Paris: French carmaker Renault’s CEO Carlos Ghosn expects 2010 to be “as difficult as 2009” as the crisis in the worldwide auto industry continues, he told Europe 1 radio.
Ghosn, who is also CEO of Renault’s Japanese alliance partner Nissan Motor Co, said he expected Europe to be among the last regions worldwide to return to growth, along with Japan.
He said he saw the US and major emerging regions starting to pick up in the first quarter of 2010, and Europe and Japan returning to growth in the first quarter of 2011.
Ghosn said the group had sold around 180,000 new cars in June in total. Renault’s global market share remained more or less stable in the first half, Ghosn said, adding that “we could have expected a bit better”.
“I’m expecting 2010 to be as difficult as 2009. I am not expecting an immediate recovery,” Ghosn said, noting that the end of scrappage schemes in European markets — whereby governments fund cash bonuses for drivers exchanging old cars for new — could be difficult. Ghosn said a gradual transition rather than a sudden end to such schemes would help prevent a brutal shock for markets.
Ghosn said the group would start to pay back a €3 billion ($4.2 billion) loan it was granted by the French government earlier this year when it was reasonable to do so, but that it was “in no particular hurry”. Rival PSA Peugeot Citroen also received a €3 billion loan.