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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Carlos Ghosn's new battle: Restoring his name

Zoom interview with Carlos Ghosn

Opinions on Carlos Ghosn are sharply divided, not only in Japan but in the international community.

Ghosn has plenty of defenders who see him as the victim of a corporate coup. But there is also no shortage of detractors who have the visceral belief he is simply a greedy crook.

Today, nearly three years after his shocking arrest in Tokyo. Ghosn himself is focused on rehabilitating his image.

And we tell you how on Page 1 of Monday's issue. The story, posted online today, comes from our Asia Editor, Hans Greimel.

Hans writes from a rare perch of authority on Ghosn. He joined Automotive News in 2007 and covered the executive for 11 years as the head of Nissan, Renault and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

Hans has followed Ghosn to jails and courtrooms, Tokyo streets and athletic clubs, and even to Beirut, where the former rock star CEO now lives in exile.

That rich expertise seeps through the pages of Hans' book on Ghosn, Collision Course, which was published in June.

We ran two excerpts in late spring. One put a spotlight on the fog of competing narratives that surrounded the arrest. The other focused on how the alliance teetered following Ghosn's downfall.

The latest tale comes from a video interview.

In it, Ghosn says that rebooting his reputation will be a long, uphill climb — and acknowledges his good name will likely never be fully recovered.

"It's a lifelong battle," Ghosn told Hans. "You can't measure the damage. You can't measure the rehabilitation."

With Ghosn still sheltering as a fugitive in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan, he is unlikely to ever stand trial in Tokyo.

The full facts of the matter — evidence compiled by prosecutors and stored up by the defense — may never become public.

And that, at least, gives Ghosn an opening to broadcast his side of the story with impunity from his enclave in the Middle East.

Dave Versical

Reputation

“Price is the biggest driver of negative sentiment is what we’re finding right now, and so dealers have to find ways now to navigate through that conversation and really try to improve the customer experience in other ways.”

- ALI FAWAZ, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT REPUTATION, WHICH HELPS AUTOMOTIVE BRANDS AND DEALERSHIP GROUPS MANAGE ONLINE REVIEWS AND CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

From “Penske, Hendrick tops in online reputation study”

In Monday's Automotive News:

Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn still in the game: The most intensive, nerve-racking moment in Ghosn’s daring getaway from Japan came as airport security debated whether to scan the trunk he was hiding in before it was loaded on the plane. Still an indicted international fugitive, Ghosn talks to Automotive News in a wide-ranging video interview from his home in Lebanon. The former Renault/Nissan leader’s task now is to rehabilitate his reputation, and by his own admission it’ll be a long and difficult fight. But he’s stepping up his counterattack, filing a lawsuit in Lebanon against Nissan and his Japanese prosecutors. And fresh on the heels of publishing a new book, Ghosn says he is already planning a second volume that will deeply examine what he describes as the conspiracy that took him down. Meanwhile, Ghosn still keeps tabs on the auto business and says he is regularly approached for consultancy help from auto startups.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla’s market share power play? More than five of every eight electric vehicles registered in the U.S. this year through August were Tesla Model Y crossovers or Model 3 sedans, underscoring the automaker’s increased reliance on its less-expensive models. Automotive News talks with Edmunds about what this might say about Tesla’s strategy in the face of an anticipated onslaught of rival EV releases in coming years.

Weekend headline

Bart Reagor found guilty: Reagor's Texas-based Reagor Dykes Auto Group imploded in 2018 after Ford Credit and other lenders sued for floorplan fraud. He was found guilty Friday by a federal jury of one count of false statement to a bank.

Stellantis to cut Ontario minivan plant down to one shift: The automaker blamed the ongoing semiconductor shortage and COVID-19 pandemic for the change beginning in the spring of 2022.

Musk dials into VW executive conference: The comments on Thursday by Musk to a Volkswagen managers gathering in Alpbach, Austria, included praise of VW for being an "icon" and Tesla's greatest challenger.

Subaru BRZs

Toyota, Subaru hot for small, affordable cars: Does it make sense these days to invest in a new generation of small, gasoline-powered, modestly priced sports cars? Absolutely, say Toyota and Subaru.

ZF Marysville

ZF plant in Mich. to recognize employees’ union choice: The Marysville factory of global supplier ZF Friedrichshafen said it will recognize UAW representation for its employees following a one-week strike by some workers last month.

Jorgensen Ford

Feldman Automotive snags Jorgensen Ford in Detroit: The group acquired the Jorgensen Ford Sales Inc. dealership in Detroit in a partnership that Feldman says makes it the only minority-owned dealership in the city.

Top Five U.S. Lease Deals
MarketScan
What are the best deals nationally this week across the U.S.? Market Scan's Payment Value Index (PVI) analyzes the relationship between MSRP* and the monthly payment to determine which lease deal delivers the best "bang for the buck.” For more information, visit www.marketscan.com.
Crossover/ SUV
PVI Year Make Model Average MSRP* Average Best Payment
94.87 2021 HYUNDAI KONA EV $42,783.33 $305.03
93.89 2022 KIA NIRO EV $43,495.00 $339.80
92.06 2021 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER PHEV $39,956.67 $368.96
91.90 2021 KIA NIRO PLUG-IN HYBRID $34,176.67 $318.78
91.83 2020 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER PHEV $40,190.00 $380.02
Van
PVI Year Make Model Average MSRP* Average Best Payment
88.42 2022 HONDA ODYSSEY $40,767.00 $502.32
87.63 2022 KIA CARNIVAL $39,375.00 $510.76
87.38 2021 HONDA ODYSSEY $40,327.00 $533.47
86.98 2021 TOYOTA SIENNA $44,128.64 $600.30
86.98 2022 TOYOTA SIENNA $44,471.18 $602.61
Hatchback
PVI Year Make Model Average MSRP* Average Best Payment
90.88 2021 HONDA CIVIC TYPE R $41,940.00 $426.54
89.87 2021 HONDA CIVIC HATCHBACK $26,378.33 $290.53
89.36 2022 HONDA CIVIC HATCHBACK $27,098.33 $310.58
88.41 2022 MINI HARDTOP 2 DOOR $28,416.67 $345.06
88.05 2022 MINI HARDTOP 4 DOOR $26,750.00 $333.94
* Average MSRP is the average of the MSRP of all the individual trim levels for each model, and includes all taxes, registration and average dealership fees. Based on 36-month lease, 12,000 miles per year, 720 credit score, customer cash = 5% of MSRP, Selling Price = MSRP

Source: Payment Value Index (PVI) ™, a trademark of Market Scan Information Systems, Inc.
Available through captive lender
Available through non-captive lender
Events:
Oct. 26: Chevy reveals 2023 Corvette Z06

Earnings:
Oct. 20: Lithia, Tesla
Oct. 21: Ally, AutoNation
Oct. 22: Gentex
Oct. 26: Asubry Automotive
Oct. 27: GM, Ford
Oct. 21: Ally
Oct. 27: GM, Ford, Penske Automotive
Oct. 28: Sonic Automotive, Stellantis, Group 1 Automotive
Nov. 4: Aptiv, Carvana

A selection from Daily Drive:

Oct. 17: SHIFT: Chelsey Colbert on new 'gold standard' for transportation data privacy (Episode 120)

The policy counsel for the Future of Privacy Forum discusses the potential risks of sharing information from dockless scooter rides, the emerging debate over AI and driver monitoring cameras, and the words that "make privacy nerds bristle."

Listen to the Podcast >

Oct. 14: DAILY DRIVE: Wireless EV charging obstacles, opportunities

Oak Ridge National Laboratory teams believe on-the-go wireless EV charging will help eliminate range anxiety and reduce strain on the nation's power grid.

Listen to the Podcast >

Oct. 13: DAILY DRIVE: What suppliers need from automakers during chip crisis

Former TI Fluid Systems boss Bill Kozyra says there needs to be greater transparency among automakers and suppliers for the industry to successfully exit the microchip crisis.

Listen to the podcast >

Oct. 19, 1927: Date of birth of Red McCombs, who built his Texas dealership empire from a pair of used-car stores in Corpus Christi. McCombs’ business enterprises spanned real estate to energy, professional sports (San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Vikings) to philanthropy. But it was his start in automotive retail that launched what would become McCombs Enterprises, the umbrella company serving all of his businesses. “I built a business empire working out of an office at a car dealership,” he told Automotive News in a 2011 profile. His dealership group would grow into the sixth largest in the U.S., counting sales of $1.3 billion in 1997. McCombs Automotive ranked No. 61 on Automotive News’ latest list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 13,938 new vehicles in 2020.

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