By on May 10, 2013

If any carmaker is hoping for an imminent turn-around in Europe, or is telling shareholders (I am looking at you, GM) that better times will be here again real soon now, then Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn has a bucket of ice-cold water for them.

“Europe is going to be bad,” Ghosn predicted today in Yokohama. Ghosn also serves as CEO of Renault, a company that is taking major lumps in a market that has been careening south for five years in a row now.  One would assume that a man in his position paints a rosier picture. Instead, Ghosn’s pallet is all gloom.

Ghosn knows what is on the mind of the European customer:

“The European consumer lacks confidence, is confused, he does not know when Europe will get out of this crisis, and until he sees and understands what’s going on in Europe, he is not going to come back buying cars.”

Ghosn does not “foresee any growth in Europe probably before the end of 2016, or even later.” He thinks the worst is yet to come:

“We are absolutely not forecasting any growth in Europe. And we are preparing to face Europe with a decrease in 2013, probably another decrease in 2014, and at best a stabilization of the market in 2015. We hope we are wrong. If we are, better for us.”

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For the case that Ghosn’s predictions are wrong (they rarely are), his companies “have capacity in Europe and we are ready to respond to any pent-up demand, even if we don’t believe it is going to happen.”

Listening to Ghosn’s dire predictions, one begins to believe that European turn-around may not happen until the end of the decade. And it must be brought on by governments that are tired of austerity measures. Says Ghosn:

“I don’t think the European countries can afford to continue to see a decline in the economy for much longer. At a certain point in time, the focus will be put on growth.”

In a Europe that is not known for speedy decisions, this refocusing could take many years. Ghosn recalled how he demanded action on the obscenely high Japanese Yen 5 years ago, and now finally, there is action.

In the meantime, says Ghosn, “we are not banking on a recovery of the European market, because it may not happen.”

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17 Comments on “Nissan (Black) Friday: “Europe Is Going To Be Bad”...”


  • avatar

    “the European consumer is confused and won’t buy any cars”, hence the suffering of the mainstream brands. The German luxo trio look strong in such a market, as do the likes of Dacia. Luckily for Renault-Nissan, they are strong elsewhere and can weather the storm.

    Bertel, what will happen to Dacia when the market turns around in 2020?

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      In an earlier recession, a classmate of my wife was a product manager with one of the major consumer goods companies. Her product was a budget-brand laundry detergent, which experienced large sales increases as stessed (unemployed or reduced-income) consumers traded down from Tide, Sunlight, etc.

      Her problem was that when the economy went into recovery (which was happening when I knew her), consumers would go back to their preferred brands, as they could now again to afford them. But the management system in the multinational she worked for would not allow her to budget for a decrease in sales, so it was inevitable that she would be branded as having gone from success to failure.

      Dacia management is probably in the same boat.

  • avatar
    Vance Torino

    Ghosn is a Sharp Tack and an excellent manager, perhaps the best in the world.
    Always seems to be clear eyed about things.
    Even his electrification fetish will pay dividends, and the company is out front on an emerging technology.
    Arguable, but forward thinking.
    I don’t find Nissan or Renault’s products compelling (except Dacia), but they are world class and the way he has positioned the overall company for long term success is impressive. Nissan was sinking to Mitsubishi levels a decade ago, and Renault could have been like poor PSA if it weren’t for him.
    Hagiography over, but Respect.

    • 0 avatar
      Lampredi

      Nissan’s model range in Europe is pretty miserable, though, and has as many holes in it as Fiat’s. It’s not even present in the C and D segments anymore, and instead offers a couple of bloody crossovers.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I like this man simply because he doesn’t pull any punches and gives an honest assessment of a situation, regardless of business/political implications.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    100% Agree that properly managing two companies with so different cultures, is a success in itself, and speaks highly of Mr. Ghosn’s as a Manager.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Ghosn flat out saved Nissan and, as a consequence, Renault.

  • avatar
    hanesj75

    I just think it’s cool that Mr. Bean got serious and is expertly running a big car company/conglomerate. :)

  • avatar

    There’s also a comic book about him.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Take all money from Mr Hollande – bite his hand hard if need be. Vultch round Europa in a few years for any tastey remnants.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I wonder why Europe is in such bad shape.

  • avatar
    BigDuke6

    Is there some particular reason you’re punishing us with all these pics of Carlos Ghosn? I counted six. Did we do something to offend you Bertel?
    I mean, you could have posted a pic of a female spokesperson/model and STILL had a story of Ghosn. I don’t think anyone would have complained.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Word BD6. You were in Japan Bertel, for goodness sake. Stay focused. Socialism killed Europe. Nissan sells cars in Europe. Not good. Got it.

      Now, please show pictures of beautiful Japanese women you met while you were there.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    I believe someone studied the “austerity” measures in Europe and found that spending in most countries stayed the same or actually increased…but taxes had been increased significantly.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I’ve worked for 30 years (May 31st) for a electronics comapany, and weathered many storms, buy-outs, lay-offs, etc. It’s taken time but I have a good job, benefits and 5 weeks of vacation. I remember years ago asking our plant manager in one of those round table discussions that were popular in the mid 80′s, why did Europe workers get so much more time off and paid this and that……he just said that there’s no free lunch and that wouldn’t last forever. Well, didn’t understand it then, but I do now. They are feeling it now and it’s hard for them to change and especially when they expect the same cushy high paying jobs that their parents had. I was lucky enough to have parents that lived through the great depression of the ’30′s and they taught me to appreciate what I did have. I understand them a lot clearer now too. For ya’ll young folks, you aren’t entitled to shit ok, get over it. Life may well not be as good as it has been, but, there was a whole generation that lived through far worse, so suck it up and move on. We could all learn from countries like Greece and take steps NOT to join them.


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