Even if the bloom is off, I admit to being fascinated by Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan. Not a highly original thought, but he is a Brazilian native, to French parents with a Lebanese heritage, sporting a Spanish first name, running a Franco-Japanese company. And, notwithstanding the Nissan turnaround, there are many doubts about his current reign and the promised $3,000 car.
Whatever one might say about the occidental Logan and the slagging top line (not to discard the improving bottom line), for the version of the new Logan destined for India and built via a JV with Mahindra Renault, the company has managed to come in under cost and ahead of schedule for the $7,100 car. Including supped-up suspension (to handle the Indian potholes) and improved air conditioning (vital), this new car is a phenomenon.
Then, I hear of the new factory in Iran, in conjunction with IKCO (ever heard of them?)*. In an agreement set up prior to the UN sanctions, this factory is producing the local version of the Logan, the “Tondar.” They have registered more than 100,000 pre-orders for this car. It resonates with me to say that this is the first “modern” car to be available in Iran for an entire generation. A way to win the hearts & minds of the Iranians (ref to my prior blog on “Containment”)?
Ghosn is perhaps small and frugal, but his impact is enormous, worldwide, and even generous!
* if you didn’t know, Iran Khodro is the Middle East’s biggest car maker. I certainly had no idea. Makes me ponder my level of ignorance that I have never heard of them. Courtesy of my father, Victor Dial, I am emboldened to give a little history:
“They assembled a Chrysler-Simca-Talbot-Peugeot car (based on the Sunbeam). It was called the Peykan. Imported cars were strictly licensed. You had to assemble to sell, and you needed a license for that. There were only three such licenses and these were awarded based on the number of cylinders in the engine – a unique method. Iran National (later Khodro) had a monopoly on 4-cylinder engines. Citroen had the monopoly for 2-cylinder engines (Citroen was the only manufacturer producing such an engine), and Jeep US had the monopoly of 6-cylinder engines. Iran National, as it was called then, had about 90% of the market. The Shah had a majority, but secret interest in Iran National, which also made Mercedes trucks and busses. When Khomeini took over it was obviously nationalized, and the name was changed to Khodro.”