Car makers who sell significant volumes in China have been expressing various degrees of concern about the nation’s financial jitters, with plummeting stock market values triggering predictions of a fully fledged economic crisis.
Yet although Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn admits that he’s worried about the short-term prospects of the Chinese market, he remains confident of its long-term importance.
“It depends on your timeframe,” he told journalists at Renault-Nissan's dinner before the Detroit motor show. “Am I worried about the next three weeks, then yes, it is up and down and crazy. That is not our horizon, though; our horizon is the next three years, the next five years, and then I’m not worried.”
Ghosn remains confident that China’s demand for mobility will ensure the long-term prospects of those car makers heavily exposed to the market.
“Today in China you have, on average, 100 cars per 1000 residents,” he said. “That number is 800 in the United States and in Europe around 500. No matter how you stretch it, nobody believes that the Chinese are going to remain at 100 or even 200 per 1000 residents, knowing that Brazil is at 200, Russia is at 300, etc.
“So there is a fundamental growth coming in China. The Chinese car market increased last year by 5%, in a very mediocre year. That’s nearly as much as the United States in what we were told was a very good year.”