The irresistible rise of Carlos Ghosn

THERE was a time when Renault Sport boss Patrick Faure had ambitions of becoming the boss of the entire Renault company, as the successor to current chairman Louis Schweitzer. But now the company has decided that Schweitzer should remain in charge until 2007 and by then Faure will be too old to hold the job for very long. The chances are that he will not get it all because the younger Carlos Ghosn is seen as a much better bet.

Ghosn has spent the last two years turning round the Nissan Motor Company in Japan, following Renault's effective takeover of Nissan. Ghosn came up with a recovery plan for Nissan which seemed unlikely at the time but it is now running ahead of schedule and while most car manufacturers are talking about cutting back, Nissan is in full expansion mode and now says that it is planning to increase sales by one million cars in the next three years. Ghosn says that these will come largely in Asia with an additional 300,000 in both Japan and China, an additional 100,000 in Europe and the remainder from a marketing push in the United States. The sales drive will be supported by no fewer than 12 new models around the world, clearing away some of the less successful cars of recent years.

Faure's only real hope of winning the top job at Renault is if things go wrong for Schweitzer and Ghosn and things go right with the Renault F1 program.

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