Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is pressing the Japanese member of the alliance to reach an 8 percent global market share by the end of March 2017 – up from a 6.7 percent share last year. Ghosn expects sales growth next year in Europe, the U.S. and China. He is also bullish about Renault-Nissan’s partnership with Daimler and proud of the role his automakers have played in the trend toward offering electrified powertrains. Ghosn recently met with News Editor Dave Guilford and U.S. Mid-South Bureau Chief Lindsay Chappell of Automotive News Europe sister publication Automotive News.
What is the 2015 outlook for Nissan?
What we’re seeing is a very moderate growth. Some markets will be growing, some will be stable and some will decline. The growing markets for us will be China, India and the U.S., although the rate in the U.S. will be moderate – in the range of 1 percent to 2 percent. Russia and Brazil had a terrible 2014, and unfortunately that’s not finished. Both have been shrinking and shrinking, but for us they will be stable next year. They’re not going to get worse.
It’s going to be “stable-plus,” which means somewhere between 1 percent and 2 percent. It’s going to depend a lot on decisions made by the European Central Bank about how much priority governments are going to give to growth versus fighting deficits. At the moment, the jury is still out on that.
Your partnership with Daimler has been expanding rapidly. In five years from now, how many of your luxury-brand Infinitis will be shared with Daimler? Will all Infinitis eventually come from the Daimler partnership?
No, I don’t think all of them. It’s not a question of basing everything on our cooperation with Daimler. We can cooperate because we’re not really in direct competition. There is very little cross shopping between Infiniti and Mercedes. And if there are opportunities for us to share scale, to save on investments, to cut the time to market –why not?
What are the key benefits for Infiniti?
When we build our common plant in Aguascalientes, [Mexico,] we will be using our existing manufacturing base, which is one of the most competitive in the Americas. We’re going to get scale because we are bundling the volumes of Mercedes and Infiniti. We’re going to have a common assembly line. We’ll use their platform. We’ll go fast and they’ll go fast. We could have used our own platform, but it would have cost us more money and taken much more time.