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Nissan: Sales, Marketing, and Financial News

 
Old 07-03-2006, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by unlemming
Sentra doesn't count, I guess. Do they even still make that?
current gen is pre-ghosn...new gen is due for intro end of this year i think.
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mrdeeno

Nissan has some great products that GM should be jealous about, such as the G and M, which are much more popular than its GM competitors, the CTS and STS.
Really? More popular? Let's see:

Model - Sales Dec. 2005 - Total Sales 2005

CTS 7,553 – 61,512
G35 6,221 – 68,728

STS 3,199 – 33,497
M 2,552 – 24,000

Much more popular?

Originally Posted by mrdeeno

The Altima is much more popular than the myriad of GM competitors (G6? Malibu?, etc) since a lot of the GM products are selling mostly on price appeal rather than popularity.
Altima – 18,448 – 255,371
Malibu 14,198 – 203,503
G6 – 12,642 – 124,844 while there were Grand AMs still sold, specifically: Grand Am – 31,613

Remember, the G6 still does not have a 4 cylinder option, let alone having one in 2005.

Finally, the Sentra I am sure was having its fair share of incentives.
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Old 07-03-2006, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by gavriil
Really? More popular? Let's see:

Model - Sales Dec. 2005 - Total Sales 2005

CTS 7,553 – 61,512
G35 6,221 – 68,728

STS 3,199 – 33,497
M 2,552 – 24,000

Much more popular?
Since we're looking at sales numbers, let's look at the more current #'s (as far back as I can find that includes the STS):

March 2006
5 = 5,265
E = 3,884
M = 2,629
GS = 2,483
STS = 2,217
A6 = 1,699
RL = 1,117

I can't find anything for the G35/CTS and i'm not in the mood to look at Altima sales.

But anyway, this is purely from a sales # perspective. Where is the fleet sales factor? Where is the rebates and pricing factors? Where is the resale factor? In some overwhelming cases, sales #'s are indicative of appeal/popularity (Accord, Camry, Civic, etc.), but in many cases like this, it is not so clear cut.

I think that there is a lot more involved in popularity than sales numbers. For example, let's say someone likes the M better than the STS, but GM was giving better offers or more competitive lease rates or whatever on the STS. So the guy buys an STS instead. In that case I would say the M is more popular than the STS even though the guy bought an STS. Or let's say that fleet purchases can get better rates on the STS than the M...which do you think they woudl purchase?

Not to mag-race or "forum"-race, but I think the general concensus from mags and internet forums is that the M/G35 is more popular (more appealing overall) than the STS/CTS. Much more? Maybe not, but I think definitely more.

Same with the Altima...it's a much better competitor to the Accord/Camry than any domestic offering (fleet sales heavy...i'm driving a grandprix rental right now...it' was either that or a monte carlo or impala). We can't just pull sales numbers and say one is definitely more popular than another.

Last edited by mrdeeno; 07-03-2006 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:26 AM
  #204  
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Originally Posted by mrdeeno

Since we're looking at sales numbers, let's look at the more current #'s (as far back as I can find that includes the STS):
What are you saying? That my numbers above, are not current enough, or indicative enough?

Originally Posted by mrdeeno

March 2006
5 = 5,265
E = 3,884
M = 2,629
GS = 2,483
STS = 2,217
A6 = 1,699
RL = 1,117
So what's your point? This is just a month's worth of numbers. I gave you 2005 numbers. Do you not like my numbers because they dont let your argument hold water?

Originally Posted by mrdeeno

I can't find anything for the G35/CTS and i'm not in the mood to look at Altima sales.
I can. I did. You dont seem to accept them. Why?

Originally Posted by mrdeeno

But anyway, this is purely from a sales # perspective. Where is the fleet sales factor? Where is the rebates and pricing factors? Where is the resale factor? In some overwhelming cases, sales #'s are indicative of appeal/popularity (Accord, Camry, Civic, etc.), but in many cases like this, it is not so clear cut.
All of the above things listed are PARTS of one criterion. SALES! Cars sold! For someone to buy a car, they analyze all of the above. Then they make the bottom line decision. Buy or walk and buy something else. In the end, they buy something.

Originally Posted by mrdeeno

I think that there is a lot more involved in popularity than sales numbers. For example, let's say someone likes the M better than the STS, but GM was giving better offers or more competitive lease rates or whatever on the STS. So the guy buys an STS instead.
If the guy buys an STS instead, then he likes the STS more after analyzing the WHOLE purchase as a multifaceted item as you correctly noted. I also would love to get a 599GTB instead of an STS, but can I? I am guessing the case is the same with you and most people on this planet.

Again, the purchase/sale is the bottom line. And that's what I showed you because you claimed that certain Nissans/Infinitis are a lot more popular than certain GM offerings. You dont recognize the numbers for some reason.

Originally Posted by mrdeeno

In that case I would say the M is more popular than the STS even though the guy bought an STS.
In that case, you'd be out of your mind sir Again, the guy wanted an Enzo. Then the Enzo is more popular. What do you say?

Originally Posted by mrdeeno

Or let's say that fleet purchases can get better rates on the STS than the M...which do you think they woudl purchase?
Whichever they already have purchased. And those numbers are facts, like all numbers. You have no argument, no matter how much you spin crystal clear facts, accept it. Look at the numbers, that's all there is to it.

Originally Posted by mrdeeno

Not to mag-race or "forum"-race, but I think the general concensus from mags and internet forums is that the M/G35 is more popular (more appealing overall) than the STS/CTS. Much more? Maybe not, but I think definitely more.
Appeal and popularity are two different things and there are numbers for both. You need to be able to see the clear distinction between the two.

Originally Posted by mrdeeno

Same with the Altima...it's a much better competitor to the Accord/Camry than any domestic offering (fleet sales heavy...i'm driving a grandprix rental right now...it' was either that or a monte carlo or impala). We can't just pull sales numbers and say one is definitely more popular than another.
Yes we can. Because popularity = sales. Not more, not less.
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:32 AM
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For whatever it's worth Renault's sales for the first 11 months of 2005 were 1,385,706 when in 2004 were 1,460,323 (percent change = –5.1). So they sold less cars in 2005 than in 2004. Not a sign of a company that's turning.
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Old 07-04-2006, 12:18 PM
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I think then that your definition of "popularity" and mine are different. If they guy likes the Enzo a lot better but can't afford it, but he can afford an STS, then yes, I do think the Enzo would be considered more popular.

one definition of popularity: "having the quality of being widely accepted, sought after, or admired."

where does it mention that it has to be "received" or "obtained"? Just because something is "obtained" or "purchased" does not mean it is sought after or admired or even widely accepted. But something can be accepted, sought after, and admired, but never obtained.
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Old 07-04-2006, 12:32 PM
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if you (along with GM execs) are in the position that they need no help for a successful turnaround, then why are they even in discussions with Renault/Nissan?

If there was no major advantage to an alliance to any of the parties, they wouldn't even be in talks and this thread wouldn't even exist. But GM sees an advantage, so they are talking. Renault/Nissan see an advantage for them, otherwise they wouldn't be in talks.

I see it this way...they are still struggling. there are signs of turnaround, but they are STILL struggling. Are their chances at success better if they go on their own or form an alliance with a company that has been successful in turning around its operations?

To me, they need all the help they can get.
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Old 07-04-2006, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mrdeeno
I think then that your definition of "popularity" and mine are different. If they guy likes the Enzo a lot better but can't afford it, but he can afford an STS, then yes, I do think the Enzo would be considered more popular.

one definition of popularity: "having the quality of being widely accepted, sought after, or admired."

where does it mention that it has to be "received" or "obtained"? Just because something is "obtained" or "purchased" does not mean it is sought after or admired or even widely accepted. But something can be accepted, sought after, and admired, but never obtained.
Even if popularity is meant in your book as appeal, or something that is sought after, then let's go back to the initial point. SO I say the same thing. What are the Nissan/Infiniti/Renault offerings that are so much more sought after than GM offerings? The M and the G? That's it? You cant have synergies that will bear fruit in such a case with two limited edition cars. The Sentra and Altima? The next Malibu will be a knockout per everyone that has seen it. The G6 and even G5 will go againts the Sentra nicely and other upcoming models from Saturn and even Chevy.

There is nothing NIssan/Renault has that can benefit GM in the short term.

Now in a case of collaboration of what Ford and Mazda do, maybe. Sharing components, consolidating processes, etc, etc, fine. If they plan it right, they could benefit. But I believe that GM must stay independent for it to progress forward and succeed.
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Old 07-04-2006, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mrdeeno
if you (along with GM execs) are in the position that they need no help for a successful turnaround, then why are they even in discussions with Renault/Nissan?
Because the stock goes up when they even talk about talking and that benefits York, Kerkorian and the rest of his friends. For the short term this is clear sock manipulation. The market buys stocks on a future belief basis, not what's really happening right now. If the market thinks that GM will turn around, the price will triple. By then Kerkorian is out. He does not give a crap's ass about what ultimately happens to GM. He only cares about it as long as his money is part of GM.
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Old 07-04-2006, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mrdeeno
I see it this way...they are still struggling. there are signs of turnaround, but they are STILL struggling. Are their chances at success better if they go on their own or form an alliance with a company that has been successful in turning around its operations?

To me, they need all the help they can get.
They are cetainly still struggling. No doubt. The turnaround for a company as big as GM takes 8 years on the average. Heck Nissan took 4. It's a puny little company next GM.
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by gavriil
They are cetainly still struggling. No doubt. The turnaround for a company as big as GM takes 8 years on the average. Heck Nissan took 4. It's a puny little company next GM.
let's speculate that it will take them 8 years to turn around on their own. if any collaboration helps them to achieve a turnaround in 6 or 7 years, then I think an alliance would be worth exploring.

In the end, if any of the parties decides that whatever benefits it receives from an alliance is not worth the costs, then there will be no alliance. But ONLY THEN should there be no alliance, rather than jumping to a conclusion that just because they MAY be able to do it on their own, they should forgo any alliance without even exploring the potential benefits.
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mrdeeno
let's speculate that it will take them 8 years to turn around on their own. if any collaboration helps them to achieve a turnaround in 6 or 7 years, then I think an alliance would be worth exploring.

In the end, if any of the parties decides that whatever benefits it receives from an alliance is not worth the costs, then there will be no alliance. But ONLY THEN should there be no alliance, rather than jumping to a conclusion that just because they MAY be able to do it on their own, they should forgo any alliance without even exploring the potential benefits.
I guess all this is a misunderstanding of statements. My statement of doing it alone was valid only in a situation where the two entities would merge in any way or one buys a significant part into the oter. I already wrote that a collaboration ala-DSM would be fine. But there is no reason for Renault/Nissan to buy a 20% stake into GM. This will affect mgt substitution decisions and I dont think GM needs that. They can fire and hire people on their own.

It all starts from the top. The board is the wrong board. If you look at the bio and resume of most of the people on GM's board you will see that they have come up from companies which were ran to the ground. So the big investors like Kerkorian and the others, should start pushing for changes of people at the top. Board first, execs next. Then this new leadership should start hard negotions with the UAW while it's making huge changes in the people that really do all the work, which is middle mgt and the people middle mgrs manage.

GM does not have to change completely in order for it to start gaining share once again. There are a few big sucking entities that are draining the pond. Fix those first, then deal with the secondary items.

All GM has done up to now is bring Lutz to fix their car divisions. How many people do they think Lutz is? A thousand? With Herculian powers? This GM monster is bigger than any which means the mess is larger than any and it's getting worse and worse in an exponential fashion.

They fixed some interiors. Bullshit, you dont work that way. You dont say, "they are a lot better than before, they are good enough". You gotta get better interiors than EVERYONE in order to feel you fixed something. Of course better interiors will not fix GM, but this example shows how the culture has to change.

Kerkorian believes all that but he thinks that the culture will change if Renault/Nissan gets involved in a major way. I say bull. There is no better and deeper pool of capable managers than USAmerican managers. And this is not about patriotism. There a more examples than stones about that. Like Gohsn is the only guy on earth that can fix a freaking auto manufacturer, because he fixed Nissan! Come on!
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:36 AM
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GM Board to Meet After Shareholder Discloses Efforts to Link Automaker With Renault, Nissan - - By Tom Krisher, Associated Press Writer - - Source: yahoo.com

DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp. said Wednesday its board of directors will meet by telephone Friday, a week after dissident shareholder Kirk Kerkorian disclosed his efforts to link the company with foreign competitors Renault and Nissan.

GM spokeswoman Toni Simonetti said the meeting was scheduled before Kerkorian proposed the three-way alliance, but she would not disclose what was on the agenda.

The board met by teleconference last week to discuss Kerkorian's proposal, and the company issued a statement saying that members would take the plan under advisement.

Normally the board meets the first week of every month, but recently has been talking more frequently, Simonetti said.

"In addition to its regularly scheduled meetings, the board recently has been convening a little more regularly by teleconference to just stay up to date on the progress of the turnaround strategy and such," Simonetti said.

The possibility of a three-way global auto partnership emerged last week after Kerkorian, who owns 9.9 percent of GM, said he had approached Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of both Renault SA of France and Nissan Motor Co. of Japan, about considering adding GM to the Renault-Nissan alliance.

Kerkorian's investment company, Tracinda Corp., told GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner in a letter that Renault and Nissan are receptive to the idea of including GM in their partnership and purchasing "a significant minority interest" in the automaker.

GM, the nation's largest automaker, lost $10.6 billion last year, but made a $445 million profit in the first quarter of 2006.

Simonetti said GM has made great strides in recent months, with expense savings from 35,000 hourly workers taking early retirements and buyouts, an agreement on health care cost concessions with the United Auto Workers and freezes in health care and pension benefits for salaried workers and executives.

The company also has new models coming out that should boost sales in the second half of the year, she said.

"I think Rick Wagoner had formulated a turnaround strategy, and we in the past year have successfully implemented a significant share of that turnaround plan," Simonetti said.

GM shares fell 4 cents to $29.37 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Also Wednesday, DaimlerChrysler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche said he isn't intimidated by the possibility that GM may join the Renault-Nissan alliance.

"We are certainly not afraid," he told reporters after a news conference in Tokyo to show a new truck model by DaimlerChrysler's Japanese subsidiary.

Zetsche said that mergers generally don't produce quick benefits.

It usually "takes some years to benefit from a merger," he said, while declining to judge on whether such a tie could succeed or not. He said his company will watch for developments in the talks among the three carmakers.

DaimlerChrysler, formed in 1998 in a merger between Daimler-Benz AG of Germany and the Chrysler Corp., is often viewed as an example of a global alliance that had produced shaky results despite initial promises for both sides benefiting from scale and collaboration.

The Renault-Nissan alliance, however, is widely viewed as a role model for such tie-ups.

Ghosn has a reputation for turning around troubled companies with his record at Nissan, Japan's No. 2 automaker, since being sent in by Renault in 1999. Renault owns a 44.4 percent stake in Nissan, which in turn owns a 15 percent stake in Renault.

He has brought back Nissan from the verge of bankruptcy to record profits and sales growth in markets around the world.

The board of Renault and Nissan on Monday authorized Ghosn to begin negotiations with GM, if the GM board agrees.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Wednesday that talks among the three automakers will focus on purchasing parts together and sharing environment and safety technologies.

Nissan and Renault will set up teams to study possible partnerships with GM, including holding stakes in each other, the report said.

Nissan spokeswoman Mia Nielsen declined to comment on the report, calling it speculative. The report did not cite sources, which is customary in Japanese newspapers.

Cost-cutting by purchasing auto parts together was one of the main tasks Ghosn tackled in leading a turnaround at Nissan, Japan's No. 2 automaker, since being sent in by Renault in 1999, when the Renault-Nissan alliance was formed. Renault owns a 44.4 percent stake in Nissan, which in turn owns a 15 percent stake in Renault.

Collaboration on technology is relatively common among automakers that may work as rivals in other areas.

On Tuesday, French Industry Minister Francois Loos said in an interview with i-Tele television that France "should be extremely cautious." The French state holds about 15 percent of Renault.

AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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Old 07-05-2006, 10:37 AM
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Zetsche said that mergers generally don't produce quick benefits.
Exactly! And Zetsche knows that better than anyone. We saw it with DC.
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:00 AM
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Are Wagoner’s Days Numbered? - - by Jim Burt - - Source: The Car Connection





When G. Richard Wagoner Jr., General Motors' embattled chairman and chief executive officer, faces his board this Friday to discuss the move by Renault-Nissan chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn to enlist GM as a global partner, he will probably be thinking about whether it's his last regularly scheduled GM board meeting.



For three months or more Wagoner, despite recently forcing the board to give him a public endorsement, has been steadily losing their support. Going back to March, certain board members - George M.C. Fisher, Erskine B. Bowles, and John Bryan - have talked to the media on the record without consulting GM officialdom. Despite the "vote of confidence" Mr. Wagoner got, they did call a special board meeting last spring while the CEO was traveling inAsia.



And now, the anatomy of the Renault-Nissan offer smacks of a gesture on the part of board member Jerome York to embarrass and marginalize Mr. Wagoner. Remarkably, York was able to enlist no less than Carlos Ghosn to do his bidding.



Consider that York was able to persuade Ghosn during a private dinner to make an overture to GM to be the third player in Ghosn's global network. In Nissan's letter to Tracinda Corp., Kirk Kerkorian's company which York represents, the company says that it will only pursue the alliance with the support of GM's senior management. Despite all the drama, though, GM has not yet received a specific proposal from Renault-Nissan.



If Carlos Ghosn wanted an alliance with GM, the way to go about it would be to call for a meeting with Rick Wagoner to discuss whether the GM chairman and CEO would favor a deal, and if he would support the move in a meeting with his board. Instead, Ghosn responded to an overture from York and made his interest known in a letter to Tracinda. York and Kerkorian can best be described as dissident shareholders trying to dictate management moves to Wagoner.


York is no fan of Wagoner's, and he has publicly lauded what Ghosn has accomplished at Nissan. Ghosn is also arguably the most admired and sought-after CEO in the global auto industry because of the way he set financial targets at Nissan in 2000 and promised to resign if he didn't hit them. He did meet his targets and currently enjoys the best net margins in the industry. Ford Motor Co. chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr., is known to have unsuccessfully pursued Ghosn to help him turn around Ford.



Wagoner, by contrast, set a five-percent net margin goal when he took over as CEO in 2000. At that level, GM would have earned $10 billion last year. Instead, it lost about $10 billion.



By enlisting Ghosn to stipulate that he will only buy into GM - he is offering to buy 20 percent at a cost of $3 billion - if he has support of management, York has forced Wagoner into a position of having to defend a position that he is better equipped to turn GM around than Ghosn, which is a stretch of the imagination few would exercise. It is, as the saying goes, "the old squeeze play."



Add this to the lack of respect for Wagoner. Ghosn, prodded by York , allowed the revelation of Renault-Nissan's interest in tying up with GM on the Friday before the company's July 4 break. That meant that the executives' planned vacation breaks would be, to say the least, badly interrupted. True, they do not celebrate July 4 in Tokyo or Paris, but Ghosn certainly knows that it is a U.S. holiday.



Twenty percent of General Motors would not give Carlos Ghosn control of GM management. But if the board supports the move and Wagoner doesn't (how will the board justify not supporting it?), the likely outcome is that Wagoner will resign. Who takes over for Wagoner at that point is anyone's guess. Chief financial officer Fritz Henderson is most often mentioned as a Wagoner replacement, but it remains to be seen if Henderson would want to succeed Wagoner under these conditions and with Carlos Ghosn under the tent. Would York take over as an interim CEO or chairman? Does he have board support for that? There is mounting evidence that he could gain board support in the absence of Wagoner for such a move.



Another movement to look for should Wagoner step down this summer is Bob Lutz's ascension to a bigger role. Both York and Ghosn admire Lutz's product development savvy. It's doubtful that Lutz would be made CEO, but absent Henderson or a compelling outsider, York and Ghosn could muster support for Lutz as CEO on an interim basis. At the very least, Lutz could find himself a GM board member in the shakeout.



With York as chairman and Ghosn on the board of directors, with their agendas of rapid reform, the job of CEO becomes more attractive to some candidates that have been bandied about: Textron CEO Lewis B. Campbell or Delphi CEO Robert "Steve" Miller.



The criticism of Wagoner is that he is too much a prisoner of GM tradition and the institution. Yes, he shuttered the Oldsmobile brand after former CEO Jack Smith, former chairman John Smale and former GM North America chief Ron Zarrella tortured the brand into oblivion with one lame product plan and marketing effort after another. But under York and an outsider CEO, it is likely that the Buick and Saab brands would be shuttered as well, and HUMMER possibly sold off (though Ghosn may convince York otherwise about HUMMER; York seems to be in the minority about selling off HUMMER.) These are moves Wagoner has been unwilling to make despite overwhelming endorsement by savvy outsiders.



Yes, when Wagoner calls this Friday's board meeting to order and looks around the room at the faces, he will likely be wondering how much longer he wants to try and run GM. When board support starts to crack, it's tough to close the breaks. Making matters worse is when cracks form in a board that was handpicked by the chairman himself. Boards are a bit more anxious these days to not appear as a rubber stamp for the chairman. And that will make for an uncomfortable summer for Rick Wagoner - if he lasts that long.
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:03 AM
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If this deal with Nissan/REnault goes forward for sure Wagoner is out. No doubt about that. ANd it's not going to only be Wagoner. It will be a ton more of "his friends". Possibly even Lutz.
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Old 07-05-2006, 02:56 PM
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:19 PM
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Ghosn, Wagoner to Meet - - Source: The Car Connection

The latest developments in the GM-Renault/Nissan story have Rick Wagoner, GM CEO, meeting with Carlos Ghosn later in the month in Detroit, according to a report from the Financial Times. GM's CFO, Fritz Henderson, will lead a group that will study the proposed alliance in the meantime. And on Friday, GM's board will convene by telephone, likely to discuss the proposal made last week by Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. although the meeting had been scheduled prior to Tracinda's Renault/Nissan gambit. Last week in a stunning announcement, Tracinda Corp. let loose that it was trying to broker a deal to open the alliance to GM, in which Tracinda and Kerkorian hold a 9.9-percent stake. The boards of Renault and Nissan have okayed talks on bringing GM into the alliance, and separately, Japanese daily Nihon Keizai has reported that the alliance could benefit from adding GM to the mix in areas such as parts procurement, environmental and safety technology.

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Old 07-06-2006, 12:22 PM
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GM execs to air arguments against alliance - - Reuters / July 6, 2006 - 6:57 am - - Source: Autonews.com

NEW YORK -- General Motors' management plans to air arguments against a proposed three-way alliance with Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA at a meeting with its board on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Citing people familiar with GM's plans, the newspaper said CEO Rick Wagoner will not dismiss the proposed alliance outright, and he is expected to launch a due diligence review.

Wagoner and his management team intend to treat the alliance proposal as a hostile move against management, the sources said.

Some GM board members have expressed support for the proposed alliance, disclosed on Friday, June 30, by GM's largest shareholder, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, a person familiar with the situation told Reuters on Wednesday, July 5.

Wagoner is scheduled to meet with Nissan and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn in Detroit in mid-July, the Reuters source said.
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:30 PM
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Ghosn sets sights on GM - - Reuters / July 5, 2006 - 8:00 am - - Source: Autonews.com



...

BRAZIL BORN

Ghosn has roots in many cultures. He was born in Porto Velho in Brazil on March 9, 1954, to Lebanese parents Jorge and Rose Ghosn.

Because of poor health, the family returned to Lebanon when he was six and he was educated by French Jesuits in Beirut until he left for France aged 17.

After studying engineering, Ghosn began his career at Michelin and rose to become chairman and chief executive of its North American arm, where he oversaw a restructuring after the 1990 acquisition of Uniroyal Goodrich.

From Michelin he moved to Renault to tackle another restructuring challenge that cost 3,100 jobs and created much bad will towards the Renault brand in Belgium.

But it was his 1999 move to Japan's Nissan that cemented his status both as a master of turnarounds and a celebrity manager.

At the conservative firm he lived up to his cost-cutting reputation, slashing 21,000 jobs and closing car plants.

Resistance to his straight, seemingly ruthless style was strong at first, but he eventually won over employees and investors by achieving the goals he set for the company.

"You can make companies work together even if they are on different continents," Ghosn told the Stanford Graduate School of Business in February this year.

"One company does not need to take over the other, nor is it crucial for both companies' cultures to meld into one. Preserving distinct styles helps each company's employees identify with their employer and stay motivated," he said at the U.S. school where his daughter Caroline studies.

Carlos Ghosn is married to Rita, who owns the My Lebanon restaurant in Tokyo, and they have four children. Their main home is in Paris.
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:30 PM
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So the French connection is apparent since he was 17. Interesting.
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:48 AM
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Renault should be given more thought as big player

Renault should be given more thought as big player
French automaker controls alliance with Nissan
BY WILLIAM DIEM
FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER

July 7, 2006

PARIS -- It might be easy for Americans to overlook the significance of Renault SA in the proposed alliance of General Motors Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and the French automaker.

Many Americans haven't given the company much thought since they stopped seeing Le Cars on the road and Renault sold AMC to the then-Chrysler Corp. in the late 1980s.

But while Nissan is a resurgent global player, led by superstar CEO Carlos Ghosn, Renault clearly controls its alliance with Nissan with a 44% stake. Nissan has a 15% stake in Renault, which is mostly symbolic of Nissan's independence.

Renault and Nissan work together only when both sides benefit. Adding GM as a full partner would mean looking for win-win-win areas. Ideas like common engine production, platforms or hybrid development would save money in the future, said Nigel Griffiths, an analyst with Global Insight in London, but "GM needs a quicker fix than that."

A 20% investment in GM by Renault-Nissan, with the 9.9% held by investor Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp., would give those allies effective leadership of the company as the other big stockholders are unlikely to get into a nasty proxy fight.

But there is no guarantee that Renault-Nissan would stop there.

Ghosn may well aim to double the Renault-Nissan stake later on if GM turns around.

"Below 40%, an alliance is unstable," Ghosn reportedly told analysts in March when Nissan sold its 13% stake in Nissan Diesel Motor Co.

In May, at the Renault annual stockholders meeting, Ghosn said that depressed stock prices made it a good time to invest in another company.

He has been talking about widening the alliance since January's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. When the Dow Jones Newswire asked him about expanding the alliance, he answered, "Why not? We could use the same principles with more players."

The principles are those enumerated in Renault's statement last Friday after the Kerkorian surprise.

"Such an expansion would only be considered by the alliance if it were executed in the full spirit of the alliance, which is founded on trust, transparency, performance and the full respect for individual corporate and brand identity."

Renault Chairman Louis Schweitzer is credited with treating Nissan as a partner, not an acquisition.

That was in contrast to the clear takeovers of Dacia in Romania and Samsung Motors in Korea, which have been folded into Renault as subsidiaries.

While Renault's history provides uncertain clues as to its future strategy, it is clear that the company is no passive investor.

Gerald Meyers, a professor of management at the University of Michigan and the former chairman and chief executive at American Motors, said the fear at GM is that this is the beginning of a takeover.

He said Renault starts out with an alliance and before long, it's running the company.

Renault was a French automaker run by its engineer founder until the end of World War II. France accused Louis Renault of collaborating with the Germans and nationalized the company. (The government still owns 15% of the automaker.)

In the 1960s, Renault made its first overseas deal with American Motors, licensing the right to build the AMC Rambler in its Belgium factory for four years.

Then, in 1982, it bought AMC, only to sell it in 1987 to Chrysler.

"There is nothing in common with Renault's acquisition of AMC and Nissan," said Jean-Michel Prillieux, a consultant with Mavel SA in suburban Paris. "Renault bought 100% of AMC because it wanted to implant itself in North America."

With Nissan, Renault "wanted to establish an alliance of two powerful groups in parallel, one strong in Asia and the other strong in Europe."

Ghosn's strategy with GM, said Philippe Houchois, an automotive analyst at JP Morgan in London, is probably more oriented to Europe and China than North America.

In China, said Houchois, GM's partner SAIC has a better future than Dongfeng, Nissan's partner.

In Europe, he said, Renault would like to run Opel, GM's main European brand, because today "Renault has an extreme dependence on one brand. With two brands, it could operate like Peugeot Citroen and smooth out the cycles of the business, introducing the" Renault "Megane and" Opel "Astra several years apart."

An investment could pay off even if GM goes bankrupt in North America because Renault would be in a position to buy up the parts that will help it the most. And if GM recovers, the investment means more dividends for Renault.

"Given the level of risk, Kerkorian and Renault can run the show without the liability if something goes wrong," Houchois said. "And if the risk goes down, Ghosn will increase his investment."

Free Press staff writer Jennifer Dixon contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/a...607070343/1014
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Old 07-08-2006, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by gavriil
So the French connection is apparent since he was 17. Interesting.
I'm pulling for Wagoner versus the self-styled "man of the world."
I'm tired of French-speaking Nissans, too. My views on this have been aired at Freshalloy as well.

Not that I'm leaning towards GM anymore in this. Actually, we should let this go through, so Ghosn can bomb out at Nissan, Renault, and General Motors. But I am not interested in having Ghosn be the one responsible for the destruction of the Michigan economy. Michigan doesn't need a international trade backlash.
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Old 07-08-2006, 02:53 PM
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^ I agree.
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by M TYPE X
But I am not interested in having Ghosn be the one responsible for the destruction of the Michigan economy.
Me thinks GM has already been traveling that road. But Carlos would become the new public enemy #1 in such a scenario.
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Old 07-09-2006, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by F23A4
Me thinks GM has already been traveling that road. But Carlos would become the new public enemy #1 in such a scenario.
I call it "adding insult to injury." GM is declining, but Ghosn would simply rip the heart out. Nissan sales are in a slide and the new product is coming out for 2007, but Nissan still has quality and perception issues. But at the same time as the critical 2007 launches, he's kicking the Los Angeles people off the team and running the show from temporary offices in Nashville while "La Palais Ghosn" gets built in Franklin. But that's not enough, he wants his hands on GM too. And isn't he supposed to be CEO right now of both Nissan and Renault? I heard Renault has a lot of problems as well now.

The computer player in Sid Meier's "Civilization" games is always trying to take over new conquests, but often it never builds on conquest, just try to take more and overextend itself. Ghosn reminds me of this. His modus operandi seems to be the greed of power. It's time for him to make room for someone to consolidate the gains and make careful plans for the future.
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Old 07-09-2006, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by M TYPE X
I call it "adding insult to injury." GM is declining, but Ghosn would simply rip the heart out. Nissan sales are in a slide and the new product is coming out for 2007, but Nissan still has quality and perception issues. But at the same time as the critical 2007 launches, he's kicking the Los Angeles people off the team and running the show from temporary offices in Nashville while "La Palais Ghosn" gets built in Franklin. But that's not enough, he wants his hands on GM too. And isn't he supposed to be CEO right now of both Nissan and Renault? I heard Renault has a lot of problems as well now.

The computer player in Sid Meier's "Civilization" games is always trying to take over new conquests, but often it never builds on conquest, just try to take more and overextend itself. Ghosn reminds me of this. His modus operandi seems to be the greed of power. It's time for him to make room for someone to consolidate the gains and make careful plans for the future.
Hence, one should never forget that Carlos is first and foremost a businsessman, not a car man.
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Old 07-09-2006, 07:00 PM
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Thank you for calling General Nissan Renault Motors...


I fail to see much upside in this "partnership" for Nissan other than a perhaps a better distribution channel. I gotta believe GM dealers are salivating at the opportunity to sell Nissans alongside their Chevy Cobalt's!
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Old 07-09-2006, 07:56 PM
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@ the coincidental irony of M TYPE X's greed comment and your avatar PistonFan.
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Old 07-10-2006, 02:05 PM
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Ghosn wants GM tie-up to fight Toyota?

While it's clear GM's financial situation could be improved with the help of the more financially stable Renault-Nissan alliance, it's less obvious why CEO Carlos Ghosn is so anxious to tie the knot with the struggling American automaker. Many analysts say Renault-Nissan has little to gain from General Motors. However, Bloomberg speculates that Ghosn may wish to leverage GM's capacity to do battle with Toyota. "Toyota is so dominant in the global car industry and they are growing so fast and so steadily that no one can really catch up," said analyst Atsushi Osa. "Ghosn may want to use GM's assets and resources against Toyota." Ghosn could use GM's idle manufacturing capacity to increase production cheaply, the report suggests. On Friday, GM said it would proceed with exploratory discussions with Renault and Nissan.
Left Lane News
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:03 PM
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^ Thats just what I was saying with my first post in this thread. It's not necessarily about helping each other. It's all about beating toyota.
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Old 07-10-2006, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by F23A4
@ the coincidental irony of M TYPE X's greed comment and your avatar PistonFan.
I'm the younger and hipper side of PF in some ways.
That's why you "kind of" see some similarities.
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Old 07-11-2006, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by M TYPE X
I'm the younger and hipper side of PF in some ways.
That's why you "kind of" see some similarities.
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Old 07-11-2006, 09:11 AM
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Does Ford-Renault-Nissan make more sense?

Does Ford-Renault-Nissan make more sense?

With all eyes on the proposed GM-Renault-Nissan tie-up, it's easy to forget Carlos Ghosn was only recently in talks with the Dearborn automaker about working together. According to the Detroit News, Ghosn first turned to Ford when he began his search a little over a year ago ford a third member of the Renault-Nissan alliance. Those talks didn't lead anywhere, but Ford later approached Ghosn about the job of running the world's No. 3 automaker. He declined, but expressed interest in acquiring Ford's Volvo Cars. That, too, never happened, but Ford and Ghosn remained on good terms. Now, some analysts feel Ford may be a better choice than GM, if Renault and Nissan are serious about a third partner. "It's interesting to think about the idea. Could Ford step in here with an alliance with Renault and Nissan?" UBS analyst Robert Hinchliffe said in a teleconference with investors Monday. "I wouldn't count it out. Ford could be a better partner.
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Old 07-13-2006, 12:43 AM
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GM CEO calls Renault-Nissan alliance 'interesting' - - Reuters / July 12, 2006 - 7:00 am - - Source: Autonews.com

DETROIT -- General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner said the proposed alliance between GM, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Renault SA was an "interesting idea" that would get full consideration from GM leadership.

Wagoner, appointed last week by GM's board to lead consideration of the alliance, told business news channel CNBC in an interview broadcast live from Detroit on Tuesday, July 11, that he looked forward to meeting Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn.

"It's an interesting idea," Wagoner told CNBC. "We look forward to sitting down with Carlos Ghosn soon. When this idea was presented, we said we'll take a good look at it. We are looking forward to sitting down. Our minds are completely open."

Under the terms of the proposed tie-up, Nissan and Renault could take a stake in GM as all three sides work to capture savings by sharing the costs of developing new products and buying components.

GM's board on Friday, July 7, approved exploratory talks on the three-way alliance, putting Wagoner in charge of evaluating the potential benefits of a tie-up with Nissan and Renault, which are both headed by Ghosn.

But Kirk Kerkorian, GM's largest individual shareholder and the catalyst for the proposed tie-up, has called for the review to be entrusted to a board committee with access to outside advisors.

Analysts had expected Wagoner to oppose the potential tie-up, saying it could endanger or end his tenure at the head of the world's largest automaker by sales.

But Wagoner told CNBC that was a misperception, saying he had "great support from the (GM) board of directors."

Some analysts see Kerkorian's bid aimed principally at raising the pressure on Wagoner and trying to replace him with Ghosn, who is widely respected by investors for his success in bringing Nissan back from the brink of failure.

Wagoner has faced some criticism for not laying out clearer financial goals for GM as it restructures -- an area where investors and analysts say Ghosn has excelled.

"I work for all of our shareholders and all of our board members," Wagoner said when asked about Kerkorian's perceived criticism of his job. "The goal is to get the GM structure to be competitive in the future and provide the best returns for our shareholders."

GM'S OUTLOOK

GM lost $10.6 billion in 2005 as it struggled with high labor costs, sluggish sales of SUVs and loss of U.S. market share to foreign rivals.

Wagoner on Tuesday said the world's largest automaker expected flat U.S. auto sales over the next six months to a year, but does not foresee a recession barring some unforeseen economic shock.

Wagoner also said GM was making progress in talks with its former subsidiary and major parts supplier Delphi Corp. and its labor unions aimed at avoiding a costly work stoppage.

"We are making progress, but it would be misleading if I said (a deal) was imminent," Wagoner told CNBC.

Wagoner and Ghosn are expected to meet in Detroit on Friday, July 14.

Although Ghosn has expressed an interest in taking a stake of up to 20 percent for Nissan-Renault, according to a person familiar with the proposal, Wagoner said on Tuesday that GM still had not received any formal proposal.

"We need to get in and look at the details," Wagoner said. "It really gets in to what kind of products can you share, what kind of powertrains can you share."
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Old 07-13-2006, 01:03 AM
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AutoExtremist says the deal is dead, Wagoner has done a great job of stonewalling but speaking softly.
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Old 07-13-2006, 08:40 AM
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I can't remember where I read it, but there was an article that explained how Ghosn orginally looked at Ford, and Ford turned him down, though they did try to tap him as the next CEO there. Ghosn, turn THAT down. I agree with the consensus that this would be a bad deal for GM, and good for Nissan. Nissan needs cheap, production capacity; GM has alot of plants not being used... GM can correct itself if it stays the course with a good plan. Obviously, there product (especially the interiors) are finally looking like world class stuff. I also agree that a Ford/Nissan alliance would be more beneficial to Ford than a GM/Nissan alliance would be to GM.
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Old 07-13-2006, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by titan
I also agree that a Ford/Nissan alliance would be more beneficial to Ford than a GM/Nissan alliance would be to GM.
Ford needs whatever they can get. They purged any and all talent in their organization a long time ago.
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Old 07-14-2006, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by M TYPE X
Ford needs whatever they can get.


Truer words have never been spoken.

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Old 07-16-2006, 02:30 PM
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Ghosn tells CNBC: "I'm not going to run any other third company" - - By DAVID GUILFORD | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS - - Source: Autoweek

Carlos Ghosn says he has no interest in running General Motors in the event of an alliance involving GM, Renault and Nissan.

"I'm not going to run any other third company," said Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan. He made his comments Thursday in an interview with the CNBC cable network.

Ghosn is expected to meet with GM CEO Rick Wagoner on Friday to discuss a possible alliance that grew out of Ghosn's discussions with investor Kirk Kerkorian, who controls 9.9 percent of GM stock.

Ghosn also said:

A possible alliance should be studied jointly by teams made up of one expert each from GM, Nissan and Renault.

Nissan wants to produce some vehicles in GM's North American assembly plants.

An alliance could avert some GM layoffs and plant closings because "Nissan needs capacity in North America -- period," Ghosn said.

A serious alliance would require that Renault-Nissan hold a substantial equity stake in GM. "I suspect the stake would be big," Ghosn said. Initial reports said Renault and Nissan would buy 10 percent of GM stock apiece.

In interviews published Thursday with the Wall Street Journal and France's Le Monde newspaper, Ghosn said that any deal with GM needed to boost the existing alliance between Renault and Nissan.

In his interview with Le Monde, Ghosn said there was no point in entering detailed negotiations if the willingness to look seriously at a deal was not there on both sides. "Without any hunger, (talks) would be a waste of time," he was quoted as saying.

"We have to overcome the optimism of some and the skepticism of others in order to evaluate objectively the potential of an alliance," Ghosn said.

Under a tie-up, Nissan and Renault could take a stake in GM as the three companies look to capture savings by sharing the costs of developing new products and buying components.

"There is no reason it cannot work if we undertake this project in the same spirit as that we worked on with Nissan," he told Le Monde.

"The only valid question is whether an alliance with GM could accelerate, strengthen or increase the success of the plans underway at Renault and Nissan," he was quoted as saying.

Wagoner said on Tuesday, July 11, the proposed alliance was an "interesting idea" that would get full consideration from GM.

Some analysts had expected Wagoner to oppose the potential tie-up, saying it could endanger or end his tenure at the head of the world's largest automaker by sales.

GM's board last week approved exploratory talks on a three-way alliance with Nissan and Renault, increasing the pressure on GM's Wagoner at a crucial point in the automaker's turnaround.

Kerkorian objected to the board decision. Rather than GM management, Kerkorian wanted an independent board committee with access to outside advisors to investigate the possible alliance.

Reuters contributed to this report.

--------------------------


Interview Transcript
Here is a transcript of the Thursday interview that CNBC's Maria Bartiromo conducted with Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan.

CNBC: In terms of geopolitical events, we've been reporting about all of the violence in the Middle East. Oil prices are at a record high. As a global businessman, have these events changed the way you operate?

Ghosn: Certainly the fact that oil is becoming more and more expensive and we're seeing it at $75 a barrel, we have to take this in concentration in our product planning, technology planning. So we are making substantial and significant changes into product coming in the next three to four years. This is without any doubt a factor influencing the technology and influencing the product that car manufacturers will offer.

CNBC: Tomorrow you have a meeting with the CEO of General Motors, Rick Wagoner. How did that come about? Kirk Kerkorian called you, and invited you to dinner. Tell us how this came about?

Ghosn: This started with a meeting that I had with Jerry York. You know, I have known about Jerry for awhile, but in fact I'd never met him. So I met him the first time at his request. We talked about change… change about the industry. Then he said, ‘Would you agree to meet with Kirk Kerkorian at the first opportunity?' I said fine.

I happened to be in the United States for the inauguration of the new headquarters of Nissan in Nashville. So we met on the 15th. And then during the dinner we had some exchanges about the industry, and how the Renault-Nissan alliance is working.

Here's something very interesting: People talk about the alliance, but they don't know exactly what the alliance is. What does it mean? They compare Renault-Nissan to DaimlerChrysler and other kids of collaborations.

Renault-Nissan is completely different, because we still have two independent companies. Each one is based in a different country. Two different executives, two different boards, two different stocks.

[By contrast,] DaimlerChrysler is a merger. You have one company, one board, one stock… I'm not saying one is better than the other. I'm just saying they are just different. So I spend some time explaining what the alliance is about, and how it evolved, and why the alliance is getting results.

CNBC: In Kerkorian's letter to Rick Wagoner, he said the Renault-Nissan partnership alliance has created tremendous synergies in terms of engineering, manufacturing and marketing — resulting in great benefits. What would be the benefits of an alliance with GM?

Ghosn: Well that's one of the reasons why we are meeting. It is because the Renault-Nissan alliance has been successful.

And it wasn't successful just for one year, or two years. This thing has been going for seven years. For seven years, the two companies have grown, and the two companies have been very profitable.

So on a long-term basis, this is a concept which is working and has delivered a lot of results. So the question now is: Is this something we can expand to a third party? And what kind of benefits are we going to get?

That's one of the reasons we are meeting with Rick. We will say, ‘Can we outline all the different areas where we think there will be synergies? And second, can we quantify the synergies?

Obviously we're not going to do it one on one. We have to have some experts from each company [to meet and generate data] that we can agree on. This the first step. This is a very important [question]: What is at stake? The second step is: How do you deliver these results, which would be related to organization and structure.

CNBC: So you are going to have independent outsiders in this meeting to assess whether or not an alliance…

Ghosn: No I don't think so. I think the first meeting is going to be mainly one-on-one at the top level to see how can we quantify what is at stake. What's the price, OK? To quantify this price, I think we're going to need our own experts. You're going to need one GM expert, one Renault expert and one Nissan expert in [each] specific area. [They would] meet together, and agree that we can expect this kind of benefit if we do things together.

CNBC: Have you spoken to Rick Wagoner yet, at all?

Ghosn: Oh yeah. I had him on the phone a couple of times already.

CNBC: And what has been Wagoner's reaction to this?

Ghosn: Well you know he has had a very open reaction. Because the Renault-Nissan alliance has been extremely successful, we're a little bit optimistic. But if you were coming from an experience which was not so successful, you'd be a little bit more skeptical.

Which I understand. So I think we're going to have to sit down and meet together... There are a lot of things at stake. That's why I want to be very cautious and look at the way we want to run it.

CNBC: Let me bring on Lee Iacocca, another really icon in the automotive industry. He talked about one the biggest problems facing GM. I'd like you to hear what he had to say and then react to it. Listen to Lee Iacocca.

Lee Iacocca: The healthcare and pension costs for Toyota are just minimal compared to General Motors. I think General Motors' own numbers show they pay $1,500 a car for health care. Toyota pays about $250… So they have some built-in advantages...

CNBC: That was Lee Iacocca… What do you think about that? Is this GM's biggest problem?

Ghosn: Well, there is no doubt about the fact that health care and pension costs are a factor. So, you see, the older the workforce is, the higher the cost. If you have a younger workforce, it's an advantage. If you have an older workforce it's a disadvantage.

When you compare the United States to other countries, this is something you have to take into consideration. For example, European companies don't have to care about [pensions and health care]. It's paid by the government.

CNBC: But at some point, don't you face the same legacy issues?

Ghosn: Well, obviously, one day you are going to face it because your workforce is going to get older and you're going to have these pension costs. But today, you prepare for it. You know that if you don't do anything, you're going to get huge costs that you cannot manage. So you are trying to modify your system little by little [so you won't] face the same kind of problem.

CNBC: There is some speculation that prior to your talks with Tracinda and Wagoner, you were talking with Ford and the Ford family. And basically Kirk Kerkorian crashed that party. What has the Ford family asked you to do?

Ghosn: I have contacts with all the top executives of this industry, we know each other, we have been there for a long time. I've known Bill Ford for a very long time, we have exchanges. I don't think that saying that we had talks about the alliance is really very serious, we didn't.

CNBC: They wanted you to run the company, though.

Ghosn: Well this is a different story and a different subject. I don't think they were talking about the alliance. I've always said that I am very open, but there is no necessity to expand the alliance to a third partner. Renault-Nissan can compete together and hopefully be very successful. But if there is an opportunity to expand the alliance, we'll look at it. And that's what we are doing.

CNBC: But why GM and not Ford?

Ghosn: Well, because the request came from GM. The initiative came from them.

CNBC: Right, but Ford did ask you to get involved somehow, either run the company or take a part in the organization there.

Ghosn: No, I don't think there was any request by any other car manufacturer directly or indirectly to be part of the alliance. The first initiative that was taken was Kirk Kerkorian's [initiative] through Tracinda.

CNBC: Let me ask you about this big news today on Ford. The company cut its dividend in half. It's also cutting the fees that it pays to the board members. Many people question the viability of Ford if in fact we were to see Nissan and GM and Renault have this alliance. Is Ford in big trouble if in fact these three get together?

Ghosn: I don't think that [an] alliance [would fix] the fundamental problems of one specific company. The fundamental problems that a company faces has to be fixed by the management of the company itself. Nobody can do it for them.

When the alliance between Renault and Nissan was completed, Renault lent some skills and experts to Nissan, but Nissan did the job by itself. And nobody could do the job for Nissan in terms of revival and back to profits.

Certainly I think this is going to be the case for any car manufacturer. If you are in the alliance, you going to benefit from benchmarking…You are going to benefit from skills, expertise, whatever you need. But at the end of the day, you've got to do the job by yourself.

Frankly, I don't think [the auto industry] has any situation which has no solution. Every single problem has a solution. It's more or less hard, more or less obvious -- but you have a solution. And I don't think… an alliance threatens the existence of another company. Because if alliances are not managed well, they can be a liability.

CNBC: People are worried that you can't handle another job. You're already running Renault, and you're running Nissan. One company is based in Paris, one is based in Tokyo. How are you going to run a third company? Are you stretched too thin?

Ghosn: Well, I'm not going to run any other third company. That's not what is at stake here. What is at stake here is building an alliance with a third company and working with this company. If an alliance is set up,we would do anything we can… to help it be successful and, second, to develop the synergies.

CNBC: Are you saying categorically that you do not want to run GM?

Ghosn: I'm saying, categorically, it's out of the question that I would add [a third job] on top of my two present responsibilities, which is being CEO of Renault and Nissan.

CNBC: … CNBC automotive reporter Phil LeBeau interviewed GM CEO Rick Wagoner earlier this week. He joins us now in Chicago.

CNBC: Hi Maria. Mr. Ghosn, this is Phil LeBeau. I don't know if you had a chance to see the interview we did with Mr. Wagoner. I'd like to play one of his comments, when we asked him what could be gained from an alliance. Here's what Mr. Wagoner had to say on Tuesday.

Wagoner: I've known Carlos through business relationships for a long time. [I've know him] more than a decade, and have great respect and admiration for him. Beyond that, let's see what happens as far as the future develops. But he's obviously someone who's done a fine job… and knows the business, and I'm privileged to know a lot of people in our business. I think he's a very good one.

CNBC: Can you work with Ghosn?

Wagoner: We'll worry about that when the time comes. Let's see what works for the company first and then we'll worry about the right way to run them. I don't see any problem working [with Ghosn].

Really, in my career I've not had trouble working with anybody. We worked very well with the Fiat management as long as that deal was in place. We've worked with Japanese management, and we've had alliances with others. So it's not my experience to have trouble working with any other businesses.

CNBC: That was Mr. Wagoner talking about working with you, Mr. Ghosn. From your perspective, could you work with Rick Wagoner? Could he run General Motors while you run Nissan and Renault?

Ghosn: Well, there is no doubt about it. If we find an agreement on the synergies…and if we agree… to deliver the synergies, that's what an alliance would require.

I've known Rick for a long time. I think we've always had a very open discussion about many issues. I think he's somebody who is pleasant to work with. So I have no problems with this. I understand that in order to work well with people there must be some kind of basic agreement that you need to follow. And if the basic agreement is very clear, there will be no problem.

CNBC: One more comment from Rick Wagoner. Here's what he had to say when it came to the question of looking for those areas where Nissan, Renault and General Motors could work together.

CNBC: Rick can you see this alliance producing value for General Motors' shareholders?

Wagoner: We need to look at the details because of our experience with alliances -- and we've had a lot of them over the years, as you know. What kind of products can you share? What kind of powertrains can you share? Where are there opportunities to work together in distribution?

So you really need to get into the details. How do product cycles run ? We know how to do it. We look forward to doing it. We've done it with other [automakers] So we're going to do that. It's really a pretty straightforward exercise much of the time to figure out what the value is for the shareholders.

CNBC: Mr. Ghosn?

Ghosn: Well, I agree with Rick. It's obvious that you need to know first what are the different areas [of cooperation.]

Obviously they have a lot of experience having partnerships and joint ventures with many car manufacturers. We have our own experience [with] Renault and Nissan. And that's one of the benefits of sitting together and [sharing] our own experience.

But at the end of the day you have to bring in your experts -- though not many of them. At least you have to pick one of them for every single area of opportunity that you consider.

Powertrains are one area, platforms are another area, purchasing is a third area. You can take [R&D] as a fourth area. You can take all the areas and you to agree on the different areas where we think there are synergies. Get the experts and tell them how much at a minimum you can work together, and how much is the maximum we can shoot for.

And then, we define what is at stake… And if you think that the stakes are big enough, then you're going to have to build an organization in order to deliver.

CNBC: Have you spoken to the unions and discussed a possible alliance with any union? From their perspective, there's probably going to be more plant closings and job losses if we are talking about synergies.

Ghosn: You know, I think that the job losses and the plant closings have already taken place. I don't there we're going to have [any cutbacks] on top of what exists.. When you talk about North America, these decisions have already been made by the present management.

Those [cuts] are going to continue whether there is an alliance or not. On the contrary, I think if we agree on an alliance, you may stop some of the job losses and you may probably reduce some of the plant closings for a very simple reason. Nissan needs more [production] capacity in North America. Period.

CNBC: So it's a positive for you.

Ghosn: So we have an option. We can build a new plant or we use an existing plant. There is no other option. Obviously, if there is no alliance you're going to build a new plant.

If there is an alliance, you're going to consider whether you can use existing capacity somewhere… Obviously it would be a benefit for the two parties.

One party does not have to make such a huge investment to build a new plant. And the other party does not have to spend so much money to close a plant and reduce the workforce. So, these are the kinds of synergies we're going to take a close look at.

CNBC: Some people say this is an effort on the part of both companies, Nissan and GM, to really get at, fight against a common enemy – Toyota.

Ghosn: We have a common objective. [We want to] attract as many customers as possible. That's the main objective. It's not so much to combat one or the other competitor. It's mainly to bring to this customer as much as possible… I don't think this [alliance's purpose] is to conquer any particular company.

CNBC: The proposal on the table -- as we read it in the papers so far -- is for Nissan to take a 10 percent stake and for Renault to take a 10 percent stake. That's 20 percent. Could this deal be done without a stake?

Ghosn: It depends on the synergies... If the synergies are very big, I think exchanging shareholdings – and especially taking some share holdings -- is very important. It gives the signal inside the companies that this is serious and this is long-lasting.

CNBC: So you want a stake?

Ghosn: I think so. I don't believe that anything serious will happen for the long term if there is not a stake… At the end of the day, you want the people inside your company to sense that the success of the other company is good because you benefit from it. The best way to do it is take a stake in it.

CNBC: Will you take less than 10 percent?

Ghosn: Frankly, it is too early to talk about this. First you need to know what are the synergies. Maybe after we see the possibilities, we'll say it's not worth it. So let's not even talk about organizational structures before we see what is at stake. I suspect that the stake will be big, but we have to sit down and size it up… Then you say what kind of organization and what kind of shareholding you have.

CNBC: It is no secret that the American automakers have lagged behind the Japanese automakers in terms of quality. What is wrong with the American quality in cars?

Ghosn: I think the gap has been reduced. You're going to see more and more reduction of this gap in the future.

CNBC: Why?

Ghosn: With quality, like anything else, if you work at it you're going to get it.

CNBC: Is that the main problem?

Ghosn: I think so… If you make it a priority, you're going to get good at it. Now, the [definition of quality] is going through a shift away from “things gone wrong,” which is what people are now fixing. You've got to get more things you like.

Do you like the materials, the colors, the fit, the sound? You've got to take the good cars apart. In the past, [the quality question] was: ‘Is the car reliable? Is the car durable?' Now, we're shifting…to the question: Did I get the right colors, features, material, sound, into the car?

CNBC: One year ago, I asked you how business was and you said it is turning down. People are buying fewer SUVs... Where are we right now in terms of business? What do you expect in the second half of the year?

Ghosn: In the second half of the year I'm expecting the market to be stable. What's happening in the United States is about the same as what's happening in Europe and Japan, We are seeing that the mature markets are relatively stable, with some shift in the mix of cars sold. People are buying more small cars and fewer big cars.

But the real growth of the industry is happening in the developing markets – China, Russia and India. These are booming markets with double-digit growth rates and that's where everybody is going.

CNBC: Is this an area of synergy for Nissan and GM?

Ghosn: Without any doubt.

CNBC: Is this one of the main topics tomorrow?

Ghosn: This is one of the topics. I would not say that this is the main topic but this will be certainly one of the topics.

CNBC: What is the first thing on your agenda tomorrow when you go in to speak to Wagoner?

Ghosn: I have a program of work and a schedule. Because I don't think this should go as an open-ended process. I think we should set for ourselves a timeline. We should set some milestones, and we have a lot of stakeholders for which we need to talk about what's going on.

So it should be relatively short for people most immediately impacted by this, but also [allow] enough time for our teams and the experts to really size up what's at stake.

CNBC: How long are you going to give it before you can make a decision if this is working or not?

Ghosn: Hopefully before the end of the year it would be clear.
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