Renault-Nissan CEO Ghosn On Success Of Electric Cars – “It’s Time To Push”


Nissan CEO Ghosn In A Nissan LEAF

Nissan CEO Ghosn In A Nissan LEAF

Carolos Ghosn Casting a Big Shadow

Carolos Ghosn Casting a Big Shadow

Charlie Rose met up with Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.

A partial (discussion related to electric vehicles) transcript of the interview is posted below:

Q: How successful is Nissan’s electric car?

A: The Leaf is the most sold electric car in the world. We’ve already sold 200,000. It’s a small quantity when you compare it with the 84 million cars purchased every year, but this is a first step. We still see a big future for electric cars. With the quantities we now produce and all the cost reductions, it starts to be profitable. That’s why we think it’s time to push.

Ghosn shares his thoughts on what makes for an exceptional automotive CEO.

Q: Alan Mulally was an industry outsider. Mary Barra grew up at GM. What makes a great car CEO?

A: It depends on the situation the car company is in. In my case, in 1999 I arrived in Japan and had to face the turnaround of Nissan. The fact that I wasn’t Japanese and was a newcomer to the industry helped me. People knew I wasn’t involved in the industry’s past. I dismantled keiretsu [interlinked business interests], challenged the seniority system, but I always explained why I needed to do it. We were very cautious to say, “We’re not in the business of transformation. We’re in the business of turning the company around.”

Back to the point of posting this interview session.  Note this statement made by Ghosn:

“With the quantities we now produce and all the cost reductions, it starts to be profitable. That’s why we think it’s time to push.

So, Nissan already dominates the world in terms of electric car sales and Ghosn is saying that Nissan hasn’t even begun the push.  When that push begins, one can only imagine how far into the lead Nissan and the LEAF will be.

Source: Business Week

Category: Nissan, Renault

Tags: , , ,

27 responses to "Renault-Nissan CEO Ghosn On Success Of Electric Cars – “It’s Time To Push”"
  1. Airton says:

    push it – push it real good.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Video added just for you!

      1. Airton says:

        perfect, thanks!

  2. vadik_veselovsky says:

    About push in an EV-exotic country – 34 charging outlets added in Ukraine

  3. KenZ says:

    I seriously love this guy. I can’t imagine the pushback he’s likely had both internally and from outside against his effectively unwavering advocacy for a real EV program. From an established player!

    I think he’s secretly Santa Claus, year round.

  4. Assaf says:

    1. Kinda worrisome that Ghosn says “we’ve sold 200k Leafs” when the numbers suggest it’s still closer to 150k. Unless all the numbers meticulously collected by citizen journalists – and reported by Nissan itself – are wrong, we’re pretty close but not there yet.

    2. Kinda encouraging that he says “we need to push”. Should we take it as yet another thick hint about longer-range Leaf coming out this year? If not, then what kind of “push” does he have in mind?

    1. Anthony says:

      I’m sure they’re sticking to their 2016 gen 2 model. Its probably about how aggressive they price the vehicle at, and what options they can offer (higher range battery?). I’m expecting a base model around 100-110 miles of range, with a plus option around 175 miles of range.

    2. Emc2 says:

      200K units is the figure for combined sales of the Renault-Nissan Alliance!

    3. Anton Wahlman says:

      I imagine he was thinking about the combined Renault-Nissan number.

      I further imagine that the big “push” will come with the LEAF 2.0 and/or some other equivalent cars in the portfolio. That shouldn’t be far out.

      1. Brian says:

        Exactly. When he says “The Leaf is the most sold electric car in the world. We’ve already sold 200,000” he could easily be talking about electric cars.

    4. Alonso Perez says:

      He might be including the NV200 EV as a Leaf, since it is the same platform.

      By “push” I understand expanding and improving the product line, increasing the marketing effort, distributing in more countries, and other efforts.

    5. JP says:

      The 200,000 is adding the 150,000 Leafs with the 50,000 sold as Renaults.

  5. Lad says:

    The key to mass BEV production is the long range battery and the limitations of production capacity.

    Tesla understands this; that’s why the Giga Factory.

    Nissan has had four years to improve their battery; lets see what they have accomplished. It’s too bad we must wait another year since the whole World is watching.

  6. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Let us push it beyond the 3,000/month sales ceilling, shall we?

  7. David Murray says:

    I hope Leaf 2.0 has more mass-market visual appeal combined with at least 100 miles range. I suspect at the right price, it would sell in huge numbers.

  8. GeorgeS says:

    Show me total miles driven for all the Leafs produced to Date compared with Tesla.

    My guess is that the little Leaf has done more in the CO2 dept than all the Teslas made so far.

    You can’t make a dent by just selling high priced cars to rich people.

    1. JakeY says:

      ABG just had an article on this saying the Model S likely beat the Leaf on miles:

      And even if the Leaf does beat the Model S on total miles, the fact that Tesla even approaches the number with a car that costs 2-3x as much shows you CAN make a huge dent “just selling high priced cars to rich people.” (Although you and I both know remark does not accurately reflect the impact that Tesla has made on the EV market).

    2. Mint says:

      Don’t forget that Teslas are sold to people that like driving 15-25 mpg cars (S-class, 7-series, Quattroporte, Panamera, etc). Barring obscene taxes for such cars, like in Norway, such a market will always exist.

      Leafs are sold to people that would otherwise choose a Prius (similar shape/room/performance).

      That’s at least a factor of 2 per car “in terms of CO2”.

  9. ffbj says:

    He must certainly be aware of the pun he is making.

  10. Ryan says:

    Instead of insisting on making new vehicles/new models; why not offer up electric versions of their existing line up?

    Every car, truck, and SUV Nissan makes is nicer then the Leaf. They would all actually sell easier.

    Even a mid year product refresh for the Leaf to make it more normal or sleeker or more appealing would even increase sales.

    A brand new gas Versa at $12k-$14k makes a $30k Leaf version a hard sell. Makes the Leaf seem over priced. It certainly doesn’t have the range/performance to command that price. If it was a 200 mile range car or had zippy performance; then it could ask that price.

    Getting their other vehicles to be EV’s will bring prices down by increasing volume. Stick the Leaf motor in everything. A battery pack where the gas tank was or put it under the hood. Put the motor in the back of everything. A bolt in subframe assembly.

    Altima, Maxima, Sentra? Just waiting to be made electric.

    A dual motor 370z?

    Bring electric trucks and SUVs to market?

    Nissan is as bad as Mitsubishi. Mitsu is first to market then falls asleep at the wheel. Takes a year off. Are they even still importing the iMiev? They totally dropped the ball on that one. And it’s a cheap car too. I actually like it better then the Leaf because it’s both cheaper and rear wheel drive. No reason they can’t fix the looks, improve the range, or give it more performance. Probably sniffing glue while they put their Zero models together in the break room.

    1. Anthony says:

      The problem is that, at least in the US, Nissan as no incentive to lower the price below 28K or so because of the rebate. With $7500 free money on the hood of every Leaf, a $20K EV that could get 100 miles or EV range is a great deal to consumers.

      Its not until the 7500 rebate gets phased out will we see bigger price cuts.

      1. jstack6 says:

        Anthony, wait until the gas /OIL subsidies get lowered and Fracking is stopped. Along with a real tax on gas pollution like the the Europe VAT tax. With gas at $8-10 a gallon we won’t need to push or give an incentive.
        EV’s like Solar can stand on their own give real prices for energy and fuel.

  11. Ryan says:

    They don’t even update their web page after 2012!

    One of the best vehicles they ever made(Outlander Plug-In Hybrid) and they don’t even sell it in the United States.

    If they were a stand alone car company and not part of something bigger; they would be out of business:

    1. Aaron says:

      You do realize we’re talking about Nissan.

  12. Jouni Valkonen says:

    Good thing that Ghosn admitted that Nissan has not even tried of selling electric cars. I hope that Nissan can put together a compelling electric car that leaps ahead of Tesla in driving experience. There is no need that electric cars should be purposely engineered as inferior to ICE cars.

  13. Rav4 EV AZ says:

    When should we expect to see the 2016 LEAF Gen 2.0 redesign and range #’s? 2016 models go on sale in Q4 of the prior year right?

  14. Jeff Songster says:

    Thrilled to hear the” we have not begun to fight!” Line… Hopefully 2016 comes with more incremental battery improvements… 28 to 30 kWh? And then the redesign… I’d buy another just like my 2013 with a slightly bigger battery to go 110 to 150 miles rather than 85 to 90… Love my LEAF. Thanks for fighting the good fight Mr Ghosn.