Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Discusses Disruption In Automotive Industy – Keynote Video

1 year ago by Eric Loveday 27

Ghosn's Keynote In New York

Ghosn’s Keynote In New York

In his latest LinkedIn Influencer post, Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn discussed “disruption” in the automotive industry.

Ghosn’s LinkedIn post is actually an excerpt from his full keynote speech at the opening of the New York International Auto Show. The speech is now available in full via the video posted above.

Below you’ll find the LinkedIn post penned by Ghosn:

Disruption in the auto industry: It’s time to embrace the change

In his latest LinkedIn Influencer post, Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn addresses the issue of “disruption” in the auto industry and competitors who promise a new approach to what a car can be. The LinkedIn post is excerpted from a keynote speech Ghosn gave at the opening of the New York International Auto Show on March 23.

If you have read some of the recent commentary on the auto industry, you could get the impression that it’s headed into a long, stormy, uneasy winter.

There’s been a lot of talk about “disruption,” about new competitors who promise a new approach to what a car can be.

Much of this unease over potential disruption has resulted from the rapid emergence of new technologies and “mobility services” – all of which are competing to establish a new vision of our industry’s future. In addition, these technologies are developing at a speed unfamiliar to our industry.

Whether we’re talking about Autonomous Drive and connected vehicle technologies, ride-sharing services, or alternative propulsion technologies, the fact is, nobody in the industry knows for certain which will become mainstream.

Companies can make some educated guesses and calculated bets – and we have – but in the end customers will decide which technologies and business plans will survive.

So, yes, the future isn’t clear. The biggest questions revolve around how these potentially disruptive changes will come about:

What regulatory roadblocks will emerge?
What role will tech companies play?
Which of our companies will succeed or fail in addressing the coming wave of change?
And which will be able to move quickly and adapt in such a rapidly changing technological landscape?
I don’t pretend to know all the answers to these questions. But rather than fear the disruption, I believe our industry really has no choice but to embrace it.

I expect the global auto industry to see more changes in the next five years than it has in the last 20. And those changes will bring tremendous opportunities for those companies with the skills and foresight to seize them.

Rather than fear tech companies’ interest, I see this new competition as healthy for our industry. We have a lot to learn from them, and they have much to learn from us, which is quite clear considering all the automotive talent they have been hiring.

With that said, here are some thoughts on what I see on our industry’s long-term horizon.

When I last spoke at the New York International Auto Show breakfast in 2012, our industry was still focused on whether electric vehicles were the future. Nissan had just introduced the LEAF a year earlier and we had sold 30,000 units.

Since then, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is leading the industry with more than 300,000 EVs sold globally – not as much as we had expected, but certainly a healthy start.

More significantly, today nearly every major automaker has ambitious projects underway for new EVs and other zero-emissions vehicles. It’s clear EVs are here to stay.

There are several reasons to be bullish about EV’s future.

To deal with the threat of climate change, the world is demanding that our industry invest more in zero-emissions transportation. Governments around the world are imposing stricter limits on CO2 emissions, and one major response has to be electrification.

But beyond environmental regulation, EVs just make sense.

We have already seen within Nissan and Renault how the cost of EVs continues to go down as their economies of scale begin to inch closer to those enjoyed by the internal combustion engine.

EVs are also relatively simple machines: a battery and electric motors. They require far less service, no oil changes and they are extremely reliable.

With battery technology improving and the charging infrastructure expanding in much of the world, we are nearing the turning point where EVs will become more of a mainstream option.

There’s been another important change since 2012. Then, no one was talking about Autonomous Drive vehicles.

In January, I visited Nissan’s Silicon Valley R&D offices in California. I spent considerable time driving around the streets of Sunnyvale – hands-free and with my eyes off the road.

Autonomous Drive cars that can change lanes on their own, negotiate city streets and handle the drudgery of stop-and-go traffic are coming soon. In fact, the Renault-Nissan Alliance will launch at least 10 models with significant Autonomous Drive functionality by 2020.

Those cars will be far more connected than those on the road today. They will be a much more personal space, an extension of ourselves – just as smartphones are today.

And the EV is the perfect platform for the future of Autonomous Drive and connected vehicle technology, which will, in turn, help accelerate the adoption of EVs.

The trend toward more connected cars is also critical to meet the expectations of our future buyers, those who are just getting their driver’s licenses today.

The benefits of highly connected, Autonomous Drive cars are clear: They hold the promise of making driving far safer, less stressful, more efficient and more rewarding. And as we did with our EVs, the Alliance will aim these future cars at the heart of the mass market.

With each international auto show, more automakers are spelling out their visions and placing their bets on the future. And that’s good.

Yes, there’s a lot at stake. Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty. But this is not a time for the conservative or the cautious.

Because for those open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, the opportunities for our industry to grow and better serve society’s needs has never been greater.

The pending merger of new technologies and new business models means not only new business opportunities, but ultimately a more efficient and safer transportation system at a lower cost to society.

Three forces – electrification, Autonomous Drive and connectivity – are about to change our industry in ways we are only beginning to imagine.

To me, it feels like we’re at the dawn of a new spring in the auto industry, and I’m excited to see how this new era unfolds.

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27 responses to "Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Discusses Disruption In Automotive Industy – Keynote Video"

  1. M. St. John says:

    I believe Nissan will step up big time in 2017

    1. Aaron says:

      They — and all the other legacy car makers — must to keep up with Tesla.

      1. RexxSee says:

        With the 100x industrial power they have, they should surpass Tesla by now. But the real competition has yet to start…

        1. Jeffrey Songster says:

          I think Ghosn is a leader… and that the next gen from Renault Nissan should be much better… and based on my experience with their current generation of LEAFs which are really good cars. Hoping that they bring out the eNV200 passenger van with a denser battery for under 30k?, and maybe keep the existing LEAF with a bigger battery at the lowest price possible worldwide to keep the price pressure on the competition. Maybe get it under 20k. Then roll out new leaf for under $40k with a 250 mile battery. Could really be great.

  2. RexxSee says:

    This guy poses as a disruptor but in real life, he stopped selling Leaf(ves) when Tesla began to sell many… as GM, as Toyota…

    Until he start selling(not showing) long ranged BEVs at a fair price, I will believe he speaks P.R. blah-blah… Don’t be fooled.
    He can begin to sell then right now!

    1. Mister G says:

      That’s right Nissan received $6 billion in loans to develop alternative fuel vehicles in 2009 and all we have is 107 mile Leaf…Nissan needs to put up or shut up.

    2. Josh Bryant says:

      Pretty funny to say that considering that Nissan/Renault (the two companies he runs) lead worldwide BEV sales.

      Nissan will be delivering EPA 200 BEVs before Tesla. Don’t let the current hype around Bolt vs. Model 3 fool you.

      Nissan is not dragging their feet like most other automakers, they have just painfully gone through the teething process of new technology. LEAF has not been a positive financial endeavor for them to this point.

      1. jerryd says:

        While true they have done little to push EVs in advertising or making different EVs.
        I’ve seen hundreds of their commercials and yet to see 1 Leaf mentioned in one.
        Their dealer, sales force is blocking EVs from being sold as many hate EVs.
        It is why they are about to get waxed by Tesla, a tiny company.
        Ghosn is right about innovating but seems they have stopped innovating.
        We’ll see what their 200mile EV looks like and it needs to be good, much better than the Leaf and a SC type system or they will have to deeply discount.
        They need to design future ones to weigh less and better aero so smaller, lower cost packs can get better range and make a
        profit.
        The way to leapfrog Tesla is come out with a well designed composite EV 40% lighter, less cost but still does the same job, even better in fact.
        But they are not that innovative.

        1. LEAF_n_PiP says:

          Actually, we had a few commercials including the LEAF in Southern California. Although it’s good to promote the LEAF, the worst thing possible for the Electric Vehicle movement would be to get customers into a 80 mile range car not knowing it wouldn’t fit their driving needs, as it would cause nothing but complaints and negative PR. As great as electric vehicles are, 80 mile range cars don’t quite fit for everyone. The next gen of EVs should fix that, but affordability will be a question initially.

        2. Josh Bryant says:

          Nissan pushed hard for the first several years. No Charge to Charge was a huge initiative by them to both increase charging infrastructure and sell LEAFs. Many other OEMs are copying that now.

          I agree that Nissan seems to have been pulling back on their push to sell the LEAF over the last year or two, at least in the US. It seems like once the air let out of the Atlanta market Nissan has been in full waiting mode for the next gen.

          For LEAF 2.0, I think an effective battery management system is more important than anything you mentioned. They don’t have to beat Tesla on specs, just on pricing.

          1. Brandon says:

            Well said, I agree. Also, 80 mile EVs really don’t appeal to that large a percentage of buyers IMO.
            When Nissan comes out with the next gen LEAF with maybe 200 miles range, then we may see a lot of interest by the next income bracket crowd under what the Model 3’s is.

  3. jelloslug says:

    It looks like Nissan will be to EVs what Honda was to hybrids. The first Insight was the benchmark to what other hybrids were measured for years and years and Honda squandered that by just doing nothing.

    1. Brian says:

      Sadly it looks like you have a valid point. Even when Honda came back on the scene, they still had their weak IMA hybrid system. Heck, they are still selling IMA today in the Civic/Insight/CR-Z hybrids. Everyone else has moved on to far superior hybrid systems.

      One thing that held Honda back was the belief that people wanted their hybrids to drive and feel like normal gas cars. Toyota blew that away by making the Prius something that a gas car could never be.

      In the same vein, Nissan’s Leaf looks and drives much like a gas car. Heck, even under the hood, the electric motor and power electronics look -to the untrained eye- like just another 4-banger. Tesla, on the other hand, completely hides the motor within the car. Under the hood is their now-iconic “frunk”.

      That said, I hope you are wrong, and they have something BIG in store for 2017.

      1. jelloslug says:

        They had better do something soon or all will be lost for them.

      2. JakeY says:

        I have hope Nissan will not squander their lead in EV sales. Ghosn seems to be someone that gets it and Nissan had been working on a long range EV for quite some time.

        1. Brandon says:

          Yup. I think you guys are going to be blown away by the next gen LEAF. We’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with and when, maybe this time next year.

    2. Kevin C. says:

      Still have our automatic 2001 Insight. Great little car. 60+ mpg in summer and 50 mpg winter. Alas, it’s still a wee gas guzzler.

      1. alohart says:

        We still have our 2000 Honda Insight 5-sp which we take on 5,000-mile road trips around Europe appreciating its 70 mpg highway fuel efficiency considering Europe’s high gasoline prices. However, its hybrid system pales in comparison to Toyota’s which was developed prior to Honda’s even though the Insight arrived in the U.S. a few months earlier than the Prius. The Insight’s light-weight all-aluminum construction, excellent aerodynamics, and very efficient ICE were bold statements that Honda did not continue developing unfortunately.

  4. ffbj says:

    I thought the diesel engine was the future.
    A bleak, smokey, polluted future.

    Thank you VW, and ever other jerk company that touted those pollution machines. Buy’em all back, or junk ’em.

    Those executives who promoted them and the engineers who designed them should be clapped in irons. Too bad keel hauling is out of the question these days.

  5. midimal says:

    I like and respect Carlos Ghosn. He is a top manager.

  6. scott franco (the evil EV owning republican) says:

    Carlos has said many times that the sales of EVs were “not what they were expecting”, and they introduce a placeholder for the leaf next generation. They are less than 9 months from the bolt introduction and have shown nothing remotely equivalent.

    It seems obvious by this point Carlos is ready to cede the lead on EVs.

    1. Djoni says:

      I would say probable, but no obvious.
      Nissan isn’t showing much effort into getting their stealership in the EV game.
      I’ve been trying to update my GPS card in my Leaf for 3 week now and they just throw me anywhere around up to Nissan headquarter and yet no one was able to simply download my new bought SD card.
      The card was purchase from HERE the Nissan provider.
      So, like you, I doubt they will get their act together soon.

    2. LEAF_n_PiP says:

      Actually they have, it’s called the IDS concept with a 60 kWh battery. It would be naive to think they would let Chevy sell the Bolt without LEAF2.0 being there to compete (I bet they will arrive at the same time). They have no reason to show the new model since it would cannibalize the first gen sales (Chevy couldn’t care less about the Spark EV sales).

      1. Brian says:

        If the IDS is Nissan’s equivalent to GM’s first Bolt concept, and it marks the same stage of development, then they are about 12 months behind. That’s not nothing, but will still bring them to market before Model III. I suspect it’s more like 6 months behind the Bolt. I expect a 60kWh Leaf 2.0 to be on dealer lots within 12 months of now (i.e. spring 2017)

        1. Brandon says:

          Yes, and another way to look at it is that the longer Nissan takes to bring the LEAF 2, the better they will be able to make it 🙂

        2. Jeffrey Songster says:

          I would venture a guess that the 325K deposits have added a new urgency to try to capture some of that money before Tesla get it all. Carlos Ghosn seemed to be a fair poker player from what I saw of him in Revenge of the Electric Car. Not likely to tip his hand until ready. I could see him bringing out a US revision of the eNV200 in cargo and passenger versions as well as another incremental update of the current LEAF. maybe take it to 125 to 150 miles. Then announce and deliver the Leaf 2 before Tesla ships the Model 3 and likely at roughly BOLT time. That should keep them in the game.

  7. Pete says:

    Ghosn is one of the be CEO to turn around a gasoline company to EVs. Love the IDS concept design, please Nissan bring Leaf 2 looking something bit similar and i will buy it! Would be also sufficient with some smaller battery options than 60 kWh. Drove 30000 miles on my Leaf, optimum battery option for me would be around 40 kWh, that would fit for 95 % of my trips and for longer i would be ready for quick charge.