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Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance Reconfigures Board of Directors

Ghosn denied board meeting appearance by judge.

by Michael Strong on Mar.12, 2019

The leaders of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi celebrate the reconfiguration of the Alliance's board of directors.

Former Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Chairman Carlos Ghosn may be free from jail, the leaders of the three-headed monster don’t want him free to exercise any more influence over the company in his role on the board of directors.

Fortunately, a Tokyo court gave them what they wanted, banning the former boss from taking part in the meeting of the board of the directors.

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“Mr. Ghosn is disappointed that the Court denied his request to attend the Nissan Board of Directors meeting,” according to a statement issued by a spokesman.  (more…)

Ghosn Released on Bail

Prosecutors lose appeal nearly four months after exec’s arrest.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.06, 2019

Carlos Ghosn was released from a Tokyo detention center after the appeal to deny him bail was denied.

Nearly four months after he was unceremoniously yanked off a private jet after landing at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn was escorted out of the Tokyo Detention Center on Wednesday, looking gaunt and wearing both a surgical mask and cap.

The executive was freed a day after a Tokyo District Court ordered him released on 1 billion yen, or $8.9 million, bail. Prosecutors had previously blocked the release of the Brazilian-born executive but lost an appeal of the release order this time.

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“I am innocent and totally committed to vigorously defending myself in a fair trial against these meritless and unsubstantiated accusations,” Ghosn, who will turn 65 on Saturday, said in a statement issued shortly before his release. (more…)

Nissan IMQ “Signals the Direction” of Future Electric CUVs

A “seamless” blending of exterior and interior design.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.05, 2019

Nissan designers opted for a sharper and more angular approach to the design of the IMQ.

Think of the new Nissan IMQ concept vehicle as a rolling crystal ball. Following on the debut of the IMs prototype at the Detroit Auto Show two months ago, the Japanese maker says its latest concept “signals the direction of (its) next generation of crossovers.”

Make that battery-electric CUVs, for the concept vehicle that debuted today at the Geneva Motor Show reveals the next-generation e-Power system, an all-electric powertrain that you might think of as the familiar Nissan Leaf on steroids.

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Actually, that is a bit misleading, as the Nissan IMQ carries with it a 1.5-liter gas engine that serves solely as a generator, providing energy when the battery is drained. That’s the same approach BMW has taken with its little i3 city car. The internal combustion engine never actually provides direct power to the wheels.

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Tokyo Court Grants Ghosn Bail – But Move Under Appeal

Former Nissan chief could soon leave detention for first time in nearly four months.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.05, 2019

Carlos Ghosn was a traditional fixture at the Geneva Motor Show but is still behind bars as the 2019 event gets underway.

A Japanese court has finally approved bail for former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, potentially opening the door for him to step out of the Tokyo Detention Center for the first time since his arrest on charges of corruption on November 19.

But the release of the 64-year-old executive was delayed pending an appeal by prosecutors who had repeatedly blocked Ghosn’s bid for bail, alleging he was a flight risk and that he might use his freedom to tamper with evidence.

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This marked the third bid for Ghosn’s release and comes just weeks after the once high-flying executive changed his legal team, turning to Junichiro Hironaka, a lawyer renowned for his ability to clear defendants in a country where prosecutors win over 90% of their cases. Hironaka had proposed to the Tokyo District Court ways to ensure Ghosn would comply with the requirements set by the court.

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First Drive: 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus

The original battery-car back in the game with more power, range.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Feb.25, 2019

The 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus gives the brand its first real competitor in the long-range EV arena.

It’s hard to argue against adding more power and range when you’re talking about an electric vehicle, and those are the two most significant updates to the 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus.

The original model, which made its debut nearly a decade ago, was the world’s first mass market battery-electric vehicle, or BEV. It was a revolutionary product at the time, though its relatively limited range and ho-hum performance required a fair amount of sacrifice. That has become all the more obvious as more powerful and longer-range models like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Tesla Models S, X and 3 have come to market.

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The Japanese automaker took a half-step forward two years ago, introducing a longer, if not quite long-range, second-generation version of the Leaf. Now, it is set to play in the same league as the Bolt, Model 3 and an assortment of other new BEVs set to roll into U.S. showrooms, the Leaf Plus boosting both range and power by about 50%. The question is whether it also will give much of a boost to Leaf sales. (more…)

Ghosn’s Lawyer Blasts Japanese Prosecutors, Nissan

“This should have been dealt with as an internal matter,” says lawyer known as “The Razor.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Feb.20, 2019

Former Nissan Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn's new lawyer is ready to shake up his defense efforts.

Ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s new lawyer hasn’t wasted any time going on the offensive, calling out not only the automaker that has accused the former exec of financial misdeeds, but also the prosecutors who have refused to release Ghosn on bail after three months in detention.

The 64-year-old Ghosn was arrested on Nov. 19, shortly after his corporate jet landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. He has been charged with several crimes, including the concealment of about $88 million in income. The allegations arose out of an internal investigation Nissan said was triggered by a whistleblower.

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“This should been dealt with as an internal matter,” Junichiro Hironaka said at a Wednesday media briefing in Tokyo. Hironaka is known as “the Razor” for his ability to help high-profile clients win acquittal in a country where prosecutors routinely win convictions in over 90% of their cases. (more…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Partnering With Google

Move marks beginning of post-Ghosn era.

by Joseph Szczesny on Feb.18, 2019

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is making plans with Waymo to find ways to exploit the ever-changing mobility world.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which is preparing to hang together in the post-Ghosn era, plans to join Google’s camp for developing autonomous taxis and other services using self-driving vehicles.

The automakers intend to work with Waymo, a Google spinoff that is among the leaders in technology for self-driving cars. The companies are in the final phase of talks, and plan to announce the arrangement as early as spring, according to a Japanese news service.

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The partnership would unite a car alliance whose global sales totaled 10.8 million automobiles in 2018 with a developer whose self-driving vehicles have traveled more than 10 million miles on U.S. public roads as of October. Waymo has forged similar deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover, but the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance boasts greater scale. (more…)

Shake-Up and Setback for Ghosn

Former Nissan chief cuts legal team; likely to lose Renault payout.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Feb.13, 2019

Carlos Ghosn fired his legal team, replacing them with a lawyer known as "the razor."

Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan chairman facing charges of financial corruption, has shaken up his legal team in an effort to reverse a series of setbacks that have resulted in his being held in solitary confinement in a Tokyo prison since last November.

Ghosn is replacing his lawyers with a new team led by a high-profile defense attorney known in Japan as “the razor,” for his ability to win acquittals in a number of high-profile cases. That’s relatively rare in Japan where prosecutors claim conviction rates of more than 90%.

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Separately, Renault is ready to scrap about $34 million in deferred pay and severance Ghosn stood to collect after tendering his resignation last month. Nissan’s French alliance partner is also expected to drop a two-year non-compete clause, which would free up Ghosn to join another automaker once released from Japanese prison, Reuters news service reported. (more…)

Ghosn Affair Hits Nissan’s Bottom Line, Along with Weak Sales

Automaker downgrades future earnings forecast.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Feb.12, 2019

Nissan is taking an $83.2 million charge against earnings due to the scandal surrounding Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan Motor Co. warned that its earnings for the fiscal year ending March 31, could be about the lowest the carmaker has seen in six years.

Nissan now expects to earn 410 billion yen, or $3.7 billion, for the fiscal year, a 45% year-over-year decline. It originally projected a 500 billion yen, or $4.5 billion profit.

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The second-largest of the Japanese automakers put most of the blame on sliding sales in the U.S. and China, its two largest markets. But it also revealed that it has logged an $83.2 million charge related to the scandal that began with the arrest last November of its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn. (more…)

Nissan Updates Rogue Sport for 2020

More technology and a more technical design.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Feb.07, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport gets a mid-cycle refresh on the exterior and interior.

Nissan is giving its Rogue Sport a more technical feel with the 2020 mid-cycle update, with updates to the crossover’s exterior and interior, along with the addition of new Safety Shield technologies.

Now in its second generation, the Rogue is “a critical vehicle” in the expanding Nissan crossover/SUV line-up, says Scott Shirley, vice president of marketing operations for Nissan North America, so what might seem like a modest mid-cycle update takes on significance for the Japanese automaker.

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“We’re committed to keeping our crossover/SUV portfolio fresh,” Shirley said, during the lead-up to the unveiling of the 2020 Rogue Sport at this week’s Chicago Auto Show media preview.

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