LUCA CIFERRI

Ghosn: Too early to revise European sales predictions downward

Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
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GENEVA -- Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn believes it is too early to revise downward sales predictions for Europe this year.

Ghosn acknowledged that January and February sales in the region had been very bad with a combined decline of about 9 percent, but he added that sales cannot keep declining forever.

"So far we are sticking to our earlier prediction for a 3 percent to 5 percent decline in Europe," Ghosn said on the eve of the Geneva auto show.

The Renault-Nissan CEO is not seeing signs of a structural change in the relationship between Europeans and automobiles.

"We roughly have a car for every two European inhabitants and I do not see this rate changing dramatically over time," he said.

In Ghosn's opinion, Europeans are just delaying the purchase of a new car due to the effect of economic uncertainty in the region on their personal circumstances.

"A couple of years ago, uncertainty [centered on] the future of Europe as a whole and on the euro as a common currency," Ghosn said. Right now, the uncertainty is that Europeans have to accept coping with the budget-reduction measures adopted by several countries.

"It is painful," Ghosn said, "but it is not a sign that people are [no longer] interested in cars."

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