• Mar 10th 2011 at 1:00PM
  • 14
The industrial espionage case – or was it fraud or a scandalous hoax – involving three top Renault execs and the automaker's electric vehicle secrets is swirling out of control. So much so that Renault-Nissan chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn may need assistance from Patrick Pelata, the automaker's chief operating officer, to protect the CEO from losing his job, according to Automotive News (sub. req.).

Pelata, a 55 year-old judo enthusiast, stepped forward and took a leading role when Renault publicly announced the firing of three top execs back in January. Now, with allegations that the whole ordeal may have been a hoax, Pelata told The Guardian that he's ready to accept the consequences of his actions, a decision that could ultimately cost him his job. Reuters reports that an unidentified source close to Renault suspects that Pelata will be the fall guy, protecting Ghosn from losing his job. The source told Reuters that:
It's likely to be Patrick Pelata who forms the shield to protect the CEO. In this story, somebody has to throw themselves on the grenade.
A Renault spokesperson declined Reuter's request for comment on this sticky situation.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req., Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      I don't understand this hoax. I mean if it was a hoax, what was there to gain?
        • 8 Months Ago
        They apparently paid around 300,000$ to a "third party" for information on this case. The third party has apparently disappeared and they can't trace back the money.

        In North-America, it's called a fraud. They call this a hoax because they are too embarrassed to call the cops again.

        Hopefully, this will not affect their electric car plans.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Yes...what is there to gain by this hoax. Maybe the whole thing was a set up to get rid of Carlos Ghosn? After all he is the guy that single handedly put electric motoring globally on the agenda and I can think of any number of parties who would like to see that cat back in the bag again....On the other hand I doubt Mr. Ghosn 's fall could still bring that about at this point. Getting rid of one of the driving forces could slow developments down significantly though...
      • 8 Months Ago
      Personally I do not believe either Pelata or Ghosn should go. They are both competent leaders. Let's just learn from this and move on.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Way too few facts for us to even speculate here really. What the hell even happened...if anything?
      • 8 Months Ago
      As an electric drive enthusiast, i find it flattering that someone ( probably China.. ) would be so determined as to commit espionage to get their hands on a burgeoning technology..

      I hope his golden parachute is extra sparkly.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Pfffft. Ghosn will be gone anyway within three years once Leaf's start piling up at dealerships. Even federal tax credits won't be enough to persuade the average car buyer to take these dogs home and the cash back incentives will slash profits.

      After EVangelists buy up the initial orders, the general population will take a pass on these underachieving, overpriced, one trick ponies.

      After just a few average buyers take a chance and dip their toe, they'll discover that this car only gets 70 miles on a charge. Word will spread fast. Negative publicity and limited use is gonna sink this boondoggle.

      Ghosn better hope the Japanese and Europeans buy these in droves because other than the land of fruit and nuts (CA), and maybe some granolas in Portland and Seattle, they're going to be a big miss for Americans used to 300 miles after filling up in five minutes.

      The truth will hurt so be prepared for it. I hope the globull warming religion set got theirs with a lease because resale is gonna be a bear. They'll fall as flat as electrics did 20 years ago.

      I'm just the messenger so don't blame me.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Only dummies are surprised by the range, Nissan has always stated a range of ranges depending on conditions, that's the way it works. Same with gas cars but the range is so large we don't notice the differences very often. I'll be happy to buy a used LEAF and upgrade the battery pack as newer technology becomes available.
        • 8 Months Ago
        G'mon guys, can't you tell when someones putting you on?

        Ol' Potpie isn't serious! I mean nobody can be that stupid! He's just stirring you to get a reaction!
        • 8 Months Ago
        A lot of people will be laughing at your words a few years from now, if anyone remembers. You probably were one of those clueless ones who thought hybrids wouldn't catch on either, and look where we are now. Hybrids are everywhere now, just like electric cars will be within a decade.
      • 8 Months Ago
      it's a curious and sick mentality that everything is made right by somebody resigning..
      doesn't matter what happened or who's fault it is if any's. somebody just has to be fired and then everything is ok again...

      such a beastly mentality. mindless
      • 8 Months Ago
      Operations procedures and personnel are often the responsibility of the COO. Pelata is not taking the fall for anyone. Whether or not Ghosn should go depends upon his relationship with Pelata and whether or not Ghosn upheld his fiduciary responsibility to shareholders when he took Pelata on as COO.

      Unless you're on the board at Nissan, I don't see any reason to suppose that Ghosn should go and Pelata should not.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Other CEOs from other automakers have driven their companies into bankruptcy, or purchased other companies only to sell them later at the loss of billions, and that's business as usual. But, jumping the gun on potential espionage, that in the end created a barely perceptible blip in the company's bottom line, and it's career ending? These companies really don't have their priorities straight.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Interesting perspective. However, implying that that largest growing market for your cars (China) was trying to steal your secrets, firing 3 top level managers and getting your own government involvled to "protect your secrets" is cause for a firing. If you think this is only a blip on Renault's reputation you are sadly mistaken. Shareholders will want to know, "How do you scream we have been robbed, only to say a month later it was a hoax?" "Is there no management oversight? As for the CEOs who drove their companies into banckruptcy, all where fired by the way.
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