Chevrolet Volt (and EV) Hater Johan de Nysschen Takes Top Job at Infiniti. Wait, What?

JUN 5 2012 BY JAY COLE 10

Johan de Nysschen Shows Off the Audi e-tron at the NAIAS

Over the years, Nissan has done a lot of things for advancement of the electric vehicle, but yesterday’s decision to lure Johan de Nysschen away from Audi to become the senior vice president in charge of the Infiniti luxury brand worldwide is a real head scratcher, especially considering Nissan (and by extension Infiniti) has staked their whole future on the electrification of the automobile.

If you were to look up all time gaffs when it comes to not being environmentally friendly, while simultaneously attempting to market electric cars, Johan is perhaps second only to General Motor’s own Bob Lutz (with his famous “global warming is a crock of s***” back in 2008).

Here is a look at a few highlights of Mr. De Nyscchen’s last few years at Audi:

“The Chevrolet Volt is a car for Idiots…No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla. So there are not enough idiots who will buy it.”

“Mass electrification” of the vehicles on American roads could lead to problems like a strained electric grid. Large-scale utilization of electric vehicles will require massive investment in new power stations that are much cleaner than the ones in use in the U.S. today.”

“(EVs) could merely shift greenhouse gas emissions from the tailpipes of cars to the smokestacks of coal-burning utilities. That’s not just my opinion. The California Air Resource Board this past April concluded that electric vehicles presently are second only to hydrogen cars in greenhouse gas impact when measured on a well-to-wheel basis”

EV non-believer Johan de Nysschen joins Infiniti on July 1

InsideEVs own Lyle Dennis had a prolonged interview with Mr. De Nysschen shortly after the ‘Volt incident’, where he admitted that EVs could be a long term solution…but “not for 20 years”, while still adding that  “promise land” of electric vehicle will lead to  “dirt in the atmosphere.”

“If we want EVs, we face potentially staggering investments including cleaning up coal-powered plants and generating new capacity. Simply switching to EVs right now without cleaning up power generation is just ‘adding more’ pollution to the environment.”

So this is the man that will be standing by Nissan’s flagship for the next generation of electric vehicles, the Infiniti LE, when it goes on sale next year?   Something tells me there is going to be a lot of back-peddling in Johan’s future before then.

To be fair to Johan, aside from stubbing his toe on electric vehicles, he is accomplished automotive executive and was responsible for an impressive turnaround at Audi over the seven years he lead the brand.  Infiniti hopes he can bring the brand’s cache up to the level of its German rivals; BMW, Mercedes, and the aforementioned Audi…as well as the price points.

Nissan Media


2014 Infiniti LE

Categories: Infiniti


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10 Comments on "Chevrolet Volt (and EV) Hater Johan de Nysschen Takes Top Job at Infiniti. Wait, What?"

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You’ve got to be kidding me.
Does anyone else here think he looks like Ferris Bueller’s principal? oooooh yeah.


Funny Airton, yeah he does look like him. Don’t worry about this guy hurting their EV plans, Ghosn is a no nonsense, straight talking person. I’m sure he already made it perfectly clear to de Nysschen the companies position and not to say anything to diminish the work they are doing with electric vehicles. Still, I’d prefer dinosaurs like this just retire so the industry can move on.

Yes, I just don’t picture him and Ghosn sitting at the same table in the Nissan cafeteria if you know what I mean 🙂

He’s a DINOSAUR – a remnant of the old car industry. Yes, he’s a GOOD DINOSAUR, but from the paleolithic era nonetheless.

Infinity made this decision with his success at Audi in mind. Thing is, his success at Audi was made by cost cutting and streamlining – he focused Audi and trimmed the fat. This mentality seems good until we realize that the future of the auto industry requires losses up front. It’s the whole struggle with green tech = that initial costs are higher, but the long-term benefit is much much better.

I think it’s near impossible to teach old dogs new tricks – this guy is a one-trick pony who will try to use the same tricks with Infinity. Body styles and chic interiors, turbo performance and diesels do not a profitable Infinity make. He may make strides for the Infinity brand in Europe by implementing more diesels, but while BMW is going whole hog towards electrification with Frank Weber burning the midnight oil – I think Audi ditched Nysschen at the absolute perfect time.

Interesting tidbit from Edmunds Auto Insider – May 2008.


” Audi sees “great opportunities” in electric vehicles and will offer battery-electric automobiles with no exhaust emissions within ten years, its top executive told a German weekly.

Chairman Rupert Stadler, in an interview with Welt am Sonntag published Sunday, said he expects diesel and battery technology to be a dominate force the automotive market in five to ten years.

“By then we will offer cars without exhaust emissions,” Stadler said.

Asked if Audi was trailing domestic rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW in the development of batteries to power electric vehicles, Stadler replied that he wasn’t worried, that Audi’s research capabilities are larger than those of its competitors. Moreover, “electric cars offer great opportunities, which we have already seized on,” Stadler said — without elaborating.”

Audi is moving on. They tosses the dead weight.

“(EVs) could merely shift greenhouse gas emissions from the tailpipes of cars to the smokestacks of coal-burning utilities. ”

Can someone please kill that stupid baloney about 1000 mile tailpipes. This misinformation totally ignores the amount of energy and electricity that is required to transport and refine gasoline. In fact I beleive that it takes almost as much electricity to refine one gallon of gasoline as it takes electricity for an electric car to travel the same distance as a gallon of gasoline. So this argument is completely false. But for some reason it is taken for granted to be true that electricity generation can be just as dirty as running your car on coal.

Can someone please find that study that shows this?

Hmmm … statik & Lyle writing for a new website ?

I expect Johan to sing a different tune now. I’ve seen people say dramatically different things when their job depends on it.

I know your right about Johan, he will be big time pro-EV now…I just couldn’t resist dredging up his history, (=

Sidenote: Happy to finally be doing something with Lyle, he is a great guy, knows his stuff. Marc and Tom are ok too, heeh. How come your not writing here too? lol

I’m writing much anywhere these days. Having a new born at home changes a few things in life 😉

Hey, gratz on that! Good news. That can certainly change the priorities…as it should. Your first?