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Commentary & Voices

Nissan-Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn Arrested in Tokyo


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At a press conference in Japan today, Nissan Motor Company announced that its Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa has moved to dismiss Carlos Ghosn from his positions as Chairman and Representative Director of the company. Ghosn, a former CEO of Nissan and current Chairman of both Renault and Mitsubishi, had been the subject of an internal investigation at Nissan that uncovered “significant” financial misconduct. The Nissan board will gather on Thursday, November 22, to vote on his removal from the company.

Representative Director Greg Kelly was also arrested in Japan and will be dismissed from the company, pending the board vote on Thursday.

Please find below commentary from Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book analysts. If you would like to speak to any of the Cox Automotive experts today on the changes at Nissan, feel free to reach out. We’d be happy to help.

Michelle Krebs, executive analyst Autotrader
Carlos Ghosn is a giant not only in the auto industry but also on the global business stage. After all, how many automotive executives have a super hero comic book made about them? A visionary, Ghosn was ahead of the game when it came to automotive consolidation, and he did it in a unique way. First came the alliance – not merger – between Nissan and Renault, a French-Japanese marriage that many doubted could succeed, but it did. Then eventually Mitsubishi joined the mix, creating one of the world’s largest auto companies.

On a more practical side, Ghosn never achieved his vision of an all-electric world, far from it. He also issued the edict that Nissan would capture 10 percent market share in the U.S. That led to bad and unprofitable behaviors including huge discounting and giant fleet sales that resulted in slumping resale values. Nissan also has had its share of quality problems as part of grinding out volume to snag market share.

Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst Kelley Blue Book
This is a shocking end to a storied and enormously successful career, but also reveals the vulnerabilities of a concentration of power at the top. Mr. Ghosn (never Carlos) masterminded the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, balancing three different companies with demanding elegance. The alliance will continue without him, but this misconduct will cause disruption and uncertainty at the top for a while.

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