Posts Tagged ‘carlos ghosn’

Nissan Aiming To Lead The Autonomous Car Race

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Elon Musk claims that Tesla is in the process of making an autonomous vehicle and that they will be out with one long before the competition. Carlos Ghosn, the big boss at Renault-Nissan, disagreed. In fact, his response to Tesla’s claims was said to be “scathing.”

nissan-logo

Nissan seems to think that the earliest form of a self-driving vehicle will be in the market is 2020. Furthermore, Nissan claims to be in the process of making that happen.

Tesla says that self-driving vehicles will be on the market in as little as 24 to 36 months. In fact, Tesla claims that one of his company’s vehicles is set to drive across the United States within that timeframe. Ghosn wouldn’t budge on the matter – he says that true autonomy is still years away. Of course, it could be all down to semantics. Musk is known for his hyperbole, and Ghosn for his steely pragmatism.

At the preshow reception of the Detroit Auto Show, Ghosn tells journalists to “judge what’s already on the market.” What’s interesting is how stubbornly Ghosn insists that autonomous cars are still four years away.

What Is an Autonomous Car?

He asks people about the definition of an autonomous car. Does it mean that it can merely switch lanes? If that’s the case, then those vehicles are already here. However, when it comes to inner-city driving with complicated situations such as crosswalks, true autonomy is not here yet. He finished his speech by saying that consumers want to do more than just buy a car – they also want to drive it.

He says that even if we have the technology, road regulations still require drivers to have two hands on the wheel with their eyes on the road. The very idea of autonomy means that you can be preoccupied with something else – activities that do not include driving.

Autonomy Is a Revolutionary and Novel Idea

Ghosn does say this about self-driving cars. Autonomous cars are a revolutionary and novel idea because it will allow freedom of movement by the older generation. He says this technology will allow people to get around, despite any possible disability – including old age. Many people of the older generation stop driving because they lose the ability to drive. He says autonomous cars can provide a solution. On top of that, he says that the planet’s population is getting older, making autonomous cars not just a luxury, but a necessity. People who are 80 or 90 years old will be able to get around independently with an autonomous car.

While many people echo Ghosn’s comments, they also believe that truly autonomous cars will not be on the market until at least 2025 due to the complexities of an urban environment.


Infiniti Boss Johan de Nysschen Departs as Sales Grow

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Former Infiniti boss Johan de Nysschen

After just two brief years as the president of Infiniti Motor Co., boss Johan de Nysschen has officially resigned. He personally handed his letter of resignation to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn approximately one week ago, and will leave by the end of the month.

Stefan Weinmann, Infiniti’s general manager of global communications, told The Wall Street Journal a bit more about what prompted de Nysschen’s departure. He bluntly explains that, “He left to pursue other opportunities. We have started to search for a successor.”

What “other opportunities” could Weinmann be talking about?

Turns out, the former Infiniti president is moving over to General Motors as the head of their premium brand, Cadillac. That’s right; the former Audi boss got poached again. He’d apparently been disgruntled under Ghosn from the start, quoted early in his employment as saying that the Nissan CEO’s goal of 500k premium car sales by 2020 was entirely unrealistic.

So, what does this mean for Nissan’s luxury arm?

Right now, not much. Nissan CPO Andy Palmer will take over the reins at Infiniti until a suitable replacement can be found. More importantly, Nissan is still confident about the brand’s future, stating, “We’re convinced that [Infiniti] has a very promising future and Johan’s departure doesn’t change that potential.” An analyst from Macquarie Securities named Janet Lewis also told WSJ that the loss of de Nysschen shouldn’t have any effect on the company’s performance.

At this point, you might be curious about what Johan de Nysschen accomplished during his time at Infiniti. In short, he helped, but he still had more to do.

2014 Infinti Q50

Infiniti’s US sales are still an unsolved problem, as Infiniti continues to lose market share to the likes of Audi and Lexus. However, international sales are growing enough to make up for it, with the biggest sales potential coming from China. The new Infiniti Q50 has been an especially huge hit there, making up 50% of the brand’s total sales since its launch at the beginning of 2014. Just a week ago, before his resignation went public, de Nysschen estimated that they could quadruple their sales in China by the end of 2016.

In the end, there’s nothing to be worried about. Both Carlos Ghosn and Andy Palmer have had a hand in Infiniti’s direction since before de Nysschen ever joined the force, and they’ll continue to do so into the future. And so Infiniti will continue to launch all the new products that have planned for the next couple years. They’ll continue to expand production to new markets like China, and they’ll continue to make profitable joint ventures with luxury titans like Mercedes. The only thing we have to worry about is who will step in next to boost Infiniti’s progress in the right direction.


Nissan CEO Presents Datsun on-Do Sedan in Moscow, Russia

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

We already knew that Nissan was planning to break into the Russian market with its revived Datsun brand. Earlier this week, Nissan introduced the Datsun’s first-ever Russian-exclusive model – the Datsun on-Do sedan.

Datsun on-Do Sedan

The Datsun on-Do sedan was introduced at a presentation by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in Moscow. Interestingly enough, Russia will be the first-ever market to see all three Nissan brands at once – Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun. Fittingly, Ghosn expects Datsun to contribute to one third of all their sales as the brand strives to triple their Russian market share in just three years.

As for the on-Do itself, it’s not really intended to be anything fancy. It’s a budget-friendly, four-door five-seat sedan “with class-leading trunk capacity of 530L.” But, as you can see, it really doesn’t look bad at all. In fact, if you squint your eyes from certain angles, the mesh hexagonal grille almost makes the car look premium.

Moving beyond the grille, though, the super economic aesthetic becomes a little more noticeable. The sedan’s silhouette is largely generic, and its design reminds us of something akin to a Toyota Echo. He doesn’t have any fancy LEDs, or a sculpted front fascia or anything like that, and the wheels are rather small. Of course, this is all to be expected since the car is will only come in at 400,000 rubles, which is just a hair over $11,000 US.

As for the internal workings of the car, we know that it will feature a 1.6L four-cylinder engine with an underwhelming 87hp. This seems especially low since the engine is likely the same as that seen in the Nissan Versa or Nissan Micra, but tuned down from the other cars’ 109hp. If we had to guess, we’d say that this is probably to enhance the Datsun sedan’s fuel economy, which in turn puts the on-Do into Russia’s bottom tier tax bracket.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the new Datsun sedan is the name… on-Do may sound rather bland on the surface, but delving deeper into the different languages the car represents offers a more intriguing picture. “Do” is an extremely important word to the Japanese, representing a “consistent and distinctive way of doing things.” For Nissan, they want to present Datsun as the right way of doing things. The word “On” also has significance in the Russian language, as it means “he”. The end result is a name that evokes everything the Datsun on-Do stands for – it’s a car with “strength, performance and masculinity,” and it’s totally unprecedented in the Russian market.

As you’ll hear in the presentation video below, Carlos Ghosn offered his own estimates for the on-Do’s sales performance. He expects to hit 100,000 sales within two years after the sedan’s launch in September of this year. This will be accomplished through an initial network of 25 Datsun branded dealerships in key regions, with another 75 dealerships coming over the next two years.

All in all, Nissan is well-positioned to become the dominant Japanese titan in the Russian market, and we have no doubt that the Datsun on-Do will be pivotal in making that possible.


Ghosn Still Believes 1.5M EVs by 2016 – The Leaf Proves it

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, May 16th, 2013

In case you didn’t already know, Nissan is dead serious about electric vehicles. Not hybrids. Not fuel cells. Pure electric vehicles, that’s where it’s at. Or at least, so Nissan is convinced. They were convinced back in 2011 when they originally pledged to sell 1.5 million EVs, and they’re still convinced now after 62,000 total Leaf sales by the end of April, 2013.

The bold face of Nissan’s confidence? Passionate CEO Carlos Ghosn of course!

Carlos Ghosn still sees 1.5 million EV sales by 2016

Carlos Ghosn Still Says ‘Yes’ to 1.5 Million EVs

At a conference in Nissan’s Yokohama headquarters last Friday, Ghosn emphasized the Leaf’s acceleration in sales as the important variable to look at. He acknowledged that, yes, 62,000 sales isn’t very many, but the Leaf is on an upward trajectory – sales have doubled since this time last year. That’s where Ghosn is choosing to focus.

Still, even a man as determined as the CEO of the second largest Japanese car brand can be realistic. He knows that 1.4 million Leaf sales in 3 years is unlikely. He tactfully acquiesced, “I maintain the 1.5 million. I think it will be difficult to reach in 2016, but without any doubt it’s still on the radar screen.”

While anything more than 400K to 500K units is probably unreasonable to expect, Ghosn does have a point. Sales are increasing consistently, and the Leaf continues to become more affordable and more efficient.

2013 Leaf Gets Official EPA 115 MPGe Rating

Nissan independently estimated the 2013 Leaf’s fuel economy when the vehicle was first released. However, it’s taken several months for the EPA to do its undoubtedly vigorous testing and come to an official conclusion. The verdict? The Nissan Leaf is officially 15% more efficient than it was last year at 115 MPGe. On top of that, the new Leaf has a 5% larger single-charge range than the old one, and it does so with a 90% charge.

In addition to heightened efficiency, the 2013 Nissan Leaf is also safer than ever. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety it’s one of the safest vehicles currently on the market. Last Thursday the Nissan Leaf joined its distant relatives, the Altima and the Infiniti M37, on the IIHS’s Top Safety Picks for 2013.

And let’s not forget the most important improvement – the 2013 Leaf is cheaper than ever with a base price of $28,000. Depending on where you live, you can now get a brand-new Leaf for less than $20,000. There’s no denying that the improved economics have had an effect on sales.

In the end, I think we all know that 1.5 million Nissan EVs by 2016 isn’t going to happen. But, I like that Nissan and Ghosn are still fighting for it. 2016 is a long shot, but 2020… Who knows?

Sources: Autoblog Green, Autoblog Green, The Truth About Cars