Former chairman of Nissan Motor Co Carlos Ghosn is said to have used his position to influence the company’s decision in the selection of a distributor in India and land for a factory in Brazil to further his personal ties, The Asahi Shimbun reported citing a source within the company.
The report comes as the leading carmaker is investigating its past deals within and outside Japan to check whether Ghosn mixed company business with his personal connections.
According to the source, Ghosn recommended Hover Automotive India Ltd as a potential distributor to boost Nissan’s sales in India when the automaker had almost selected another company. Daughters of Ghosn and Hover’s de facto boss were friends at school and that apparently tilted the scale in favour of Hover.
Nissan signed the deal with Hover in 2008 although the Indian company lacked experience in automotive distribution. This became evident as sales began to fall forcing Nissan to cancel the contract with Hover in 2014.
The same year Nissan ended the contract with Hover, it opened a factory in Resende some 160 kilometres away from Brazil’s seaside city of Rio de Janeiro.
For exports, Rio was a better location than Resende and it could have minimised distribution costs. But the land for the factory in Resende belonged to a friend of Rio’s former governor who was close to Ghosn. Ghosn is well connected to people in Brazil where he was born and spent his childhood.
Ghosn was arrested last month for allegedly under reporting his income and misusing company funds.