Carlos Ghosn Credit Harold Cunningham, Getty Images

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan

Renault's Ghosn Expects Slower Growth in European Auto Market in 2015

Addressing China's auto market, Ghosn says he does not believe the slowdown will continue over the long term.

SHANGHAI - French carmaker Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn said Saturday that he expects slower growth in Europe's auto market next year as it continues to recover from the global economic crisis.

Ghosn, who is also Renault's chief executive officer, said the European market was growing at 6% so far this year -- the best since the 2007 crisis.

"I'm expecting in 2015 this recovery to continue," Ghosn told journalists on the sidelines of an industry forum in China's commercial hub, Shanghai.

"I don't see another 6% increase. I think the increase will probably be more moderate than 6%... in line with GDP [gross domestic product] growth," he said, but gave no estimates for Renault (IW 1000/74) alone.

Ghosn is also president and chief executive officer of Japan's Nissan Motor Co. (IW 1000/39).

Many foreign carmakers turned to China, the world's largest auto market, in the wake of the global crisis as their home markets in the United States or Europe collapsed.

China's auto market is now slowing as well, as weaker domestic economic growth and a corruption crackdown take their toll.

But Ghosn said Renault and Nissan were committed to adding production in China.

In late 2013, Renault signed an agreement with Chinese company Dongfeng to set up a joint venture that will start production in 2016 with initial capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year.

Nissan has an existing partnership with state-backed Dongfeng, China's second largest automaker. The two companies last month announced they plan to produce Infiniti luxury cars along with their current offerings.

"We're adding capacity [in China]," Ghosn told business executives after a speech at the China Europe International Business School.

"We don't believe the slowdown in China is going to be long term because the fundamentals are still pointing towards a very good development of the industry," he said.

China's auto sales rose just 2.5% year-on-year in September, the slowest growth for any month this year, to 1.98 million vehicles.

Last year, auto sales in China reached 21.98 million vehicles.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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