Ghosn Turns In Superman Cape

March 16, 2007

Carlos Ghosn’s the only CEO in the auto world to inspire his own comic book. But even the Brazilian with the yen for Japan can’t balance three car empires on his modest shoulders, it turns out — so Ghosn is giving up his role as operating chief of Nissan North America.

Nissan’s sales are soft in America, but they’re also slack in Japan—to the point where Nissan is cutting production at two plants in Japan because of falling demand for its vehicles.

But here in America, things are probably going to get worse before they get better. Nissan sales were off 5.3 percent last year in the U.S., with sales of Infiniti luxury vehicles off more than 11 percent. New products are on the way, but Nissan’s Titan has been a slow seller from its introduction—so slow that a proposed heavy-duty version has been iced. And Ghosn’s decision to move headquarters from L.A. to Nashville left more than half its brain power back in California, a move that could haunt Ghosn’s full-court press on costs.

Right now, there are more soft spots in Ghosn’s empire than a month-old apple. Which makes his desire for another alliance—potentially with Chrysler—seem all the more strange.

GHOSN LETS GO OF AMERICA—TheCarConnection.com

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