• Mar 14, 2011
Renault's Zero Emission line-up

Last time we broached the subject of suspected industrial espionage involving automaker Renault, we reported that, according to Reuters, Renault's chief operating officer, Patrick Pelata will likely be the man who:
Forms the shield to protect the CEO [Carlos Ghosn]. In this story, somebody has to throw themselves on the grenade.
Turns out, Reuters' source, an unidentified individual that's supposedly "close to the carmaker," may have dished out false intel. Dominque Thormann, chief executive officer of RCl Banque, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Renault, responded to last week's "espionage" reports by posting this on The Alliance's blog:
Renault has made headlines in Paris and beyond with a "spy story" whose cast includes executives, investigators and politicians. The star is Renault, one of Europe's most loved brands. The plot appears to touch on intellectual property and zero-emission cars.

The story invites sensationalism by its very nature, like a Hollywood thriller.

But this week the truth was stretched too far. While the vast majority of media coverage has been credible and fair, a few articles have been laced with too-good-to-be-true quotes from anonymous "leaks" and arm-chair quarterbacking by so-called experts who get their facts wrong. These same sources imply that the case has distracted executives or forced employees to take sides.
This is nonsense. It's not true, no matter how desperately pundits try to turn this into a novel by John Le Carré.
Now, Reuters is reporting that Renault, probably through an intermediary, paid an informant 250,000 euros ($347,200 U.S. at the current exchange rate) for information that sparked a probe into the suspected espionage case. Apparently, Renault's execs don't know the identity of the informant, but two of the automaker's security managers do. Renault has asked that the security managers, who were arrested by authorities last Friday, reveal the identity of the mysterious informant to French police.

Thorman closed out his blog post with this chunk of positive info:
Renault has ascertained that its technology did not get into the wrong hands, thus enabling the company to continue to push forward its visionary mission of sustainable and affordable transportation for mainstream consumers. No amount of drama can mask this essential truth.
Just like in Hollywood, the story continues.

[Source: Reuters, Renault-Nissan blog]


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