Carlos Ghosn stands next to a blue 2011 Nissan Leaf

Carlos Ghosn is one of the most dynamic automotive executives you'll currently find. Thanks to his turnaround of Nissan and the way he whipped Renault into shape, Ghosn can stand shoulder to shoulder with such luminaries as Lutz and Marchionne. Past success aside, Renault's investors are less than happy with the present, and they have expressed their displeasure by rejecting Ghosn's latest six-year plan for Renault.

The investors aren't happy that Renault has $20 billion tied up in Nissan, while the French automaker itself is only worth $18 billion. Markets have also noticed, and Renault shares have dropped since the announcement of the rejection. Investors feel that Renault could put less money into Nissan and instead use those funds to shore up its share price, which has fallen significantly since Ghosn assumed the Chief Executive position in 2005.

For his part, Ghosn has faith in his product-centric plans for both nameplates. "You can rewrite stories through products," says Ghosn, who takes a longer view than Renault's financial backers. Renault has a new stylistic direction and Nissan is getting attention with its Leaf electric vehicle.

Still, the long-term outlook may seem like a fairy tale when Nissan's putting heavier discounts on its cars than its competitors to move iron and Renault is facing potential consequences – at the very least a deputy spot will likely be claimed as a sacrifice for the legal troubles, if not Ghosn's position – from an espionage scandal in France. What's more, Nissan's entire success can't be pinned on the Leaf alone.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]