TOKYO - During an October 22 luncheon address at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, Renault SA President Louis Schweitzer displayed his industry insights, keen intellect and droll humor. Here is a sampling:
During the introduction, the club president referred to the Nissan restructuring plan that had been unveiled earlier in the week by 'Renault, excuse me, Nissan Chief Operating Officer Carlos Ghosn...'
Schweitzer piped up, 'Cheap shot. Cheap shot.'
Later, talking about Renault's cost-reduction goals, he said: 'You may have noted some similarities between what Nissan has decided to do and what Renault has done over the past few years. As your president has noticed, this is a coincidence.
'If you bring to the market products that are as good as your competitors', you may think you are taking less risk. But a riskless policy productwise is dangerous,' he said.
Asked about a report that Renault plans to raise its stake in Nissan to 39.9 percent after four years and to 44.4 percent after five years, he pointed out that the Renault-Nissan pact makes such a move possible, but only between the fourth and fifth anniversary of the March 1999 agreement.
Said Schweitzer: 'The report is true, except it's either six months late or three-and-a-half years early.'