In interviews today at the Detroit Auto Show with CNBC’s Phil Lebeau, Ford CEO Mark Fields sees growth ahead in pickups and wants to integrate car sharing and car ownership; FCA’s Carlos Ghosn doesn’t see the luxury vehicle marking letting up, including in China; and GM’s Dan Ammann is optimistic about the Bolt electric vehicle and car-sharing.
Mark Fields, Ford Motors CEO:
On F Series Sales:
“We think there’s growth in front, you know, moderate growth because when you look at it, the biggest corollary with full size pickup sales is the housing industry. And housing still has not gotten back above pre-recessionary levels in terms of permits and starts.
“It’s still growing. Now, clearly before the recession, it was a little bit frothy. But even if you discount for that, we still think there’s room left for full size pickups.”
On Consumer Spending:
“We still think consumers are pretty healthy. I mean, when you look at our business, our actual incentive levels are essentially flat with last year and our transaction prices are up. So consumers are really seeing the value for our products. I mean, clearly, we are seeing more pressure on the car side of the business and the SUV and truck side, but standing back when you look at the economy, when you look at the recent employment report from last week and wage growth and also at the same time low interest rates and low energy prices, we think that will continue to fuel good power in consumer spending.”
On Car Sharing
“We’re thinking about smart mobility more holistically, I think, as a company. And part of when you think about car sharing and ride sharing – we’re doing a number of experiments. I think down the road, we’d like to integrate with customers’ lives where when it comes either to buying a car or saying “Hey, I want to take that ride sharing service” or whatever, “Hey, let’s take the Ford” and use it almost interchangeably. And that’s what we’re really working towards.”
Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan CEO:
On Luxury Demand
“The growth of the premium market has been strong in the U.S., it has been strong also in China even though they have been up and down. So there is demand for premium cars and the Infinity is gaining market share into this demand. So there is a kind of double dip growth, growth of the market and if it is growing inside this market.
I don’t think that there is anything extraordinary taking place today. That being we know this market, we’ve been in this market for a long time. I don’t think we’re in an exceptionally tough market in terms of incentives. There are a lot of games taking place also on the market. So I would say it’s business as usual.
I think there is a split. You know, you have a lot of variation and volatility in the stock market. At the same time, what we have seen in 2015, which has been a hectic year in China with a lot of ups and downs, at the end of the day the Chinese market grew by 5%.
Daniel Ammann, General Motors President
On China Economy
If you look at last year 2015, we posted another year of record sales in China. Our sales last year were up just over 5% relative to 2014. 3.7 million vehicles we sold in China last year. So I think that underscores the strength of the Chinese consumer that the real economy, if you like, is still in decent shape there. Obviously, growth is slower than it had been in the past, but still the world’s largest market for us.
On Electric Vehicle Demand
I’d say based on all of the feedback that we have gotten, both from the original concept reveal a year ago and through the production reveal here today and the discussion at CES last week, we feel very, very good about consumer acceptance and there’s a very high level of interest in this car.
On Ride Sharing
We think ride share is going to be very, very big. You see that in the growth rates already, explosive growth. But at the same time, we also feel it’s really just at the beginning. And so we see a big opportunity in the short term for vehicles like the Bolt to be brought into the ride sharing fleets. And more importantly, in the long term, we really see a convergence between autonomous on the one hand and ride share on the other. And that’s a big part of our alliance with Lyft.
On Bolt Incentives
I think the $30,000 after incentives and the 200 mile range is going to be a really compelling price point and we’ll just need to see where the market goes from there.