Renault denies tech at heart of spy scandal
Strategy and pricing info, not batteries
The boss of Renault said spies found within the company's electric car division were after business information not technical secrets.
It had been assumed that the spying related to technology - most likely battery technology. Three senior Renault managers have been suspended without pay, and are taking legal action to clear their names.
Speaking to French newspapers and TV, Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn said the information which had been taken related to Renault's "economic information... not technological information".
Carlos Ghosn said the spying would have no impact on upcoming vehicle launches.
He said he had no opinion on where the information was going - but that the investigation would find out.
More, via Babelfish, from Journal du Dimanche's interview with Ghosn here. ®
Changing the story, are they ?
First I heard of it, the story was all about how a few engineers were fired for suspected industrial espionage. The way it was told led me to believe it had something to do with technology, especially since the fact that the engineers in question were all part of the department in charge of electrical vehicles was heavily referenced.
Now I hear that it is not industrial espionage, but business methods that these people were selling. Well excuse me but that is ridiculous on two counts. First of all, it is an about-face for the initial accusation - never a good sign when an accuser changes the why of his accusation. Second, Renault's business methods are not worth spying to retrieve - Renault has no business method. If they had one, their cars wouldn't break down so often.
I had a very interesting discussion three years ago with a person working in Germany for a company that makes parts for the automobile industry in general, and sometimes for Renault. That person told me that, of all the customers his company had, Renault was the only one for which the specifications were never complete. In other words, they had to call Renault time and time again to get an idea of how resistant, pliable, brittle or whatever the part had to be.
If that is due to a method, I don't think there is a company on Earth that needs to steal it.
Makes a weird sort of sense actually.
If another company incorporates the patents which are technical, Renault has a IP case against them and can "win back" the stolen profits. Marketing espionage is a whole other story.
A bit of massaging near the heart of the European Union.
(*Citroen, Peugeot & Renault)