Talking to reporters last week, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said many consumers still don't have enough trust in electric-car technology to buy a Leaf or one of its competitors. But he says the auto maker's $5 billion bet on electric cars is still the way to go and that the Leaf's slow ramp "isn't going to shake the foundation of Nissan."
The strong yen could create a "hollowing out" of the Japanese manufacturing sector over time, says Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn. In the short run, Ghosn doesn't plan on plowing money into Japanese capacity, instead betting on Brazil and other emerging markets for mass production and locally for its Leaf electric car.
The Renault Nissan Alliance are preparing to open a research and development office across the street from Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters that will look to tap into Silicon Valley's engineering and technology braintrust. The company says it will staff up as projects dictate and focus on work related to its electric-car investments.
Nissan will use the Silicon Valley office to focus on vehicle IT research, including graphical user-interface displays, in-car Internet connectivity and smart-grid research. Nissan's "Carwings" telematics system, a standard in every Nissan LEAF, includes a seven-inch touchscreen with maps of recharging stations and real-time reports on energy consumption.
Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn told Bloomberg that less than 20 percent of its suppliers are still in critical condition following Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster in March (down from 40 percent). To prevent future production disruptions, the Japanese-based automaker will "ask second- and third-tier suppliers to implement 'alternate sourcing' of components, which they currently lack.
“If Nissan can go back to full production in October, that is fast,” said Tadashi Usui, an analyst at Moody’s K.K. in Tokyo. “The loss from the earthquake is smaller for Nissan as its domestic output level is only half of Toyota’s.”
Lipscomb University's Institute for Sustainable Practice last week recognized winners of its second annual Green Business Leadership Awards. The winners, listed below, were selected by a committee of five business and non-profit representatives from a statewide sustainable business roundtable.
• Community Servant of the Year: Mayor Karl Dean
• CEO of the Year: Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO, Nissan Motor Co.
• Green Product of the Year: Nissan Leaf electric car
• Public Official of the Year: State Sen. Andy Berke
• Southeast Regional Green Business Innovator: Tabitha Crawford, division president, Balfour Beatty Energy Solutions
• Tennessee Green Innovator: William Pomakoy, Rhodes Car International
• Sustainable Excellence by Design: Collier Construction of Chattanooga
• Sustainable Food Leader of the Year: Jeremy Barlow, owner of Tayst
• Green Service of the Year: Bobby Bandy, Earthsavers
• Sustainable Achiever of the Year: Tiffany Wilmot, president, Wilmot Inc.
Nor should we forget that 11 years ago, Renault similarly freed up a pile of cash and used it to buy a controlling interest in Japan's Nissan Motor Co. And ever since, Ghosn has had the unusual habit of doing pretty much everything he says he intends to do. Sell off Nissan's inefficient parts operations. Find a partner in Russia. Move upscale in Europe. Enter the electric vehicle business ...
"Europe is going through a tough period, and the United States is recovering well from the collapse that took place two years ago," Ghosn said.In June Nissan North America reported a more than 10 percent sales increase.
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