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Update: Ghosn Successor Plan Wins Thumbs Up from French Government – But Support Comes with Stiff Price

France demanding Renault formally merge with Japanese ally Nissan.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn will get the man he wants to succeed him when he retires: COO Thierry Bollore.

Carlos Ghosn’s plan to name his successor later this week has cleared a critical hurdle despite creating some turmoil – including the resignation of one of French automaker Renault’s senior board members.

The French government, which owns a major stake in Renault, now says it will accept Ghosn’s plan to appoint Thierry Bollore as the carmaker’s chief operating officer and his heir-apparent. But the government also said that it wants an agreement that Ghosn will push to form an “integrated” company – translation: a merger – with Japan’s Nissan, rather than the current alliance structure. Ghosn has long preferred to see the two companies coordinate efforts but remain independent.

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Ghosn, who will turn 64 next month, is expected to be given another four-year contract as chairman, CEO and president of Renault in June, but naming Bollore his successor “is perfectly acceptable to the French shareholder,” according to a source in the government’s finance ministry who spoke to the Reuters news service on Monday. (more…)

Turmoil at Renault as Ghosn Preps to Name Successor

Senior board member ousted.

by on Feb.12, 2018

Thierry Bollore, currently chief operating officer of Renault, is CEO Carlos Ghosn's choice to succeed him when he retires.

Carlos Ghosn’s plan to name a successor is touching off turmoil within the board of directors at French automaker Renault, according to reports out of Europe.

Senior board member Thierry Desmarest has resigned, according to the Reuters news service, following the recent resignation of Stefan Mueller, Renault’s chief performance officer. Their departures appears to clear the way for Ghosn to name Thierry Bollore as his chief operating officer and heir apparent.

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One of the highest-profile executives in the automotive world, Ghosn has taken on a variety of senior positions since he was first assigned to rescue the Japanese side of what became the Renault-Nissan Alliance two decades ago. That includes serving as CEO of both Renault and the Alliance, as well as chief executive of Mitsubishi, which recently became third member of the group. (more…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Creates $1 Bil Venture Fund

“We can’t everything ourselves,” says Ghosn.

by on Jan.10, 2018

The new fund is expected to invest about $200 million annually in new technology and services.

The Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance will invest around $1 billion over the next five years to help it fund start-ups and other small tech companies that can help it bring to market electrified, connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn announced Tuesday.

The corporate venture capital, or CVC, fund is intended not only to give the Franco-Japanese alliance access to potentially breakthrough technology but to help it make decisions more quickly than is normally the case for a big corporation, Ghosn said during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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“We can do everything ourselves,” explained the Brazilian-born executive. “We have to get access to people who think about things in different ways.”

(more…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Creating $200M Mobility Tech Fund

Franco-Japanese alliance also setting up new robo-taxi project.

by on Jan.05, 2018

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, will discuss plans for its $200 million mobility tech fund at CES.

These are challenging times for even the most well-funded automakers. The industry is expected to change more during the next decade than it has during the last century, and carmakers need to stay on top of technologies such as electrification, connected cars and autonomous vehicles, never mind business shifts, such as the rise of car- and ride-sharing services such as Car2Go, Uber and Lyft.

That’s leading the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to set up a $200 million mobility tech fund, according to a report by the Reuters news service. The alliance’s CEO Carlos Ghosn is expected to announce details during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early next week.

The Last Word!

Separately, officials with the Franco-Japanese alliance announced plans to set up a consortium aimed at putting robo-taxis into commercial use. Among other things, that could include existing ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, as well as Waymo which is developing its own autonomous and driverless technologies. The Google spinoff has said it does not plan to produce its own vehicles. (more…)

List Grows as More Automakers Plan to Go Electric

Renault wants hybrids, EVs to generate half its sales by 2022.

by on Oct.06, 2017

Renault now plans to have electric vehicles comprise 50% of its sales by 2022.

French automaker Renault, a pioneer in the drive to electrify, now wants hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles to account for half of its global sales by 2022.

The carmaker is echoing the strategy of its Japanese alliance partner Nissan, which also sees a future increasingly dependent upon electric propulsion systems like the one used in its Leaf model, the world’s best-selling all-electric automobile. More broadly, some of the industry’s largest manufacturers, including General Motors and Volkswagen, as well as smaller and niche players such as Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and even Aston Martin, have in recent weeks announced similar plans to shift to electric propulsion.

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“We are confident we can turn upcoming … challenges into significant business opportunities,” said Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault, who also serves as chief executive of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. (more…)

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.”

(more…)

Renault-Nissan Come Even Closer as They Double Down Bet on Battery Power

Alliance targets annual sales of 14 mil vehicles, revenues of $240 bil.

by on Sep.15, 2017

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Alliance expects to sell 14 million vehicles annually by 2022.

Renault and Nissan plan to double their savings by drawing even closer as part of what often is held up as the world’s most successful automotive alliance.

Together, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which also includes Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors, has sold more vehicles than any other company in the world so far this year, leap-frogging competitors Volkswagen and Toyota. Now, as part of the new Alliance 2022 strategy, the goal is to boost global sales nearly 40%, to 14 million a year by 2022, Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn said Friday. The partners also announced their goal of having electrified vehicles represent 30% of its global total.

Global Auto News!

“This plan will boost the growth and profitability of our member companies,” said Ghosn. “We intend to deliver on growing synergies, with three autonomous companies cooperating with the efficiency of one. The Alliance has grown and performed with two members since 1999. With Alliance 2022, we will prove that we will grow and perform with three companies or more.” (more…)

Renault Driverless Electric Symbioz Concept Merges Home and Car

Press a button for a “French Kiss.”

by on Sep.14, 2017

Renault's Symbioz Concept made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show and reflects how we might live our lives in the future.

For many folks, the automobile has become a second home. So why not make the car quite literally part of one’s house?

What happens when automakers begin delivering their first driverless, connected and battery-powered vehicles in the coming decade? Such vehicles are expected to dramatically change not only the way we travel but many aspects of the way we live our lives more broadly – or so says Renault, which is giving a glimpse of how this might happen with the debut of its Symbioz concept car at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Global Auto News!

As the name implies, embraces symbiosis, the concept of living together in harmony. In this case, it is envisioned as “an integrated house and car.” And, no, Renault isn’t suggesting you sell your home and live out of the backseat of the Symbioz, but it actually could operate as an additional room for your existing house, and even provide back-up power in the event of a grid outage. (more…)

France Expected to Ban Gas, Diesel Vehicles – But Not Until 2040

“A very difficult objective,” admits Environment Minister.

by on Jul.07, 2017

Even before the latest proposal, Paris was considering a ban on diesel vehicles.

France could become one of the first countries to ban the sale of vehicles running on fossil fuels, the country’s Environment Minister this week proposing a complete transition to zero-emissions vehicles.

But it won’t happen quickly, Nicolas Hulot’s plan expected to take until 2040 to roll out. And the minister admitted the “revolution” he is proposing would create some serious challenges for the auto industry. It does help that both French-based automakers have already made major commitments to shift to electric propulsion.

The Last Word!

A number of countries are focusing on alternative powertrain technologies, ranging from hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, as well as hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. That includes China, the world’s largest automotive market. But none have yet gone as far as to actively consider plans to eliminate gas and diesel vehicle sales entirely.

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Automakers Hit by Ransomware Attack

Several Renault-Nissan European plants temporarily idled.

by on May.15, 2017

Nissan's Sunderland plant was one of several European auto plants impacted by the attack.

With the Wannacry ransomware attack again heating up as the workweek begins, at least two automakers have been hit, forcing both France’s Renault and its Japanese alliance partner Nissan to temporarily idle some of their plants in Europe.

“We are doing what is needed to counter this attack,” a Renault spokesperson said, while Nissan stated it is “responding accordingly” to what may be the world’s single-biggest attack by hackers, computers in as many as 100 countries reportedly impacted, according to various news wires, by Monday morning.

Breaking News!

That includes everything from individual computers to corporate networks, as well as the British healthcare system. Approximately 20% of the hospitals in Great Britain were impacted in recent days, forcing many to cancel all but emergency medical procedures.

What worries cybersecurity experts is that while the Wannacry attack appeared to be winding down as the weekend began, there were signs that a new assault was underway on Monday.

(more…)