Friday, November 23, 2018

2022 Ghosn, Goin' Gone





So long, Carlos.  We figured you were too good to be true.  Maybe you were. Carlos Ghosn (rhymes with “bone,”) was the head of so many carmakers it was hard to keep track.  And now, he’s just another guy in handcuffs and doing a perp walk.

Of course, he’s presumed innocent.  At least in the US. But it sure looks bad.  Ghosn is charged in Japan for underreporting 40-some million dollars in earnings and income.

Ghosn well known for turning ailing nags in to win, place or show.  Nissan. Renault. Mitsubishi. And the alliance these three have formed and which is profitable.

Ghosn turned the impossible loser Nissan around. No one thought he could do that.  No one except GM and Ford which had tried to recruit him from Michelin Tires.  He created the world’s lowest price zero emissions car which is sold as both the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe.  Each has its own cosmetic peculiarities, but underneath the makeup, it’s basically the same car.

Before cell phones, it was nearly impossible to get hold of the guy.  He was always in the air.  Paris to middle Tennessee to Tokyo. Now, you could pick up a phone and dial his private line and it wouldn’t matter where he was, he’d answer.  Well … not NOW. Now he has the cell but not the phone.

There aren’t a lot of “car guys” left running car companies.  No Alfred Sloan or Bunky Knudsen, Lee Iacocca, Henry Ford, William Durant, Walter Chrysler, Bob Lutz or Sergio Marchionne.

In fact, the most prominent car guy isn’t a “guy” at all. She’s Mary Barra of GM.  And technically, Ghosn is still in the chair at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi-AutoVaz of Russia.

But probably not for long.  His lawyers say he’s cooperating with authorities.

If he actually is guilty, what would possess a brilliant and respected fellow like Ghosn do something like that?  We’re not talking here about rounding errors or clerical mistakes.  And while we’re talking about a really busy executive, it’s tough to throw the blame on his accountants or his multi-continental CPAs.  He hasn’t done that.  He won’t.

So, now the question is what happens to this troika Ghosn put together?  Nissan and Mitsubishi will replace him, at least temporarily.  Renault is a bit vague when it says it’s reviewing its leadership.  The three manufacturers are so financially enmeshed, they’re like conjoined triplets.  Separating them won’t be easy.

GRAPESHOT:
--Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving Day.

SHRAPNEL:
--The headline in the newspaper said this year’s Bear Harvest was much bigger than last year’s and that raises some questions. Where do they buy bear seeds, and if you plant them in a small pot, will they still grow to full size?

--Of course, maybe bears have a People Harvest. Mama bear goes next door to borrow a cup of sugar from her neighbor, Smokey.  That’s because Papa Bear is tired of the same old Oven Roasted Hunter every year and Baby Bear is at the point where he won’t eat anything without a sweetened glaze.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
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© WJR 2018


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