Auto executive turned international fugitive Carlos Ghosn says German automakers are best positioned to challenge Tesla

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  • Auto executive turned international fugitive Carlos Ghosn believes German automakers are in the best position to challenge electric vehicle leader Tesla.
  • Ghosn, speaking from Lebanon, where the former Nissan chairman had fled to point to Japanese officials, specifically mentioned Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen during an interview on Friday.

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Auto executive turned international fugitive Carlos Ghosn believes German automakers are in the best position to challenge electric vehicle leader Tesla.

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Ghosn, speaking from Lebanon, where the former Nissan chairman fled to point to Japanese officials, mentions Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen exclusively during “The Exchange” during an interview Friday with CNBC’s Phil Lebeau. done during

“In my opinion, it’s going to be a German company,” Ghosn said. “The Germans are the first to heavily criticize and ridicule the electric car in 2008, suddenly realizing they need to move on, and go fast.”

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Ghosn, who is promoting a new book titled “Broken Alliance: Inside the Rise and Fall of a Global Automotive Empire,” said Japanese automakers have been slow to move to electric vehicles, and that’s going to hurt them. Is. He didn’t mention General Motors or Ford Motor, both of which are investing billions in technologies.

Volkswagen has been particularly aggressive in expanding its EV sales globally. The German automaker wants more than 70% of European sales of its Volkswagen brand to be EVs by 2030. In the US and China, it expects half of its sales to be EVs by that time frame.

Regarding the recent boom in electric vehicle start-ups, Ghosn said he believes a lot of companies “will prosper as long as they put their act together.” He did not mention anyone by name, but some of the most high-profile companies include Rivian, Lucid, Fisker and Lordstown Motors.

“I’m very optimistic about some of the start-ups that are turning to electric cars and autonomous cars,” Ghosn said.

Ghosn, who has maintained his innocence, has said he fled Japan because he had “zero chance” of a fair trial. He secretly fled the country on December 29, 2019, with the help of a former US Army Green Beret and his son, both of whom are serving prison sentences in Japan. Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor were arrested by US authorities in Massachusetts in the spring of 2020 and extradited to Japan in March.

When asked about Taylor, Ghosn reiterated concerns about Japan’s legal system and their high conviction rates.

“I feel bad for them. I feel bad for all the people who are going through the system, especially if you are a foreigner,” he said.

Ghosn was initially arrested in Japan in November 2018 on charges of financial misconduct and misuse of corporate resources.

Ghosn reiterated on Friday that he hopes to leave Lebanon one day.

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