Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn insists the company will not be a “soft target” and cites “multiple proofs” in the ongoing industial espionage case surrounding the French automaker.
Speaking on French television, Ghosn declined to go into specifics, referring constantly to judicial process, but he did note Renault’s ethics committee, as well as “dozens of people”, were involved in examining the matter that has seen three of the automaker’s top executives suspended.
Ghosn said he came to his conclusion following input from Renault security teams, as well as management and operations. “All these people came to a conclusion [that] they shared with me,” he said.
“I had to take a decision bearing in mind I had to protect Renault. These proofs are multiple. All these elements have been put to the justice [system] and I have every confidence in French justice.
“We have said we will cooperate completely and in a very transparent manner – we will be discreet about this matter.”
There has been speculation – strenuously denied by one of the executives named – concerning Swiss bank accounts – but Ghosn declined to be drawn, insisting: “It is not for us to transform ourselves into a judicial process.”
The Renault chief did, however, mention the question of how to develop affordable batteries and that speculation had mounted as to how the manufacturer was able to do that at a reasonable price.
“It is normal there is curiosity around how do you do that with an affordable car, that you can justify the investment,” he said. “We have no proof the technology itself was the object of this approach – we think it is the economic system.”
Ghosn also firmly declined to comment on suggestions there might be some Chinese involvement, while highlighting the fact Nissan had already launched its Leaf model in the US and Japan.
“We are on schedule – the first electric car has already launched in the US and Japan,” he said. “Renault will have three cars in 2011 and, with these three cars, we will be right on the offensive.
“We don’t want to be a soft target – we know this interests a lot of competitors.”
He batted away any suggestions programmes could be delayed or cancelled – “in no case” – insisting the automaker was “two or three years ahead of our competitors” and repeating “we are not a soft target.”