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automotive industry disruption Leadership LED Lighting Ludwig Boltzmann Symposia science VC

Shuji Nakamura on 2nd and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting

Shuji Nakamura’s invention to save energy corresponding to about 60 nuclear power stations by 2020

2nd and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting

For Shuji Nakamura’s invention of high-efficiency GaN double-heterostructure LEDs he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2014, while his employer sued him in the USA for leaking intellectual property – Shuji Nakamura won this court case, and his employer lost the case. To defend himself and his family, Shuji Nakamura countersued in Japan, and the Japanese court awarded Shuji a substantial award in a settlement. Shuji shared some insights into the comparison of IP lawsuits in US vs Japan with us at the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum.

Shuji moved to the University of California Santa Barbara, and is now building the company Soraa in Silicon Valley with investments from major US VC funds. Soraa may already be or is likely to be soon much bigger in value than Shuji’s previous Japanese employer. Soraa develops 2nd and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting products.

Energy savings corresponding to 60 nuclear power stations by 2020

The global lighting revolution triggered by Shuji Nakamura’s inventions leads to energy savings corresponding to 60 nuclear power stations by 2020 – 60 nuclear power stations less will need to be built than without Shuji Nakamura’s inventions.

2nd Generation and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting

With his venture company Soraa, Shuji is now working on 2nd Generation Solid State Lighting (GaN on GaN substrates) and 3rd Generation Solid State Lighting (laser lighting, which allows much higher light density), and which is already in use for car headlights.

Why squeeze Nobel Prize winner Shuji Nakamura into a top-down narrative?

Shuji Nakamura showed with a long list of newspaper clippings, TV show extracts, and Japanese Government agency announcements that he is being squeezed into a top-down innovation narrative, which is at odds with the findings of the Nobel Prize Committee of the Swedish Academy of Science.

Shuji Nakamura asks why he is being squeezed retrospectively into a top-down innovation narrative.

The truth is that most real innovation is bottom-up and disruptive, not government planned and top-down.

At the 8th Ludwig Boltzmann Forum we had intense discussions between Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado, Professor Makoto Suematsu, Nobel Prize Winner Shuji Nakamura, Professor Nomura, JST-President Michinari Hamaguchi, and several other Japanese technology and R&D leaders.

Read a summary of Shuji Nakamura’s talk here.

Copyright (c) 2016 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

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automotive industry disruption Leadership M&A

Was Osamu Suzuki first to understand Volkswagen’s Diesel issues?

Osamu Suzuki: “we looked at Wagen’s technologies, and could not find anything we need” (Nikkei, 1 July 2011)

by Gerhard Fasol

Did Volkswagen underestimate Mr Suzuki?

Over the last 18 years myself and our company have worked on many foreign-Japanese company partnerships, therefore we always have great interest in business partnerships involving Japanese companies, and have followed the Volkswagen-Suzuki relationship closely.

We published two blog articles after the ICC Arbitration Court issues judgement sealing the Suzuki-Volkswagen divorce, and before we became aware of the Volkswagen Diesel issues:

When I was asked to brief German President Horst Köhler on April 3, 2005 about Japan’s technology sector, my advice included the following:

Interaction with Japan enforced total restructuring of leading US companies, including INTEL and MOTOROLA. According to my knowledge, there are almost no European companies yet which were forced to totally restructure their business due to interaction with Japan. I feel that this may happen in the future.

Volkswagen could be a candidate now, although US agencies and courts are now primary actors, Suzuki’s role may not be negligible.

Volkswagen had already lost out against Suzuki, and Suzuki’s CEO Mr Osamu Suzuki in the 1980s when India started to build an Indian automotive industry. India had considered to build India’s car industry based on Volkswagen’s Beatle, but decided to go with Mr Osamu Suzuki instead. Maruti Suzuki India Limited (マルチ・スズキ・インディア) achieved 45% market share in India’s passenger car market in 2014. Suzuki Motors owns 54% of Maruti Suzuki, and Mr Osamu Suzuki is greatly respected as Japan’s No. 1 top India expert.

When Mr Osamu Suzuki entered into the Maruti Suzuki India Joint-Venture, he reportedly insisted to have 100% decision making and management rights in the Joint-Venture.

Links between the Suzuki-Volkswagen and the Volkswagen Diesel issues time lines.

We can see interesting links in the time lines of the Suzuki-Volkswagen relationship and the Volkswagen Diesel issues:

Time line of events relevant to the Suzuki Volkswagen relationship

  • 16 Nov 1970: “Maruti technical services private limited” (MTSPL) to create an Indian automobile industry, first CEO: Sanjay Gandhi. Sanjay Gandhi contacted Volkswagen AG to seek a cooperation to produce an Indian version of the VW Käfer (Beatle). However, a cooperation with Volkswagen did not work out. The company failed in 1977, and was reborn as Maruti Udyog Ltd by Dr V. Krishnamurthy.
  • 1982: Maruti Udyog Ltd and Suzuki entered into a licensing and joint venture agreement, creating Maruti Suzuki India Limited (マルチ・スズキ・インディア), which in 2014 achieved a 45% market share of India’s passenger car market.
  • 20 0ctober 2005: Suzuki and FIAT announce a partnership on FIAT’s Diesel engines (see: Suzuki announcement)
  • 6 March 2006: Suzuki and GM announce the reduction of GM’s stake in Suzuki from 20% to 3%, strongly reducing the GM holding in Suzuki, which had started in August 1981. (see: Suzuki announcement)
  • 9 Dec 2009: VW-CEO Martin Winterkorn and Suzuki-CEO Osamu Suzuki announced the “comprehensive partnership” at a press conference in Tokyo (see: joint Suzuki Volkswagen press announcement)
  • 9 Dec 2009: Suzuki transferred 107,950,000 treasury shares to Volkswagen AG, valued approx at 226,695,000,000 yen (= approx. US$ 2.3 billion)
  • 15 Jan 2010: VW purchased 19.89% of Suzuki shares for about € 1.7 billion
  • March 2011: Volkswagen writes in the annual report that Volkswagen “significantly influence financial and operating policy decisions” at Suzuki
  • 1 July 2011: Osamu Suzuki publicly airs his frustrations with “Wagen-san’s” intentions in his Japanese language blog in Japan’s Nikkei “スズキとワーゲンの今とこれから (鈴木修氏の経営者ブログ)” (“Suzuki and Wagen now and the way forward”) (may need Nikkei subscription)
  • Sept 2011: Suzuki’s Board decides to terminate the partnership
  • 18 Nov 2011: Suzuki gives notice to Volkswagen of termination of partnership, Volkswagen does not reply (says Suzuki)
  • 24 Nov 2011: Suzuki files for arbitration at International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in London
  • 2013-2014: The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) conducts a research project in collaboration with the West Virginia University to determine real world, away from test rigs, emissions from diesel cars in the USA. Project leader is John German. ICCT tests a VW Jetta, a VW Passat, and a BMW X5, and finds that in real world driving conditions, the VW Jetta exceeds the US-EPA Tier2-Bin5 Nix (Nitrogen Oxide) emission standards by 15 to 35 times, the VW Passat by 5 to 20 times, while the BMW X5 generally conformed to the standards except in extreme conditions. The fact that the BMW X5 conforms to the standard for the ICCT was proof that the technology to conform existed. (see: ICCT announcement)
  • 30 Aug 2015: ICC Arbitration Court issues judgement and holds the termination of the partnership valid, orders VW to sell all Suzuki shares back to Suzuki (or a 3rd party selected by Suzuki), and orders Suzuki to pay damages for breaking the agreement
  • 17 Sep 2015 8:45am: Suzuki purchases back 119,787,000 of its own shares previously owned by VW via Tokyo Stock Exchange ToSTNeT-3 system for 460,281,547,500 yen (approx. US$ 3.9 billion), completing the termination of the partnership and capital alliance with VW
  • 18 September 2015: Press announcement by The ICCT “EPA’s notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen
  • 18 September 2015: EPA notice of violation to Volkswagen (See: EPA announcement), EPA website concerning Volkswagen
  • 18 September 2015: California Air Resources Board (CARB) letter to Volkswagen, “Re: Admission of Defeat Device and California Air Resources Board’s Request”
  • 26 Sep 2015: Suzuki announced the transaction to sell all 4,397,000 Volkswagen shares which Suzuki owns to Porsche Automobile Holding SE, completing the termination of the partnership and capital alliance with VW

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) study on real-world exhaust emissions from modern diesel cars

The ICCT noted that there is a wide discrepancy in emissions by cars under test conditions and in real live road driving conditions, and conducted the project on real-world exhaust emissions from modern diesel cars.

The report can be dowloaded here as a pdf file: “REAL-WORLD EXHAUST EMISSIONS FROM MODERN DIESEL CARS

“In-Use Emissions Testing of Light-Duty Diesel Vehicles in the United States”

The ICCT contracted with the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions (CAFEE) at West Virginia University to test the real road emissions of three cars in the USA. This study is explained on the ICCT website “In-use emissions testing of light-duty diesel vehicles in the U.S.”

The final report can be downloaded here: “Final Report: In-Use Emissions Testing of Light-Duty Diesel Vehicles in the United States. by Dr. Gregory J. Thompson (Principal Investigator)“.

Copyright (c) 2015 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
automotive industry Corporate Governance Leadership M&A

Mr. Suzuki didn’t want to be a Volkswagen employee, and that’s understandable (Prof. Dudenhoeffer via Bloomberg)

Mr Suzuki (Chairman of Suzuki Motors), wrote in his Japanese blog, that “ending the partnership with Volkswagen (Wagen-san as he calls VW) was like the relieve I feel after having a fishbone stuck in my throat removed”

No partnership works without meeting of minds, with opposite agendas and colliding expectations

by Gerhard Fasol, All Rights Reserved. 20 September 2015, updated 27 September 2015

VW Volkswagen Suzuki
VW Volkswagen Suzuki

Suzuki Volkswagen – bottom line first:

  • Volkswagen wanted Suzuki more than Suzuki needed Volkswagen
  • Suzuki-CEO Osamu Suzuki: “we looked at Wagen’s technologies, and could not find anything we need” (Osamu Suzuki’s blog in Nikkei, in Japanese language)
  • Volkswagen underestimated Suzuki’s strength and resolve, and didn’t do the required homework
  • Volkswagen overestimated its own leverage on the opposite side of the world from Wolfsburg
  • Partners with opposite agendas and colliding expectations, without communication and no homework can’t partner
  • Its not about “cultural differences”. Not at all.

On 9 December 2009 a beaming Martin Winterkorn (VW-CEO) was celebrating the new “comprehensive partnership” with Suzuki Motors, and Osamu Suzuki, the 79 year old CEO of Suzuki, was looking the other way, avoiding Mr Winterkorn’s eyes – as you can see in Reuters’ photograph of the occasion.

Reuters reported, that Mr Osamu Suzuki was asked how he would feel about a German CEO of Suzuki Motors in the future, and his answer was unambiguous: Mr Suzuki emphatically stated that Suzuki will not become a 12th brand for Volkswagen, and that he does not want anybody to tell him what to do.

Wall Street Journal reported, that Suzuki and Volkswagen would negotiate details in the weeks or months to come. We now know that these negotiations did not lead anywhere, and were never concluded satisfactorily.

It is obvious that there never was any “meeting of minds”, the expectations were colliding, and the CEOs had not a single language in common in which they could talk directly. At the press conference they looked away from each other.

Osamu Suzuki airs his frustrations with “Wagen-san” in his Japanese language blog in Nikkei – the world’s largest business daily

Mr Suzuki (Chairman of Suzuki Motors), wrote in his Japanese blog, that “ending the partnership with Volkswagen (Wagen-san as he calls VW) was like the relieve I feel after having a fishbone stuck in my throat removed”

On 1 July 2011, Suzuki-CEO Osamu Suzuki informs the world about his frustrations about “Wagen” (ワーゲン), via a blog post “スズキとワーゲンの今とこれから (鈴木修氏の経営者ブログ)” (english translation: “Suzuki and Wagen now and the way forward”). Osamu Suzuki’s blog post can be read here (may need Nikkei subscription).

Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, Director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University Duisburg-Essen according to Bloomberg, summarized: “Mr Suzuki didn’t want to be a Volkswagen employee, and that’s understandable”.

VW’s reply: “The tail is not going to wag the dog” (VW-CEO Winterkorn cited in Der Spiegel on 19 Sept 2011)

Germany’s leading intellectual and business weekly Der Spiegel on 19 Sept 2011 quotes VW-CEO Martin Winterkorn about the VW-Suzuki relationship: “Da wackelt der Schwanz nicht mit dem Hund” (the tail is not going to wag the dog, which I guess has the meaning that Mr Winterkorn perceived Suzuki Motors as the junior partner who cannot have any independent power in a relationship with Volkswagen).

Suzuki Volkswagen alliance time line

  • 9 Dec 2009: VW-CEO Martin Winterkorn and Suzuki-CEO Osamu Suzuki announced the “comprehensive partnership” at a press conference in Tokyo
  • 9 Dec 2009: Suzuki transferred 107,950,000 treasury shares to Volkswagen AG, valued approx at 226,695,000,000 yen (= approx. US$ 2.3 billion)
  • 15 Jan 2010: VW purchased 19.89% of Suzuki shares for about € 1.7 billion
  • 1 July 2011: Osamu Suzuki publicly airs his frustrations with “Wagen-san’s” intentions in his Japanese language blog in Japan’s Nikkei “スズキとワーゲンの今とこれから (鈴木修氏の経営者ブログ)” (“Suzuki and Wagen now and the way forward”) (may need Nikkei subscription)
  • Sept 2011: Suzuki’s Board decides to terminate the partnership
  • 18 Nov 2011: Suzuki gives notice to Volkswagen of termination of partnership, Volkswagen does not reply (says Suzuki)
  • 24 Nov 2011: Suzuki files for arbitration at International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in London
  • 30 Aug 2015: ICC Arbitration Court issues judgement and holds the termination of the partnership valid, orders VW to sell all Suzuki shares back to Suzuki (or a 3rd party selected by Suzuki), and orders Suzuki to pay damages for breaking the agreement
  • 17 Sep 2015 8:45am: Suzuki purchases back 119,787,000 of its own shares previously owned by VW via Tokyo Stock Exchange ToSTNeT-3 system for 460,281,547,500 yen (approx. US$ 3.9 billion), completing the termination of the partnership and capital alliance with VW
  • 26 Sep 2015: Suzuki announced the transaction to sell all 4,397,000 Volkswagen shares which Suzuki owns to Porsche Automobile Holding SE, completing the termination of the partnership and capital alliance with VW

A teachable moment

  • “Comprehensive partnership” without meeting of minds does not work
  • Partnerships are hard when CEOs on both sides don’t have any language in common, thus can’t talk to each other – and have exactly opposite expectations from the start and don’t address them until its too late
  • Processes and methods successful in Europe or USA often don’t work in Japan
  • Its not about “cultural differences”. Not at all.
  • Its about trust, respect, communication and “meeting of minds”, shared (not opposite) expectations and agendas.
  • Speaking at least one language in common helps.
  • more details and analysis here

Financial aspects

  • VW made approx. US$ 1.3 billion profit on the Suzuki shares it owned from 2009-2015
  • Suzuki broke even approximately on selling own treasury stock to VW and repurchasing the same shares back from VW a few days ago, and on temporarily owning 2.5% of VW, but still may have to pay compensation to VW.
  • Read detailed financial analysis here.

During the period 2009-2015 both VW and also Suzuki share prices increased substantially. The reason that VW made substantial financial profits from the VW-Suzuki share transactions, while Suzuki did not, is that Suzuki used 1/2 of the proceeds of selling Suzuki treasury stock to VW for R&D, thus had a much smaller holding of VW shares than VW did of Suzuki shares.

With cash reserves of approx. US$ 8 billion Suzuki will be just fine, and can now focus on expanding Maruti-Suzuki’s 37% market share of India’s passenger car market and other exciting growth projects.

And Volkswagen can now focus on growth markets, and Toyota – and other very pressing issues.

Copyright (c) 2015 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
automotive industry

Carlos Ghosn: the four global socio-economic mega-trends reshaping the auto industry

The Way Ahead; Trends Reshaping the Auto Industry

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault, Nissan and the Renault-Nissan Alliance

The Renault-Nissan Alliance was started on March 27, 1999 with Renault acquiring 36.8% of outstanding Nissan shares, and with Nissan acquiring 15% of Renault later in 2001. Chronological details can be found in the EU-Japan Direct Investment Register.

Carlos Ghosn speaks at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) as President and CEO of Nissan Motor Company Limited

On July 17, 2014, Carlos Ghosn spoke as President and CEO of Nissan Motor Company at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) in Tokyo, we summarize his talk here in this article.

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance

Nissan leads innovation and brings new technologies to market:

Nissan has made great progress to make driving easier, safer and more environmentally friendly.

Nissan to bring autonomous drive vehicles to market before 2020.

Nissan Leaf has become the leading zero emission vehicle by a large margin.

Four major socio-economic megatrends reshape the automotive industry

Innovation and new technologies allow Nissan to address the four global socio-economic megatrends:

  1. Rise of global megacities: increases the need to ease congestion, reduce emissions, improve traffic management
  2. Need for in-car communications: must satisfy the needs of the connected, digital generation. Our vehicles must be as connected as smart phones and tablets
  3. Aging society: need to bridge the generation gap. Seniors need technologies to drive safely until later age.
  4. Must embrace gender diversity: must respect the role women play as consumer purchasers, as decision makers, managers and leaders throughout the car industry

Nissan is determined to innovate in each of these areas and by developing new technologies, Nissan aims to address the opportunities created by these four major megatrends.

1. Rise of global megacities

Today 30 cities of more than 10 million people, including Tokyo, Osaka, Beijing, Shanghai, Sao Paolo, Mexico, Mumbai. Number of megacities will reach more than 50 by 2030, with 1/3 being in China. With the rise of mega-cities in China, it is not surprising that China increases support for electrical vehicles to reduce pollution. China aims that 30% of Government vehicles are electric, and to eliminate sales tax on all electric vehicles.

20% of CO2 emissions come from transport, therefore automotive industry must be part of the solution.

Nissan introduces ENV200 electric vans in Europe and later this autumn here in Japan. Electric vans have the potential to change the cost economics of fleet management.

Autonomous driving can help to reduce pollution and congestion

Nissan is seeking regulatory changes and consumer adoption to make autonomous driving a reality. Nissan seeks workable regulatory standards.

Automatic lane changing and automated parking can increase convenience and safety.

Difference between autonomous driving and self driving cars

Autonomous drive is about relieving drivers of repetitive tasks, particularly in congested or long-distance situations, while the driver remains in the drivers seat and control.

Self driving cars don’t require human intervention, and remain a long way from commercial reality. Only suitable for tightly controlled environments at slow speeds, and face a regulatory minefield.

Nissan focuses on autonomous drive systems that can be introduced over 4-5 years.

Nissan’s timeline until 2020 for the introduction of autonomous drive systems:

  • end of 2016:
    1. traffic jam pilot for congested highways,
    2. fully automated parking systems
  • by 2017 expect parking to be fully automated
  • 2018: multiple lane controls, allow cars to circumvent obstacles and change lanes
  • before 2020: intersection autonomy, navigate city cross roads without driver intervention

2. Connected car

Deploying “Nissan Connect” system with bluetooth, apps, cloud base systems.

Nissan expects more than 1.5 Million Nissan cars to be connection to enhanced communications by 2015, using cloud systems, delivering access to social media, entertainment apps and voice recognition systems.

3. Aging population

Last year introduced 22 new technologies alone.

4. Gender diversity

Must serve the women customer base and employ women talent.

Women control 65% of consumer spending overall, and women make the final decision on the purchase of more than 60% of cars.

In the past the vast majority of Nissan employees were men – while 60% of car purchase decisions are made by women! This means that Nissan was missing out on many business opportunities by having an overwhelmingly male workforce and management.

In Japan, 7% of Nissan’s managers are women, more than double the average for large Japanese manufacturers, in the past the ratio at Nissan of women in management was 3%, so we have already increased the ratio. Aim to increase the ratio of women managers to 10% by 2017. More women managers ensure that women take part in product management and planning – this is important since the majority of purchase decisions are taken by women.

Nissan has a program to make dealerships more woman friendly.

Carlos Ghosn – watch on YouTube here:

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance

Carlos Ghosn – Question and answers

Q: vision for Google’s Android system

Carlos Ghosn: autonomous driving and self driving is very important, and every major car manufacturer is working with Google. Every car manufacturer wants to keep control of its own products. Car makers do not want to become just maker of simple hardware, but wants to control the products.

A baby born today has a 50% chance to live longer than 100 years, on average people lose their drivers license sometime around 80 years age. Therefore technology has to change, and technology can help older generation to stay mobile for a longer time.

Q: what is your favorite exchange rate

Carlos Ghosn: I have always been consistent, that US$ 1 = YEN 100 is neutral. We don’t want to have a handicap from the exchange rate. An exchange rate of 100 is perfect to allow us to do our job. YEN/$ = 100 is a neutral position

Q: do you intend to go into politics and become President of Lebanon?

Carlos Ghosn: Very low probability. I am being accused of accumulating too many jobs. I have just been renewed for another period of four years as CEO of Renault by the shareholder meeting in May 2014. I can make my best contributions where I am now.

Q: to you prioritize profit margin or market share? what is your strategy for emerging markets? what are your problems in global platforms?

Carlos Ghosn: Power 88 = 8% profit margin, 8% global market share. Profit enables growth.

We go to every emerging market. Leadership must begin in emerging markets. We are No. 1 Japanese brand in China. We are aiming to become No. 1 Japanese brand in Russia, in Europe and in South America, particularly in Brazil.

We are fighting to become the 2nd brand in Japan.

Growth without profit will not last. Without profit we cannot grow, we cannot invest.

The long term trend counts. To understand what Nissan is doing you must look at the long-term trend:

  • Nissan in 1999: 2.4 million cars, 2 Trillion Yen debt
  • Nissan in 2014: 5.2 million cars sold, 1 Trillion cash, presence in twice as many countries

We are creating joint platforms with Renault, Daimler, Mitsubishi, and Ashok Leyland in India.

We are the only company which is successful and productive with alliances. What counts are not handshakes of top management in front of cameras, but the actual platforms and cooperation projects we deliver.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is a world champion in alliances.

The automotive industry today is an industry of scale. The largest players are the most competitive and have the highest profits.

I am not saying that this will always be like this, this could change. But today the automotive industry is an industry of scale, where to be successful we must offer a large range of products in different product segments.

Success for small automotive companies is very difficult, they have to offer a extremely special, hugely attractive model to compete.

Q: any comments about your salary

Carlos Ghosn: What is the question about my salary? The question about my salary comes up regularly at every shareholder meeting and is a kind of ritual. We follow systematic principles. Nissan is in search for global talent.

As example the head of Infinity last week left us for Cadillac. There is a global fight for talent, remuneration should not be a handicap but an asset.

I have no discretion on the market for talent.

We take into account the efficiency of the company, and also local sensitivities, but we have to be competitive. We cannot say: “we need this expert, but we cannot pay him”.

We have YEN 1 trillion cash and we are making US$ 6-7 billion profit – saying “we want this talent no matter what” is a sign of vigor and vitality.

We will see more and more global professional talent in Japan with established record.

Q: Why is it important to have women in all roles of leadership, and do you have examples

Carlos Ghosn: I support the Japanese Government in aiming for more women in management.

Concerning Nissan: 60% of all car buyers are women, and what women are looking for in a car is very different to what men are looking for. Therefore women need to have a strong role in designing cars. We need female designers, female engineers, female marketers. Women in decision making positions is not optional but mandatory.

  • 80% of women going to a car dealer want to have a woman sales person, 20% don’t care.
  • 50% of men prefer a woman, 50% prefer a man sales person.

Therefore logically, we should have lots of women sales people in our stores, at least 50%. However, at present we only have about 15% women sales people in our stores. This is not logical and must change.

Q: Green cars?

Carlos Ghosn: I believe electric cars are most important, and US and China will lead. Infrastructure investments and the speed of development for infrastructure are an issue.

Infrastructure is a much bigger challenge for fuel cell cars than for electric cars. Selling 500-1000 cars is not the issue, 100,000 – 200,000 is the issue.

Q: Is there friction between Nissan’s mono tsukuri culture, and Renault’s freedom to work less?

Carlos Ghosn: The two companies contribute together. Both companies have successes. Renault has a very big success with the Dacia platform, the M-1 platform, is selling more than 1 million cars, and is unique. Renault also has a very strong mono tsukuri culture.

As another example, Renault will now move into China on the basis of Nissan’s business platform in China. Renault will copycat Nissan’s plans of building business in China.

Q: Departure of Nissan Infiniti Chief Johan de Nysschen, and search for successor:

Carlos Ghosn: we have a global fight for talent. 49% of Nissan’s top management have 13 different citizenships. Its not that 49% are all French. Diversity is out strength. There is war for talent, and that is normal.

We have to accept that some talent leaves us when the mission is finished. We have people dedicated on searching for global talent all the time. You can be sure that this job will be soon filled again.

Q: electrical car charging infrastructure:

Carlos Ghosn: it is in our interest to have the highest number of electrical cars. We are pushing towards standardized charging infrastructure. We all want to promote zero emission cars.

Q: Tesla has made patents free: will you use Tesla’s patents?

Carlos Ghosn: we are first in electrical cars, we have enough patents, we have no reason not to use Tesla’s patents, but we don’t.

Q: conflict between growth and quality issues

Carlos Ghosn: The most important is to take any problem immediately out of the hands of the consumer. That is why we see more recalls recently. First we recall and take the problem away from the consumer, and then we solve the problem.

We have an Executive Vice-President for consumer satisfaction and quality, who has full power to reduce all risks on quality.

Q: you want to increase the ratio of women in management to 10% by 2017, and Prime-Minister Abe wants 30% women in management by 2020.

Carlos Ghosn: I am very modest, and Prime Minister Abe is very ambitious. I do not want a burst of women in management with failures afterwards. I want to advance safely without massacres. I am prudent and conservative.

We had less than 2% of woman managers, today we have a solid 7%, and I want to go a solid 10% of woman managers. I don’t want a “flavor of the day”, I want solid stable progress.

Q: how does your strategy regarding autonomous driving differ from your competitors?

Carlos Ghosn: we do not know what our competitors are doing. Everyone moves to autonomous driving, because consumers want:

  • drivers want more time
  • drivers want more pleasant time

We want to be the pioneers, the battle is to be first and to associate the image of being No. 1 to the brand. We are not aiming to be late with a more perfect product, we want to be first with significant autonomous driving features.

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Renault, and the Renault-Nissan Alliance

Copyright (c) 2014 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved