PARIS -- Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn is optimistic that UK and EU officials will reach an agreement on Brexit that will not "jeopardize" the British economy.
"If you ask me for my gut feeling, I have difficulty imagining that something will happen that will go against the economic interest of the country," he told reporters at the Paris auto show on Tuesday.
Ghosn noted that he is the longest-serving CEO of a major automotive company -- having effectively run the Renault-Nissan alliance since 1999 -- and had met with every British prime minister in that time.
"All of them gave me the impression that they are extremely attentive to business and investments," he said. "I would be very surprised if all of a sudden a major decision like Brexit would jeopardize a lot of what the UK has been building for so many years."
Nissan builds Qashqai and Juke models at its plant in Sunderland, England, which is Britain's biggest automotive factory. European versions of the Leaf EV and Infiniti QX30 models are also built there, according to the Automotive News Europe Guide to European Assembly Plants.
Other automakers have issued explicit warnings about the economic fallout of a so-called "hard Brexit" in which no agreement is reached on avoiding tariffs on goods and services that cross UK and European borders. Toyota Europe president Johan van Zyl said Tuesday that it could disrupt the 78 million euros in weekly revenue from the company's plant in Burnaston, England, which makes the Auris hatchback and wagon. Van Zyl added that logistics issues would be likely to cause a work stoppage at Burnaston.
BMW CEO Harald Krueger said Tuesday that the company would shift Mini production to the Netherlands in the event of a hard Brexit. He said he saw a "50-50 chance" of such a scenario.
Ghosn said that like all automakers, the alliance was preparing for the worst case, "but hoping for the best."
"The best is visibility," he said. "I am not talking about the merits of an agreement itself. A lack of visibility means you stop investments, you freeze operations waiting for things to free up. So, in Brexit, we are in a situation where everybody is frozen."