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Nissan Hopes To Electrify With Debut of IMs Concept

Detroit show car hints at expanded line-up of battery-electric vehicles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Nissan's IMs concept hits the Detroit Auto Show just after the company rolled out its longest-range Leaf ever.

Barely a week after unveiling the latest – and first truly long-range – version of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle, Nissan is offering a glimpse at where it is “imagining” its future in the form of the all-electric IMs “elevated sports sedan.”

The concept vehicle debuting at the North American International Auto Show pushes the envelope when it comes to three key trends: the shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. It also features a pure BEV drivetrain, a technology Nissan promises will dominate its line-up moving forward. The show car also adds autonomous driving capabilities. Add them together and, Nissan suggests, its future models will feature a distinctly different approach to design, as well.

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“Advances in electric vehicle technology and autonomous driving have allowed our designers to break free of the platform and packaging rules that constrain traditional passenger vehicles, to create a completely new type of car,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president for design at Nissan. “The IMs explores the limits of sedan design with an approach that elevates the category in both look and functionality.” (more…)

Nissan Shake-Up Claims First Victim: Former US CEO Muñoz

Is this the start of a “bloodbath” that will purge non-Japanese senior managers?

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.11, 2019

Jose Muñoz, Nissan's chief performance officer, parted ways with the automaker today.

José Muñoz, a widely respected Nissan executive and a protégé of ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn, is leaving the automaker just days after he reportedly took a leave of absence to deal with “special tasks.”

Muñoz, who had gone to Japan this week, was said to have resigned, according to Nissan, but several observers questioned whether his departure marks the beginning of a purge of senior managers linked to Ghosn. The 64-year-old executive was arrested on Nov. 19, and accused of a number of financial misdeeds, prosecutors on Friday indicting him for the second time.

Breaking News!

“José Muñoz has elected to resign from Nissan Motor Company, effective immediately,” Nissan said in a statement e-mailed to TheDetroitBureau.com. (more…)

Ghosn Indicted Again

This time Ghosn faces charges of “breach of trust,” as colleague Greg Kelly and Nissan also indicted.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.11, 2019

Former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, shown here in January 2018, reportedly has lost over 20 pounds while in detention.

Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been indicted again, this time on charged of breach of trust, a development that could again delay his release on bail.

The once-powerful executive has been held in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center since his arrest on November 19 and already faces charges related to claims he underreported his income by about $44 million between 2011 and 2015. Prosecutors are reportedly looking at other potential charges that arose from a months-long investigation conducted by Nissan.

Breaking News!

Ghosn, who claimed innocence during his first court hearing earlier this week, wasn’t the only one to face a legal setback on Friday. Prosecutors also laid out charges against the 64-year-old executive’s former colleague Greg Kelly, as well as Nissan itself.

(more…)

Nissan Boosts Range, Performance With New Leaf Plus

World’s best-selling battery-electric vehicle breaks 200-mile barrier.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.09, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus.

It’s been the world’s best-selling battery-vehicle since its introduction nearly a decade ago, but the Nissan Leaf had been losing ground as competitors like Tesla have rolled out an array of new competitors.

Now, the Japanese automaker is aiming to regain momentum with the introduction of a critical update to the battery-electric vehicle, the new Nissan Leaf Plus set to increase both range and performance by about 50 percent. That will position the five-door model, to be sold as the Leaf e+ in most other markets, as the latest BEV to top the 200-mile mark.

Stay Charged Up!

“This is a big psychological barrier,” said Denis LeVot, the CEO of Nissan North America, during the debut of the Leaf Plus at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Along with the improvement to Leaf’s traditionally anemic performance, he added, that should prove to potential buyers that “these are more than real cars.”

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Ousted Nissan Boss Ghosn Ready to Tell His Story in Court

“I think everyone will be rather surprised,” son says.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.07, 2019

Carlos Ghosn, former CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, will get his day in court tomorrow.

Seven weeks after his unexpected arrest, former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn will finally get a chance, albeit a brief one, to lay out his side of the story when he gets to address a court in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Having so far refused to sign a confession demanded by Japanese prosecutors, Ghosn is expected to assert his innocence and deny allegations of various financial wrongdoings during a 10-minute session. It will be the first time since the 64-year-old executive was arrested after landing at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Nov. 19, that he has been seen in public. He has since been held in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center.

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“For the first time, he can talk about his version of the allegations against him,” 24-year-old son Anthony Ghosn said in the interview with the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. “I think everyone will be rather surprised hearing his version of the story. Until now, we’ve only heard the accusers.” (more…)

Japanese Court Extends Ghosn’s Jail Time into New Year

Former Nissan Chief's custody extended until Jan. 11.

by Michael Strong on Dec.31, 2018

Carlos Ghosn has been ousted at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but Renault has only replaced him temporarily.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is going to ring in 2019 in the same way he ended 2018: behind bars, after the Tokyo District Court extended his detention 10 days until Jan. 11.

The 64-year-old Ghosn who, according to prosecutors, committed a number of financial crimes. These initially included under-reporting about $36 million in revenue through 2015, using company funds to acquire homes in Lebanon and Brazil. He’s been in custody since Nov. 19.

Global News!

Ghosn’s had additional charges filed against him since then with prosecutors alleging he shifted personal trades to Nissan to cover losses of 1.85 billion yen, or $16.6 million. They have also indicated they may bring charges for concealing income since 2015. (more…)

Nissan Exec Kelly Released; Ghosn Still in Tokyo Detention

Late-night release comes five weeks after arrest.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.26, 2018

Greg Kelly's wife told Japanese TV that she believes her husband is a victim of a Nissan power grab.

Greg Kelly, an ousted Nissan Motor Co. executive caught up in a financial corruption scandal, has been released on bail after being held for more than a month in the Tokyo Detention Center.

Kelly was arrested Nov. 19, immediately after arriving in Japan on a corporate jet. He accompanied Carlos Ghosn, then Nissan’s chairman, as well as the head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Ghosn, who is at the center of the scandal, will remain in detention until at least Jan. 1.

Global News!

Prosecutors had also attempted to keep Kelly in custody, arguing he is a flight risk. The court ultimately ruled that he could be released on bail of 70 million yen, or $636,000. The American executive must also abide by restrictions on his movement. (more…)

Shifting Market, Declining Sales Force Nissan to Cut Production, Jobs in Mexico

Automaker wants to “maintain production in line with demand.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.21, 2018

A new Sentra on the Nissan assembly plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Poor sales of the Sentra and other Nissan cars are the reason for 1,000 layoffs.

Facing declining demand in the North American market, as well as other headwinds, Nissan confirmed it will cut production at two Mexican assembly plants and lay off about 1,000 workers “over the next several months.”

Layoffs have already begun at the Nissan plant in Aguascalientes that produces models such as the Sentra sedan for the Mexican domestic market, as well as for the U.S. and other export markets, Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman told TheDetroitBureau.com.

The Last Word!

“We’ve seen a decline in sales in Mexico, which is one of the driving forces, as is an overall decline in North American sales,” said Brockman. (more…)

Hit With New Charges, Ghosn to Remain in Tokyo Jail

Additional charges could follow as prosecutors push to retain exec in custody.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.21, 2018

Nissan's one-time CEO Carlos Ghosn could face 20 years or more in prison with the new charges.

Barely a day after a Japanese court took steps that could have led to the release of Carlos Ghosn from a detention center in Tokyo, prosecutors have taken steps that will ensure the former Nissan chairman will be spending Christmas behind bars.

The 64-year-old executive, along with former Nissan colleague Greg Kelly, were arrested on November 19 and accused of a series of financial misdeeds, formal charges being announced last week. Now, however, Ghosn has been rearrested, prosecutors accusing him of breach of trust, a move that means they can hold him in the Tokyo Detention Centre for at least another 10 days. And further charges could follow, according to reports from Japan.

Breaking News!

Prosecutors said Friday that Ghosn alleged transferred losses from a private investment to Nissan, a move that reportedly saved him more than $16 million. The accusations also cover what prosecutors say was the transfer of another $14.7 million that benefited Ghosn and a Saudi Arabian citizen who helped create a fake contract.

(more…)

Former Nissan Chairman Ghosn Could Soon Leave Tokyo Jail

Japanese court decision could mean bail before corruption trial.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.20, 2018

Carlos Ghosn could be released from a Tokyo jail before the end of the year with a new court ruling.

Carlos Ghosn, the jailed former chairman of Nissan, could see the light of day for the first time in more than a month following a Tokyo court decision not to extend his detention on financial corruption charges.

The 64-year-old executive, who had been serving as head of both Nissan and French alliance partner Renault prior to his arrest on Nov. 19, has been in solitary confinement in the Tokyo Detention Center. Prosecutors initially held Ghosn for 10 days under Japanese law, extending that prior to bringing charges on Dec. 10. They were rejected when asking the court to allow them to continue holding the executive and Nissan board member Greg Kelly, Ghosn’s alleged accomplice.

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It’s not clear when Ghosn and Kelly might be released, nor whether prosecutors will appeal, the decision. Even if given bail they would not be allowed to leave Japan and their alleged financial misconduct could eventually result in up to 10 years in prison if convicted. (more…)