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Ghosn Concedes Nissan/Renault Won’t Make EV Goals

Blames lack of infrastructure for missing 1.5-million vehicle target.

by on Nov.11, 2013

Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn said he believes a lack of infrastructure is to blame for missing his target of selling 1.5-million electric vehicles.

Nissan/Renault won’t meet Chief Carlos Ghosn’s ambitious goal of selling 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2016. In fact, it will not even be close.

The Japanese/French automotive alliance will miss that target by more than 1 million vehicles as it has sold about 120,000 EVs, most of them Nissan Leafs. Ghosn now believes it will take much longer to reach the 1.5-million unit goal.

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“We will not be there. At the speed right now, I’m seeing it more four or five years later,” he said in an interview with Financial Times. During the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Ghosn said he believed that EVs would account for 10% of all new vehicle sales at some point in the future with the right level of support from governments in China, the U.S. and Europe. (more…)

Renault-Nissan Alliance to Partner Up with Mitsubishi

Team of three may develop small car to sell globally.

by on Nov.05, 2013

Nissan/Renault is considering adding a third partner: Mitsubishi, according to Carlos Ghosn.

The long-running alliance between French automaker Renault and Japan’s Nissan could soon get a little bit larger as the partners explore a possible tie-up with another Japanese maker, Mitsubishi Motors.

The proposed alliance would cover a number of different product segments and include the development of new electric vehicles, an emerging market niche into which Renault and Nissan have already invested billions of dollars to develop and produce vehicles like the Leaf battery-electric vehicle.

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“Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors have jointly benefited from several collaborations in the past,” noted Carlos Ghosn, who serves as CEO at both Nissan and Renault. “I welcome the direction being taken towards this broader cooperation, creating new opportunities for Renault in addition to further leveraging the productive relationship between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors.”   (more…)

Nissan to Introduce Lower-Priced Leaf

Less expensive model to debut after launch of US production.

by on Oct.09, 2012

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn at the Leaf debut.

Hoping to sharply boost demand – while also taking advantage of its new, lower-cost U.S. production base – Nissan plans to introduce a lower-priced version of the Leaf battery-electric vehicle next year.

The move will follow the December 2012 launch of production of the Leaf on a new assembly line at the sprawling Nissan manufacturing center in Smyrna, Tennessee.  Currently, the battery car is imported from Japan – which means it is subject to lopsided exchange rates penalizing the Japanese yen.

Cutting the price could prove critical to near-term sales, as well as the long-term viability, of the Nissan Leaf. After a moderately strong start in 2011, sales have taken an unexpected dive this year.

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The new model will feature far less content, “though this is not a stripper,” according to a well-placed Nissan source.  That translates into no navigation system or HID headlights – features normally not found in the segment a vehicle the size of a Nissan Leaf would normally compete in were it not for its unique battery drivetrain.

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Russians Put 50 Billion Rubles into Failing Lada

Renault keeps 25% stake. Offers more technology transfers.

by on Nov.30, 2009

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Lada’s Togliatti plant will expand by about 200,000 vehicles to 900,000 annually.

Renault, government-owned Russian Technologies and Troika Dialog, an investment bank, have signed a memorandum of understanding to reorganize heavily indebted AvtoVAZ, a maker of more than a dozen models, and best known in the west for its Lada brand.

The pending deal, due to close by March 1, will expand Lada’s Togliatti plant by about 200,000 vehicles to 900,000 annually by 2015. It allows AvtoVAZ, in theory, to sustain its Russia auto market share at about 25%, while developing what are thought to be ambitious export operations.

It was only a short while ago that the Russian car market experienced rapid growth to 2.7 million vehicles in 2007. That was when Renault invested $1 billion TK € for its 25% stake in AvtoVAZ.

However, this was pre-financial crash and the ongoing global Great Recession caused by it, which is in the process of drastically altering the auto business, among other industries. In Russia, sales plunged in 2008 to 1.45 million units. Sales are running at about 1.6 million units annually this year — making Renault’s previous planning assumptions of 3.2 million units in 2008, and 4 million vehicles annually by 2014 seem, well, absurd. If it ever happens that would make Russia the largest car market in Europe.

It was the Russian government’s desire to make its auto industry a global player that caused the Opel sale to collapse.

Пожалуйста!

Пожалуйста!

Ultimately, the GM Board of Directors rejected the planned sale of Opel to Magna and Russian Sberbank in early November because it bolstered Russian vehicle sales by using its technology while restricting access of GM’s Chevrolet brand in the huge market and with, apparently, shaky or disingenuous safeguards on intellectual property rights.

AvtovVaz – City of Togliatti, Russia

Soon to be an automotive export hub?

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Formula One Racing Exodus Continues as Toyota and Bridgestone Announce Exits

Only Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Renault will compete as makers during the next racing season that starts in March.

by on Nov.05, 2009

The extreme costs and super rich image is driving makers out of Formual One.

The extreme costs and super excessive image is driving automakers out of Formula One.

Toyota Motor Corporation is leaving the super expensive Formula One racing circuit next year. Bridgestone, a major supplier to Toyota is withdrawing the year following.

The latest moves to cut team costs of almost half a billion dollars annually for leading marques means that only Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Renault  will compete as makers next season.

Ferrari is threatening to leave the series as well. Honda and BMW had previously withdrawn.

Race With Us!

Race With Us!

Lotus Cars, now owned by Proton, is returning after a 15-year absence. In addition, several new smaller teams are thought to be preparing low budget entries for the new season, which starts in March. Previously, Lotus said it plans to spend only $90 million next year, compared to Toyota’s estimated $500 million annual investment in the hugely popular global sport.

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Nissan Posts ¥16.5 Billion Loss in First Quarter

Globally, Nissan sold a total of 723,000 vehicles in the April-to-June period, down 22.8%.

by on Jul.30, 2009

Nissan's Carlos Ghosn

"2009 continues to be a tough year, but we are beginning to see positive results from the measures taken under our Recovery Plan."

Nissan Motor Company  Ltd announced a net loss after tax of ¥16.5 billion ($170 million, euro €120 million) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2009, which ends March 31, 2010, compared to net income of ¥52.8 billion yen ($540 million) from the same period a year ago.

Net revenue fell 35.5% to ¥1.5 trillion ($15.55 billion). Nissan’s operating profit totaled ¥11.6 billion ($120 million), down 85.5%, while the ordinary loss amounted to ¥26.1 billion($270 million).

Globally, Nissan sold a total of 723,000 vehicles in the Q1 April-to-June period, down 22.8% compared to same period in 2008. In North America, sales were 225,000 units, down 31.6%. Sales in the United States were 173,000 units, down 31.5% in a market that continues to decline. In Japan, sales were 116,000 units, down by 21.6%. European sales were 118,000 units, down 24.6%. China grew with sales up by 9.3% at 145,000 units. Sales in other regions were down 29.8% to 119,000 units.

The first quarter saw the launch of three products  — Pixo in Europe, NV200 in Japan and G37 convertible in the United States. In fiscal 2009, Nissan says it will launch a total of eight all-new products globally.

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Renault and EDF Strengthen Collaboration on EVs

Next step in electric car development has U.S. implications.

by on Jun.22, 2009

Packaging of EV batteries remains a significant technical challenge, one reason why both Renault and Nissan concepts use boxy bodies.

The packaging of bulky EV batteries remains a significant technical challenge, one reason why both Renault and Nissan concepts use boxy bodies.

Renault and EDF, the French electric utility, today announced the strengthening of their collaboration on “zero-emission” electric vehicles that dates back to the Paris Auto Show in 2008. The two partners are moving on to a later phase in the development of an electric vehicle, which is due by 2011, including the debut of some in the United States.

The Renault Nissan Alliance missed the move to hybrids when Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of both Renault and Nissan, decided that they were too expensive — leaving Toyota thus far with unchallenged “green car credentials.” Nissan is now placing a large bet on EVs and developing lithium ion batteries through a joint-venture with NEC in Japan. It is also pursuing government subsidies with all possible political pressure to make the program profitable.

The latest development effort is around a recharging system that allows communication between electrical terminals and vehicles, called “power line communication” (PLC). Recharging, along with its cost, is one of the many challenges electric vehicles face in garnering widespread approval, something Renault and Nissan together are betting significant resources on at a time when both companies are losing large amounts of money.

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comEDF claims that its PLC technology ensures the secure exchange of data between the recharge terminal and vehicle, including vehicle identification and billing details. Renault will carry out integration tests of this system with its future vehicles. This, Renault says, is a concrete step forward that will contribute to the development of the electric vehicle market in France. France will be one of the first global markets to receive these all-electric models, along with Israel, Denmark, Portugal, the state of Tennessee (USA), and Kanagawa Prefecture (Japan), all of which have announced similar partnerships with the Renault Nissan Alliance.

Since Renault has no presence in the U.S., an electric vehicle here will come from Nissan. As TDB has reported, the Alliance now has several zero-emission partnerships in the U.S., including Tucson and Phoenix Arizona; Sonoma County, California; the State of Oregon; the State of Tennessee and San Diego Gas & Electric Company. It is looking for more.

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Nissan-Chrysler Alliance May Collapse

Nissan may be ready to pull the plug.

by on Feb.13, 2009

Nissan would give up Ram-based Titan

Nissan would give up Ram-based Titan

The highly touted alliance between Chrysler and Nissan now appears to be on very thin ice if it’s not dead already.

Nissan officials confirmed Thursday that two projects integral to the alliance are now under review.

“Last year, Nissan and Chrysler announced three projects to provide each other with certain vehicles on an OEM basis. Nissan and Chrysler have agreed for Nissan to supply compact vehicles to Chrysler for sale in South America beginning later this year. That project continues to progress,” Nissan spokesman Fred Standish said in a statement.

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Nissan in Meltdown

Automaker slashing 20,000 jobs, seeking U.S., Japanese aid.

by on Feb.09, 2009

Ghosn, seen here during better times

Ghosn, seen here during better times

Feeling the pinch of a worsening global meltdown, Nissan Motor Co. plans to trim 20,000 jobs and seek government assistance from both Japan and the United States.

As TheDetroitBureau.com reported, last week, the Japanese maker has been suffering serious problems both in its home market and in the U.S., its biggest foreign outlet. It’s a problem plaguing many of its Japanese competitors, including the industry giant, Toyota Motor Co., which will report a $4.5 billion loss for the fiscal year ending March 31. Nissan, meanwhile, will go $2.9 billion (265 billion yen) for the same period, CEO Carlos Ghosn announced on Monday.

“The global auto industry is in turmoil, and Nissan is no exception,” Ghosn revealed to reporters, following a meeting with Nissan staff.

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Ghosn to Announce New Belt-Tightening

Japanese, following Detroit’s lead by cinching belt, slashing jobs.

by on Feb.05, 2009

Tighten that belt: Nissan CEO Ghosn

Tighten that belt: Nissan CEO Ghosn

Though Japanese makers suffered a smaller decline in January sales than their Big Three rivals, they’re still feeling the impact of the collapsing economy – and struggling to stay ahead of the situation by slashing costs and, as needed, eliminating jobs. It doesn’t help that the Asian makers are undergoing a sales crisis in their home market, as TheDetroitBureau.com first reported, on Tuesday.

Major cost-cutting is expected to come from across the Japanese industry, with Nissan scheduled to reveal its own moves, as early as next week.

In the U.S., belt-tightening is occurring at every level, from minor steps like delaying orders for new business cards, all the way up to extended plant shutdowns. Toyota is planning a first-ever “voluntary” round of job cuts that could impact 100s, perhaps 1000 or more workers. Meanwhile, Nissan is restructuring sales and marketing field operations, as well as realigning its U.S. design centers. The much-ballyhooed styling center, in Farmington Hills, MI, will be consolidated into another design operation, in California. All told, 110 jobs will be lost, in the process.

Sources tell TheDetroitBureau that more big cuts are coming, at Nissan, though for now, they’re declining to provide many details. The corporate priority, said a well-placed Japanese executive, is to trim unnecessary spending to focus on core activities, especially product development, as well as basic, day-to-day operations.

“We don’t want to have to cut up the furniture into firewood to stay warm,” said the source, admitting that was a bit of an exaggeration, but nonetheless indicative of the watchful approach taken by Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn, who serves double-duty as chief executive of Nissan’s French alliance partner, Renault, will meet with the Japanese maker’s employees, in Tokyo, on Monday, February 9th, to provide a better sense of the company’s financial situation, and to outline the cost-cutting plan. Details, sources say, will be released at the same time the carmaker announces its third-quarter financial results. (Nissan, like much of Japan’s businesses, operates on a fiscal year calendar, which ends March 31.)