of five years. Whoever comes after Ghosn will have a lot to prove since he or she would be following someone who had led the company into one of the most impressive turnarounds in recent history in the automotive industry.

Ghosn, who is No. 2 when it comes to time spent as CEO of a major automaker, entered Nissan when it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Under this leadership, Nissan has become the most profitable automaker. Its current market value has reached of up to 5.73 trillion yen ($72 billion), which was recorded in 2006. Koji Endo, an auto analyst at Advanced Research Japan, said that there’s less impact when top executives resign in Japan than those overseas since Japanese automakers are “run collegially.”

Read the entire article Carlos Ghosn could retire before the company’s next mid-term business plan

Chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn at Nissan is "still bullish" about electric vehicles, he said to an industry audience last week before the New York Auto Show, where he introduced an Infiniti electric vehicle. He reiterated that the EVs will be 10% of the market in 2020 in every region where they are marketed.

All that reporters seem to want to ask the CEO is if he misjudged the market for the EVs. Despite the scanty sales in the United States and the latest delays at a small number of EV projects, Ghosn is still sticking to his vision of an auto industry where these types of cars will comprise 10% percent of worldwide automobile sales.

With technology problems and slow sales greatly deflating the optimism of industry about the electric cars, the Nissan CEO is almost an industry outlier on the topic.

Read the entire article Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn still ‘bullish’ on projection for electric vehicles

CEO Carlos Ghosn has disclosed that Renault will be forced to operate in "crisis mode" in Europe due to the continuing debt crisis in the region while Nissan will be in a similar scenario in Japan due to the strengthening yen. He further stated that vehicle manufacturers in Europe will continue to deteriorate if the governments in the region will not permit them to restructure and reduce workforce.

He explained that in the duration of five to 10 years, the lack of restructuring in the region is "going to be a drag" on the automakers' potential strategy in the future. Ghosn stated that European nations are discouraging the restructuring of the industry. He commented that when not allowed to restructure, one may survive, but is "weakening all the time."

The French government has constantly warned Renault that it should not slash jobs in France. The government is the largest shareholder of Renault with a 15% stake. Ghosn also disclosed that the strength of the yen continues to hamper Nissan. On the other hand, Nissan is still making gains in the United States with a 12.5% rise in sales for March, according to the U.S. data released on Tuesday. 

Read the entire article Nissan-Renault CEO Ghosn feels pressure from crises in Europe, Japan

Renault doesn’t plan on returning to the U.S. market as it has decided to concentrate on introducing the French brand in China, according to CEO Carlos Ghosn. Fiat, a European brand that had also left the U.S. sometime ago, had recently gone back to this market with the Fiat 500 mini-car. As part of the Obama administration's restructuring of Chrysler in 2009, Chrysler was acquired by Fiat.

When Ghosn was interviewed at the Automotive News World Congress, which was held in conjunction with the Detroit auto show, Ghosn praised the profitability and the expanding market share of Nissan.

He said that Nissan has 65 models, which are either already profitable or will soon be profitable. Ghosn said that in 1999, Nissan had 43 models but only four generated profits. He said that in the coming decades, there will be a surge in automotive sales worldwide as developing countries become wealthier and as they come to appreciate the personal mobility that’s offered by this model.

Read the entire article Renault will not return to the United States, CEO Carlos Ghosn says
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