Toyota, Nissan global sales fall short of Volkswagen

Toyota, Nissan global sales fall short of Volkswagen

Toyota, Nissan global sales fall short of Volkswagen

Mr Ghosn made the remarks in an interview with Japan's Nikkei newspaper, his first interview since being detained by Japanese authorities on November 19 previous year.

Once the three carmakers were more closely integrated, Mr Ghosn wanted to ensure there would be "autonomy under one holding company", the newspaper said.

After Ghosn's arrest, Saikawa referred to the "dark side" of his former mentor's tenure and accused him of having accrued too much power.

Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Motors Corp together sold 10.76 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2018, according to Reuters' calculations after new data released on January 30.

Ghosn denied accusations of improper payments to a company run by a Saudi businessman, saying the payment had been approved by a Nissan executive. The payment was made from Ghosn's "CEO reserve", a pot of money that he was free to decide how to spend.

It was the first press interview Ghosn has given since his stunning arrest on November 19, conducted in the Tokyo detention centre where he has languished ever since.

Ghosn's lawyers have failed to get bail due to the court's concerns he would be a flight risk and also possibly try to hide or destroy evidence.

In the interview, he insisted he was not a flight risk.

Ghosn added that his health was fine, and that he wouldn't flee if freed on bail.

As well as the allegations which prompted his arrest, Nissan's investigation "uncovered substantial and convincing evidence of misconduct, resulting in a unanimous board vote to dismiss Ghosn and Kelly", he added. He denied the accusations and claimed "the executive in charge of the region signed [the approval]".

In a letter to Human Rights Watch, Ghosn's wife Carole has claimed he has received "harsh treatment" at the hands of the authorities since his arrest.

While Nissan saw sales of its brands slide 2.8 percent past year, Renault posted a gain of 3.2 percent and Mitsubishi revved 18 percent higher.

The three companies which form the alliance are expected to revisit how it is operated in the absence of Ghosn's leadership. In a response issued minutes after the interview's publication, a Nissan spokesman said Saikawa previously refuted the notion of a coup. He said he and Hiroto Saikawa, whom he had appointed as CEO of Nissan at the beginning of 2017, discussed the subject frequently in early 2018 but that talks had slowed over the summer before the two met in September.

'Nissan remains steadfast in its commitment to the Alliance and will continue to support its partners in the best interests of shareholders, customers and employees'.

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