Nissan-Renault see more record sales in 2012
Nissan-Renault will post another sales record this year after posting a 10 percent jump in global sales to 8.03 million vehicles in 2011, alliance chief Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday.
With a host of fresh products and demand set to grow in all markets except Europe -- where Ghosn predicts a three percent drop in sales this year -- both the Japanese and French carmakers should continue to expand sales, he said.
"In 2012 we're going to establish for Nissan a new record of sales and for Renault also probably another record of sales even though Renault is probably much more vulnerable," he told an automotive conference on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show.
Nissan's sales rose 14.4 percent to 4.67 million vehicles worldwide in 2011 while Renault's sales were up 4.6 percent at 2.72 million vehicles, he said. Russia's Avetovaz, part of the alliance, sold 638,000 vehicles.
While the alliance has now reached the economies of scale necessary to compete in the global automotive industry, Ghosn said it is always open to new ties with other carmakers.
"Anybody can call and say 'I have a new proposal for you.' We'll always listen," Ghosn said.
He also predicted further consolidation in the industry.
"We are an industry which needs scale. Scale is not going to substitute talent, but talent alone is not going to make it," Ghosn said.
"We're going to need to work together because we know that mergers and acquisitions don't work in our industry."
A lot of talent has been wasted through acquisitions and mergers, while alliances have proven staying power and success, he said.
Renault-Nissan has a "laundry list" of cooperation, including a recently announced pact to develop engines with Daimler, Ghosn said.
The record-setting sales by Japan's second-largest automaker was remarkable given the disruptions caused by the March quake-tsunami-nuclear disaster, Ghosn said.
Nissan's supplies were not as badly hit as Toyota and Honda, but its factories were still struck and Ghosn said Nissan is now suffering from a bit of a perception problem.
"In a certain way we got a disadvantage compared to all the other manufacturers," he told reporters after his speech.
Nissan managed to get its production up to 80 percent of capacity by mid-May and had fully recovered by September.
Whereas Honda and Toyota -- which took much longer to recover -- will be able to post stronger sales growth in 2012 when compared to 2011's depressed levels.
"Maybe I'll have less of an advantage than people who suffered more from the quake, but I still consider 2012 as an opportunity for us because hopefully some of these headwinds will settle."
© 2012 AFP