Careful For What You Wish For, France: If Pushed, Ghosn Might Go

Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

It’s a hallowed industry tradition: Every six months or so, the media, led by Japan’s Nikkei, and with Bloomberg as the runner-up, speculates that Carlos Ghosn might retire as CEO of Nissan, Renault, or both, never mind that it never happens. Ghosn routinely resorts to a standard repartee, repeated like clockwork whenever a reporter brings up the question of Ghosn stepping down: “My plan is to continue to lead the Alliance as long as I have the trust of my shareholders.”

Last week, a hairline crack in the heretofore unconditional shareholder trust emerged.

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Warburton declares French Renaissance. Could be followed by a revolution.

Dacia-Logan-France-March-2014-Picture courtesy

For a while, yours truly has been monitoring the impressive gains of Renault’s affordable Dacia line in a still difficult (albeit slowly mending) European market. Now, Max Warburton of Bernstein Research sees Dacia as the centerpiece of a “French Renaissance” in Europe. “VW’s relentless gains seem to have come to a halt,” writes the analyst. “The French appear to have stopped losing share – Renault has been a big gainer this year and PSA is also showing some positive signs.” [Continue Reading]

The giant in hiding

Un - deux - trois

Un – deux – trois

Each year, the world’s top automakers scrounge up every last car they find in their spreadsheets to win the world’s most brutal car race: The one for World’s Largest Automaker. Officially, they don’t really mean it, officially, they say it’s a morale booster for the employees at best, but in the privacy of their offices, they all take it darn seriously. All, except one: The Nissan-Renault Alliance. It’s a giant in hiding. [Continue Reading]

Datsun’s redi-GO CONCEPT is not a concept, and the news aren’t new

It's the real thing

It’s the real thing

Today, Nissan’s Datsun unveiled the Datsun redi-GO CONCEPT at the Delhi Auto Show. Nissan coyly calls  it “a look into Datsun’s possible future” – as if it wouldn’t be clear that this is Nissan’s entry model that will be launched in 2015 at a price sure to disrupt emerging car markets. [Continue Reading]

The Facebook Wars, Detroit vs Detroit, rich against poor: Should Indians be allowed to drive cars, or told to take a walk?

Jamie in a new life, vs. Rachel in a former life

Jamie in a new life, vs. Rachel in a former life

I have been asked repeatedly why the Daily Kanban doesn’t let readers post comments under our articles. Smooth Ed Niedermeyer already gave the diplomatic answer, namely “that tending to a comment section rapidly becomes as much work as writing and research, and both Bertel and I would rather keep focused on our work.” My curmudgeonly answer is that we have our reasons, namely that, after both editing TTAC full time, we are tired of being subverted by clumsy flacks, we no longer want to tell grown men not to behave like children, and that there are better venues to have a discussion than under an article.  A great place is Facebook. And just now on Facebook, there is a prime example of a spirited, yet civilized and high level discussion.  The topic has all the ingredients for a 5 alarm flame war:  Zillions of cars in India, killer smog, pedestrians run over by speeding cars,  squandering of resources, real drop-outs (from Detroit!) against real PR chiefs (in Paris, but from Detroit!) Have at it!
[Continue Reading]

This little Datsun is the car to watch – ultra low cost car to be shown in Delhi in February for a 2015 market launch


Something like that.

Something like that.

Successfully building a small car with big sales is one of the last adventures in the Industrial Age. It needs to be planned, executed and financed better than Magellan’s circumnavigation of the Earth. It is a perilous journey, as many old and new wrecks attest.

Today, Nissan’s reconstituted Datsun brand released a first sketch of an unnamed “new Datsun concept car, which will have its world premiere at Delhi Auto Expo.” That’s about the extent of Datsun’s cryptic communique. So here a little fill-in-the blanks.
[Continue Reading]

Iran Auto industry Conference: France Goes Back Alone?

China goes where others fear to tread...

China goes where others fear to tread…

In the leadup to last weekend’s Auto Industry International Conference in Tehran, organizers boasted that nearly every nation would be represented, including “France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Britain, China, India, Czech Republic, South Korea, Spain, Egypt, Switzerland and Denmark.” In the extended [sic] of one recent official press release, “US automakers are better not to miss the opportunity.”

But miss it they apparently have, along with all the non-French global majors.

[Continue Reading]

Le Comeback: Renault returns to America, under Mitsubishi cover

Le Car - Picture courtesy

Renault hasn’t sold cars in the U.S. since the post-disco-era and the sale of AMC to Chrysler. Renault cars are about to return to the Promised Land, albeit in Mitsubishi mufti.

[Continue Reading]