The former boss of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, has said the future of the Japanese company is in doubt.
Ousted chief Ghosn said the car firm’s struggling results and drop in share price were a concern, days after accusing Nissan executives and the Japanese government of plotting against him.
He also said that if Brexit affected Nissan’s EU operations then the outlook for the Sunderland plant was “bleak”.
Ghosn recently skipped bail in Japan after being charged with financial crimes to flee to Lebanon.
Speaking to the BBC, Ghosn said: “I’m worried about the future of Nissan, period.
“I’m not very optimistic about the future of the company, knowing the results, and the management, and everything that is taking place.”
Nissan reported that its half-year profits had slumped by 70 per cent last November and reduced its outlook for the year to an 11-year low.
It came after an announcement in July revealed the firm was set to cut 12,500 jobs.
Falling sales, a strong yen and the fallout of Ghosn’s arrest have caused the company issues.
Ghosn said Nissan’s management “don’t seem to worry about their bottom line, they don’t seem to worry about their business”.
They seem to be more worried about investigation and supporting prosecutors than anything else
He also highlighted Nissan’s drop in share price. It has fallen more than 32 per cent since his arrest in late 2018, from $17.46 to $11.78>
Over the same period the wider car industry had seen a 12 per cent rise, Ghosn said.
“Shareholders don’t usually go to protest, they vote with their feet, they just sell,” he said.
And on Brexit and Nissan’s Sunderland plant, the former car industry titan warned: “If Nissan loses competitiveness in Europe, then, well, the future of Sunderland is bleak.”
Nissan is yet to respond to a request for comment.
Ghosn fled to Lebanon on 29 December and gave a news conference on Wednesday that lasted more than two hours.
He said he was a “hostage” in Japan and had a choice between dying there or running.
Japanese prosecutors hit back and said Ghosn’s allegations “completely ignore his own conduct, and his one-sided criticism of the Japanese criminal justice system is totally unacceptable”.