Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said the European car market will probably shrink further in 2014 and 2015 as rising unemployment continues to sap consumer demand.
"I think that 2014 and 2015 are going to be at best stable in Europe," Ghosn said. "More realistically, we may see another decrease -- maybe not as violent or as deep as the ones we have seen for the last years," he said.
Ghosn said he cannot see what will trigger economic growth, particularly for the auto industry so he is not very optimistic about the situation in Europe. "I am preparing Renault for several years of market stability, at best," he said.
European car sales fell to a 20-year low in May as rising joblessness caused by a recession in the euro region reduced demand. "As long as there is a discussion about deficits, I think it's going to be a big weight on the shoulders of the consumers," Ghosn said
Ghosn said the global auto market will go "from record to record" on demand in emerging markets, where the number of cars per inhabitants is much lower than in Europe and the United States.
The economic slowdowns in economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, known as the BRICs, are only temporary, and the ratio of cars per inhabitants will continue to rise in those markets, Ghosn said.
"The BRICs are here to stay for a very long time," he said.
There is one car for two people in Europe, twice as many as in Brazil and Russia, and just one car per 20 people in China, Ghosn said.
"On the top of that, you have new countries emerging, Indonesia, Southeast Asia," other Latin American countries, Africa and the Middle East, he said.
"That's what makes me optimistic overall for the car industry that we're going to go from record to record in terms of global sales, even though the contributions are going to change."