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Renault-Nissan’s Ghosn Raises Caution Flag for U.S. Auto Market

Exec expects NAFTA to survive, despite threats from Trump.

by on Sep.28, 2017

Carlos Ghosn relinquished his title as Nissan CEO this year to focus more on Mitsubishi.

After months of decline, September could bring some good news for U.S. automakers, with a modest upturn in new vehicle sales. But don’t expect that upturn to last long, warns Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

The Brazilian-born executive said that sales in the U.S. market are likely to remain “stable,” meaning no growth. On the other hand, he told CNBC he doesn’t expect the serious downturn that some observers have begun to worry about after months of weak sales.

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Asked if there’s an opportunity for the American market to grow, following three record years of sales, Ghosn said, “I’m not planning on that,” adding that, “For the next six years we’re seeing a stable U.S. market (but) we don’t see growth in the U.S.”


Ghosn Rules Out Full Nissan-Mitsubishi Merger

Mitsu needs to “reform itself.”

by on Apr.28, 2017

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is expected to translate into a new production crossover.

While Nissan has taken a controlling stake in long-troubled Mitsubishi and replaced most of the smaller maker’s key managers, don’t expect to see a full merger of the two companies.

Instead, expect to see the two companies expand their ties – which is likely to mean more platform sharing, as well as the joint development and use of electrified powertrain technology.

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“Full merger is not on the table. We want Mitsubishi to reform itself,” said Carlos Ghosn, the Nissan Chairman who recently took on that same post at the smaller company.


Major Management Changes Coming at Nissan

Nakamura retires, Albaisa gets promoted, BMW’s Habib to take on Infiniti styling.

by on Mar.14, 2017

Nissan's Shiro Nakamura helped build the maker's reputation for strong designs.

More big managements changes are in the works at Nissan Motors Corp., barely three weeks after Carlos Ghosn relinquished his title as CEO of the Japanese automaker.

The latest wave impacts Nissan at a variety of senior levels, both at its headquarters in Japan and in the critical U.S. market. That starts with the announcement that Shiro Nakamura, the well-respected Nissan Chief Creative Officer, will be retiring. He will be replaced be Alfonso Albaisa, who had been overseeing design at the maker’s Infiniti division. In turn, Albaisa will be replaced by former BMW Design director Karim Habib.

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Still other major management shifts come as Nissan moves to cement its control over Mitsubishi, the long-troubled Japanese automaker that was rescued by a Nissan bailout late last year. Four more Nissan executives will move over to the smaller maker starting in April.


Mitsubishi Remaining Separate from Nissan

Swearingen confirms plans to keep companies apart.

by on Jan.06, 2017

Mitsubishi and Nissan will remain separate entities, said MMNA Chief Don Swearingen.

With a new corporate structure at the top of the company, Mitsubishi plans to use design to set it apart from Nissan its new corporate partner and parent.

Nissan closed the deal to acquire a controlling 30% stake in Mitsubishi last fall and last month, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn took over as Mitsubishi chairman.

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However, while the Nissan and Mitsubishi will share some functions such as purchasing or logistics, the two companies will essentially remain competitors in key markets such as the United States or Japan, said Don Swearingen, Mitsubishi Motors North America executive vice president and chief operating officer. (more…)

Ghosn to Add New Duties as Chairman of Mitsubishi

“It is going to be difficult.”

by on Oct.20, 2016

Saving Mitsubishi "will require tough decisions," said new Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Already serving as the CEO of both French automaker Renault, as well as its Japanese alliance partner Nissan, Carlos Ghosn will now become chairman of embattled automaker Mitsubishi.

It will put the Brazilian-born executive in a familiar role. He became chief operating officer at Nissan in 1999, following a $6 billion investment by Renault, and helped turned the then-struggling Japanese company around. Following a series of scandals, Mitsubishi now needs similar help.

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And it could also help boost give a big boost to the Renault-Nissan Alliance, adding just enough volume for the Franco-Japanese partnership to brush aside rival Toyota to become the world’s best-selling auto company.


Japanese Government Raids Mitsubishi Headquarters

Maker's internal investigation prompted action, officials say.

by on Sep.02, 2016

Japanese officials raided Mitsubishi's headquarters and a plant in Nagoya, Japan, as part of an ongoing investigation about the company's mileage scandal.

Not long after announcing it lied about the fuel economy ratings of even more vehicles, Mitsubishi Motor Corp.’s nightmare continued as Japanese authorities raided the company’s headquarters to seize documents and information for an ongoing investigation.

Government officials also raided the company’s plant in Nagoya as part of the effort.

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“We want to thoroughly investigate the circumstances that led to this situation,” said Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii, according to Reuters. (more…)

Mitsubishi Puts Off Outlander PHEV Until Summer 2017

Automaker pushing ahead with debut of Ground Tourer concept.

by on Aug.16, 2016

Mitsubishi is delaying the introduction of the 2017 Outlander PHEV until next summer.

Mitsubishi is pushing back the U.S. introduction of the plug-in hybrid version of its Outlander utility vehicle until next summer.

The PHEV version of the Outlander, which was unveiled at the New York Auto Show last spring, was originally scheduled for this fall. However, the plans have changed, according to Alex Fedorak, Mitsubishi’s director of communications.

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“Following a thorough evaluation process, we have determined that, in order to meet a level of competitiveness that will exceed customer expectations in the United States, the launch of the Outlander PHEV will be delayed until the summer of 2017,” he said in an email to (more…)

Mitsubishi Panel: Corp. Culture Ruled Out Saying “No”

Maker faulted for “not having manufacturing philosophy of an automaker.”

by on Aug.02, 2016

Nissan CEO Ghosn (l), and MMC Chairman Masuko.

Despite being faced with impossible goals and a shortage of resources, engineers at Mitsubishi Motors Corp. were caught up in a corporate culture that wouldn’t allow them to say, “No,” according to an internal investigation of the maker’s fuel economy cheating scandal.

The report, compiled by a team of outside investigators, had harsh words for the scandal-plagued automaker, which admitted in April it had rigged mileage numbers on vehicles sold in Japan for as much as a quarter century.

Clearing the Air!

“There was utterly no consciousness that the company must work as one to make and sell cars,” according to the 37-page report. Mitsubishi, it concluded, is a company “not having the manufacturing philosophy of an automaker.”


Mitsubishi Hints at High-End Plug-in with Ground Tourer Concept

New show car could signal big ute above the current Outlander line.

by on Jun.30, 2016

PHEV will debut at Paris Motor Show.

The 2016 auto show circuit has barely wrapped up but we’re already getting a first hint of what’s to come for the start of the 2017 season when Mitsubishi will roll into the Paris Motor Show with a new, high-end SUV concept.

Make that a premium plug-in prototype dubbed the Mitsubishi Ground Tourer, something the automaker calls “the latest expression of (its) design ambitions.”

All in the Concept!

Targeted to ride above the Mitsubishi Outlander, the Ground Tourer concept also “further expresses” the struggling Japanese automaker’s push into battery-electric propulsion, with a plug-in hybrid driveline meant to deliver “effortless cruising in all driving conditions on and off-road.”


Mitsubishi Expecting Major Profit Hit from Mileage Scandal

Damage could worsen.

by on Jun.23, 2016

Mitsubishi could post a $1.4 billion loss as a result of the lost sales and payouts due to the fuel mileage scandal.

Slammed over false fuel economy numbers, Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors is anticipating a sharp financial hit for the current fiscal year.

Mitsubishi now says it could report a loss of as much as $1.4 billion when it closes the books next March, a major swing from the $694 million profit, at current exchange rates, it originally forecast.

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That reflects not only the slump in the maker’s sales since the scandal broke in April but also the cost of reimbursing owners of various models who had their mileage inflated in a bid to make the vehicles more competitive. But an ongoing investigation could force Mitsubishi to pay out still more if it confirms cheating on other vehicles. (more…)