Nissan CEO Ghosn: China to Save Electric Vehicle Industry by Forcing Consumers to Buy


Black Nissan LEAF

Black Nissan LEAF

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn made a comment that might haunt him when the government types in China get word of his rather radical statement.

According to Ghosn, the struggling-to-get-started electric vehicle industry will be saved by China.  No problem there.

As Ghosn suggests, China will save the electric vehicle industry simply because it promises to invest whatever it takes to get two million plug-in vehicles on its roads by 2020.

This statement was made at the European launch of the Renault Zoe and, though China is lagging behind in its effort to get plug-in vehicles in the hands of consumers, it’s conceivable that the nation could still achieve its 2020-goal.

Ghosn boldly stated:

“This isn’t speculation,  China’s decisions are among the most audacious that have been taken by any government.”

Still we see no issue with the words of Ghosn, but it’s this last quote—first re-printed by Reuters—that may cause a stir:

“China has 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world. They will set the rules so that the consumer buys—that’s how it’s going to happen.”

What might be seen as a fairly innocent statement, shouldn’t be taken too lightly.   Ghosn is implying that China basically can enact a law that forces or coerces buyers into purchasing electric vehicles.  Yes.  China can and does oftentimes use its might in a forceful way within its own borders, but that’s not a statement a CEO of a major automaker should make out in public, especially when surrounded by international journalists.

via Reuters

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7 Comments on "Nissan CEO Ghosn: China to Save Electric Vehicle Industry by Forcing Consumers to Buy"

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While I’m no fan of the Chinese government, one could argue that HOV lane access, massive tax credits for EVs or tax penalties for gas guzzling cars amount to “setting the rules”, yet none of those are considered controversial. I sort of doubt the Chinese are going to be lining up people at gunpoint and forcing them to buy EVs, but providing carrots and sticks to make the perceived “risk” of buying an EV easier does make sense.

“yet none of those are considered controversial” – You should go on a major news outlet sometime when they run a story about EVs and look at the comments below. Then tell me that these things are not controversial.

Like London set the rule of a low emission zone in the city, so that people buy green cars or pay a lot? Can’t see a problem in his comment. China also has the highest incentives for green cars worldwide plus people always have the choice not to buy at all but use public transport, rent a car or use two-wheel-vehicles. Not exactly a “force”-scenario there (and Carlos never used this word).

And it’s not exactly freedom if all the inhabitants of the cities have to breathe the ICE-polluted air.

Dictatorial rules in the cars area is not a, would be, Chinese specialty. In Europe governments have long imposed cheaper diesel prices at the pump despite a higher production cost. Belgium even goes a step further by having a unique law that bluntly ban the sale of E85 bioethanol, while it is importing through its Flemish Antwerp lobby 100% of its oil. The Flemish dictatorship is banning Wallonia, the Ethanol producing part of the country to sell its product. As a result Wallonia has to comptempt with a mere 5% addition in standard gasoline just because this suits the oil lobby to get rid of its excess isobutene in the form of ETBE. The remainder of the production has to be sold abroad to Germany. Knowing this, I have no objection wat hoewever with a country that would forbid gasoline vehicles and impose electric vehicles.

Call me radical, but now that viable alternatives exist, I don’t see anything wrong with a Country enacting legislation preventing the sale of gasoline vehicles for public transportation or restricting the sale of gasoline to commercial vehicles only (like delivery trucks). It’s for the good of the Country and its people.


What gives one person the right to pollute the air others breathe?


The CEO of Nissan never said what you said he said. He never used the word “force”… Or anything close to it. Neither is the Chinese government “forcing” … .

They are simply setting policies and using subsidies to “influence” . Governments (all governments) “influence” all the time. It is not necessarily a bad thing — each policy and subsidy has to be evaluated on its own merits.

The article misconstrues and twists the truth.
Unfortunately, this is a good example of really poor quality journalism.