Daily Edition: Nov. 14, 2005

November 14, 2005

Ghosn Defends Move to Tennessee

Surveys already indicate that Nissan North America will lose relatively few senior managers as it starts to shift its headquarters from Southern California to Tennessee, says Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's chairman and chief executive officer.

"Almost all of them will come," said Ghosn, as he defended the decision to move the company to a new $70 million facility near Nashville over the next two years.

"People are attached to the company and they're attached to what happened in the last five or six years. They're proud of it," he said. "The top management of North America, almost all of them, will make the move and those that don't make the move, it's because they have very important personal issues."

Ghosn also made it plain that as far as he was concerned, Nissan had not benefited all that much from having its headquarters near L.A.

"Let me remind you that before 1999, Nissan was struggling. It had struggled for ten years. Frankly one of the features of our brand and our company is, we say, "Bold and Forceful." So breaking out of existing molds is not something we stay away from," he told a small group of reporters during a roundtable discussion at Nashville's historic Hermitage Hotel after a press conference at which he announced the decision that Nissan's North American headquarters would leave L.A. by the end of 2008. The move will start next summer.

The Nissan chief executive officer also emphasized the move was thoughtfully analyzed and carefully studied.

"Do you think the headquarters makes the cars? The design center remains in San Diego and engineering remains in Detroit. Frankly product planning people are always traveling," he said. "We have design centers all across the world. It has nothing to do with headquarters. Most of the jobs (at headquarters) are support functions," he said.

Ghosn Defends Move to Tennessee (11/13/2005)
Not a cost-cutting decision, Nissan CEO says.

DaimlerChrysler Sells Last of Mitsu

DaimlerChrysler AG will continue to collaborate with Mitsubishi Motor Corp. despite the sale of its remaining Mitsubishi stock and the resignation of its representative on the Japanese automaker's board of directors.

The German-American automaker did not say exactly how it will account for the sale of its 12.4-percent stake in the Japanese automaker's capital stock to the investment firm of Goldman Sachs. However, it noted its income in 2005 will improve by approximately $590 million.

Originally, DaimlerChrysler paid approximately $2.1 billion for a 27-percent stake in MMC back in 2000, at a point when most automotive assets were overvalued. The exact impact on financial income will be disclosed after closing, which will take place by the end of November at the latest, according to the DaimlerChrysler statement.

Both companies said they intend to continue working together as business partners on a project-by-project basis.

"MMC will maintain the relationship with DaimlerChrysler as business partners where both parties continue working on individual alliance projects that are mutually beneficial,'' Mitsubishi said in a statement acknowledging the sales of DaimlerChrysler shares. In addition, DaimlerChrysler and MMC plan to renew and extend current projects which are mutually beneficial.

DaimlerChrysler Sells Last of Mitsu (11/13/2005)
Star-crossed partnership ends, but collaborations will not.

GM Dogged by Bankruptcy Talk

Speculation inside the financial world about bankruptcy, fueled by the disaster at Delphi Corp., continues to haunt General Motors Corp.

The speculation is fed, GM officials acknowledge, by a run of bad news this fall that has left the company on the defensive and searching for a way to repair the its dented image.

The latest bit of news, the disclosure the automotive giant plans to restate its earnings for 2001, was followed by report from Bank of America suggesting there is a 40 percent chance GM will file a bankruptcy petition within the next two years.

GM spokesman Jerry Dubrowski, however, reiterated that GM is not considering filing for bankruptcy. "We have no intention of filing for bankruptcy, and we're not going to comment on sensational speculation," he said. GM has very practical reasons for staying out of bankruptcy court, he added. "People will fly on bankrupt airline. They aren't going to spend $30,000 or $40,000 with a bankrupt auto company," he said. In addition, GM is sitting on cash reserves of more than $19 billion.

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