The chief executive of Renault, chairman of Mitsubishi Motors, and also chairman of Nissan Carlos Ghosn is now facing financial misconduct. Because of the scandal that he is facing now, Nissan is planning to oust him out from his position, and aside from that, there will be a possibility that he will also meet some charges against him.
The Nissan company has informed the public that they have been doing some investigations for several months already and it shows that Carlos Ghosn has made some acts of misconduct in the company like under-reporting his pay package and even using of the company’s assets. Nissan is known to be the world’s sixth largest car maker, and their biggest car plant is in Sunderland in the UK.
As of today, Carlos Ghosn has been arrested, and according to the chief executive of Nissan, they are going to dismiss him from the Japanese firm because of his financial misconduct.
Along with him, one of the board members, Greg Kelly was also accused of financial misconduct. The whistleblower reported that Mr. Ghosn and Mr. Kelly had collaborated to under-report the income of Mr. Ghosn by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) over a five-year period ending in March 2015. In one of the reports, it is said that Nissan provided a home for Mr. Ghosn in Rio De Janeiro, Beirut, Paris, and Amsterdam. But they have found out that he assertedly paid only part of the rent and did not declare the benefit.
During the news conference, Nissan’s chief executive Hiroto Saikawa gave a statement and said that “I feel despair, indignation and resentment “As the details are disclosed I believe that people will feel the same way as I feel today.”
In Japan’s law, the maximum punishment for the crime of financial misconduct is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million yen ($89,000).
After saving two companies from bankruptcy, he is now on the verge of a scandal that is probably the biggest challenge for him after being successful for how many years. Carlos Ghosn has yet to confirm nor deny the allegations that are thrown at him.
Nissan-Renault’s Ghosn: From Hero To Zero
In a time when Nissan was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, Carlos Ghosn stepped in not only to save the company but help it to rise back as one of the world’s top car manufacturers. Today, Nissan is facing a similar financial crisis, but this time around, the Japanese carmaker had Ghosn removed from the company.
Through Ghosn’s efforts of restructuring and eventually, reintroducing innovations to Nissan, the company rose significantly within the last two decades under Ghosn’s lead. He also made the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi agreement possible that made them one of the leading car companies in the world.
The company had a good track record. But, CNN reported last Tuesday, May 14, that Nissan posted a significant drop in profits where operating profits plunged to 45% at 318 billion yen ($2.9 billion) in the fiscal year that ended in March and revenue fell 3% to about 11.6 trillion yen ($105 billion), while vehicle sales were down 4.4% to 5.5 million.
This is “rock bottom,” Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa said during the earnings presentation.
Moreover, analysts also expect Nissan to plunge at decade-low numbers in the coming year. Nissan forecasts operating profit for the fiscal year to March 2020 would fall to 230 billion ($2.1 billion). Also, Nissan shares closed down at 3% in Tokyo.
On Friday, May 17, the Japanese carmaker proposed plans to make changes within its executive board as a reaction to Ghosn’s fallout from the company.
The firm told shareholders that they would start implementing a new board structure composed of 11 members, which 6 of whom would be external.
“With the lessons from the recent executive misconduct still fresh, Nissan resolves to rigorously pursue the separation of supervisory and executive functions,” said the firm.
Thierry Bollore, Renault’s chief executive and chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will both be included in the proposed board.
Nissan conceded to allowing Senard into the board though Bollore’s urges. The Japanese firm isn’t too happy about Senard siding with Ghosn during his arrest.
On the other hand, Nissan’s current CEO Hiroto Saikawa has also been reported to be pressured from vacating his position in the company for doubts that he is capable of turning things around for the company and his close relations with Ghosn.
Saikawa responded that he wishes to stay on the company until he sees it return to profitability and will consider the idea of stepping down “at the appropriate time.”
Additionally, Saikawa told reporters that Renault chairman Senard “has one idea in mind, which is integration or merger.” He also added that “what we’ve told Mr. Senard is this is not the right timing to discuss this matter.”
Regarding the topic of a possible merger between Renault and Nissan, the Japanese company seems to be against the idea since Nissan brings in a lot more profitable compared to the two. But, ironically, Renault holds more stake in the company.
Obviously, the Japanese brand has been struggling to manage internal structures with Ghosn leaving its ranks for multiple cases alleging financial misconduct.
Allegedly, Ghosn is accused of abusing and taking advantage of his power and position in the company to meet personal gains. Specifically, Ghosn allegedly used a Nissan subsidiary to send millions of dollars of payments to a business partner of the company abroad, which then sent money to a third company that he controlled. The actions were taken for the purpose of obtaining a “personal profit,” The New York Times reports.
Prosecutors accused Ghosn of using the method on three occasions from December 2015 to July 2018, resulting in a total of $5 million in losses to Nissan.
As of date, Ghosn has been arrested on four separate occasions including the first arrest in November on charges of underreporting his compensation. The second when he was rearrested on related charges and then a third time on suspicion that he had shifted his personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books.
However, Ghosn and his team of lawyers have consistently denied all allegations about him. In a video Ghosn posted before his fourth arrest, he told that the allegations made against him “is about a plot, this is about conspiracy, this is about backstabbing.”
Meanwhile, the French carmaker, Renault also made new allegations against Ghosn, claiming that there were “questionable and concealed practices” regarding the expenses made under Ghosn. Moreover, Renault also announced Ghosn’s resignation from its board.
Toyota Proposes The World’s First Ever High-Tech Six-Wheeled Lunar RV
The famous car maker announced that the company’s goal this year will not only focus on making off-road vehicles but is devoted to exploring other fields that will soon open an opportunity for off-world use. Earlier this week, Japan’s national space agency set up a meeting together with Toyota’s managing officers. The result is an unexpected team-up of both companies, derived from Toyota’s ultimate goal which is to build a moon rover that future astronauts will use to travel around the lunar surface.
The Features of the Proposed Lunar Rover
The proposed rover is estimated to be about 20 feet long and 17 feet wide and will build a 140-cubic foot cabin developed to accommodate two passengers and carry four passengers if an
To mobilize the said rover, it will be powered by a fuel cell technology, the same system that Toyota used in some of its earthbound vehicles. Fuel cells, as developed by Toyota, run on oxygen, as well as, hydrogen which produces only water. Meaning to say, the rover will not pollute the lunar surface, unlike other commercial fuels which emit toxic substances.
Unique Characteristic of a Lunar Rover
If the proposed Lunar Rover sparked interest from NASA, it must have a unique quality that may be vital in future missions to the moon and other foreign places. NBC news said that the rover would have a range of more than 6,200 miles which shows a significant difference over the NASA lunar buggies brought to the moon on the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 past missions.
Using Toyota’s Lunar Rover, it will set a new record since those former buggies were designed only for shorter trips with Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmidt set the distance range for a total of 22.3 miles on three separate explorations in December 1972.
Toyota’s Lunar Rover is foreseen as a Lunar RV, where the crews can dive and work all day, then even eat or sleep inside without having to spend a lot of time driving back to the lander every time. NASA expressed that it will be a massive improvement over Apollo’s’ lunar trucks, citing that astronauts had to return to their lander each night because of limited distance these buggies offered.
NASA’s hard-earned lessons on Apollo’s tri missions
It has come to NASA that using the same features that operated its electric vehicles during Apollo’s missions across the lunar surface in 1970 will only hinder astronauts from exploring farther. Aside from that, it needed a new rover that has excellent resistance to long term environmental complication such as dust abrasion, and with an ability to survive, as well as, operate in an extreme radiation condition.
Learning from its shortcomings, the company grabbed its chance to launch the first ever vehicle that looks like a modern off-world SUV.
What to expect on the incoming Lunar Rover?
The proposed rover is designed not only for astronauts to explore farther distances but also intended to have an enclosed and pressurized cabin. Meaning to say, the Lunar RV is capable of traveling both short and more extended range of distances with emergency power module during its habitation. In most cases, astronauts will need pressurized rovers to traverse longer distances in search for water ice and other elements required.
A partnership that can open thousands of possibilities
The Toyota-NASA teaming up in developing the first-ever SUV-like Lunar Rover will be the first in history. It shows that with the advancement of technology, businesses as big as Toyota does not only produce auto vehicles that feed humanity’s hunger for luxury cars but also embraces the fact that the company has a lot to offer. This partnership opens an opportunity for both companies, especially Toyota, to explore another craft which, if deemed successful, can be a big help to our quest on unfolding Lunar mysteries.
Final Plans on the proposed project
According to Koichi Wakata, Vice-President of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said in a written statement that the space agency would be launching the new Lunar Rover in 2029. It added that developing a manned and pressurized rovers will create a big step in supporting lunar exploration and a vital element in discoveries that can change human life in the future.
Tesla Model Y: Not A Saving Grace?
It suffice to say that 2018 was not the most stellar year for Tesla. 2019 alone has Tesla all roughed up, starting with the SEC filing Elon Musk for contempt, announcing and retracting announcements, and foreseeing a not so profitable first quarter.
CEO Elon Musk isn’t new with clashes with the SEC, but it’s starting to take its toll. In his motion against the SEC filing, he said that the proposal to have him held in contempt, caused Tesla’s stock price to go down 3.4 percent.
Moreover, the public and investors are in shambles with Tesla’s on-again and off-again announcements. Earlier in February, the company announced to shut down most of its physical stores to support the $35,000 Model 3 but later on said that it would keep stores open although will raise prices on its other vehicles, instead.
The electric car company hopes to reignite interest and trust in the company’s line of electric vehicles to get it up and running again. Especially now that pre-orders of the Model 3 is, finally, well on its way in terms of production, but significantly the demand for it is fading.
On the other hand, the Sports Utility Vehicle or the SUV market is booming. People seem to want bigger and buffer cars compared to conventional 4-seater passenger cars. As of January, SUVs and crossovers made up 45% of sales in the United States; on average more than two out of three vehicles sold were SUVs.
Car companies are taking note and designing their big rig vehicles to meet customer demands. Last year alone, the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Honda CR-V lead last year’s 4th quarter sales.
Moreover, Jeep sold 20 percent more vehicles in the US than it did three years ago. The company claims that it can even double their profits by 2022.
With the success and attention SUVs are attracting, Tesla can’t help but to want a slice.
Tesla introduced to the public their long-awaited Model Y last Thursday night and reactions aren’t what the company was hoping for. Analysts are saying that the brand new Model Y was “underwhelming,” and that they’re “not surprised.”
Although, Tesla already has an SUV in its line, the Model X, but priced at the more high-end luxury side at a whopping $100,000. Even with prices that high, it only accounted for 15% of Tesla’s sales in the fourth quarter.
Tesla’s stock is down 10% since February and hoped that the unveiling of the Model Y would turn things around. However, it did precisely the opposite. The electric car maker’s stock fell by about 4 percent in intraday trading, further straining shares that are down by more than 16 percent and have lost roughly $7.4 billion in market value so far this year. The company is currently valued at about $48.1 billion.
As of the moment, the Model Y will cost between $39,000 to $60,000 depending on the extras and is about 10 percent bigger than Tesla’s Model 3. It, in fact, has seven seats which we did not see coming as it’s only 10% bigger than the Model 3. The seven-seater feature is seen on the Model X. Moreover, the Model Y has a panoramic glass roof and 66 cubic feet of cargo space.
But, as critics say, Tesla needed to innovate more if they wanted the Model Y to improve their stocks. However, unlike 11 years ago, when Tesla started mass producing electric cars, a lot of car companies have joined the bandwagon and are creating their versions of electric vehicles–Sedans, SUVs, and crossovers.
China, one of Musk’s most desired markets, have at least 48 electric SUVs available in their market according to Autohome. Even though Tesla has stationed a Gigafactory in China, it’s still vague how the company’s future will pan out.
Moreover, the current pricing of Tesla vehicles in China are significantly more expensive than when you purchase it in the US. As of the moment, it’s faith still dangles on it’s Shanghai Gigafactory, hoping to cut prices enough and make Tesla more accessible to the Chinese market.
With all that’s said, with how the public and analysts describe the Model Y, it won’t be Tesla’s saving grace. But, hopes are still high, as the company aims to resolve past issues regarding production and delivery issues that stifled the company’s growth and the public’s favor.
Then again, it would have been wiser if Tesla followed initial advice not to have pursued the mass population and worked with niche markets that allowed it to grow.
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