The European community is going through a period of market turmoil, but is unlikely to plunge into a double dip recession, Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Nissan Motor Co and Renault said on Tuesday.
Ghosn said the European turmoil driven by the crisis in Greece was outplayed and unlikely to have a lasting impact on global markets.
I don't buy the fact that we are going to go into a double-dip situation, he said at the Detroit Economic Club. I just don't buy that.
Renault has forecast a 10 percent decline in the European auto market in 2010 from 2009 and we don't think it is going to get worse than this, Ghosn told reporters afterward.
So far, I don't believe that we are going to be facing a situation that is out of control, Ghosn said of Europe.
In the United States, Ghosn expects 2010 auto industry sales of about 12 million, roughly in the middle of forecasts, with a gradual recovery beyond that.
I don't think 12 million is a very optimistic scenario, Ghosn told reporters. Today, there are more cars being taken out every year than cars being sold. I think in a certain way we're moving up to 14 million naturally and gradually in a relatively short term.
Ghosn said automakers would have to focus on the emerging markets to drive growth. To be competitive in those markets, which include China, India and Russia, they can move much more quickly with partnerships, he said.
Nissan, which is introducing an electric car called the Leaf this year, has sold out its 2010 production, Ghosn said. The initial Leaf production is coming from Japan and Nissan is preparing to begin U.S. production in 2012.
Nissan plans a ground-breaking on a battery production facility in Tennessee on Wednesday. Production of the Leaf will be somewhat capacity constrained until assembly plants and battery plants outside Japan come on line.
He had no plans to bring back the Renault brand to the United States in the foreseeable future, Ghosn said.
(Reporting by David Bailey and Soyoung Kim; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Leslie Gevirtz)