Nissan not pursuing alliances, says Ghosn

Nissan Motor Company's CEO Carlos Ghosn has said that he is not looking at any additional industry alliances on account of the instability that has been precipitates by the global financial crisis.

Speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ghosn said that his main occupation was ''taking care of Nissan'' which precluded any such initiatives from his side, ''till the storm has gone''. His comments point to the challenges faced by automakers across the world on account of the credit crunch which has dried up access to financing for both the auto companies and their customers. 

Ghosn also heads France's Renault SA, and had ended alliance discussions with General Motors (GM) two years ago since they were unable to reach an agreement. Thereafter, he successfully pursued cooperation on vehicles with Chrysler LLC that excluded equity ties.

Ghosn also said that merger and consolidation in the industry was unlikely at the present time on account of the current economic conditions. ''Nobody is going to give you more credit lines than you've already negotiated,'' he said.

Nissan had yesterday announced that its second-half profit would drop to ''zero'' as the recession in the US drives down auto sales in the to their lowest tally in one and a half decades, and as the yen gains on the dollar. Nissan's sales in the US dropped 33 per cent last month, marking a drop of 6.2 per cent this year till October. 

Ghosn was speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show, at the same time when CEOs of the Big Three American auto companies, GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler, were talking to representatives of the US government in Washington seeking emergency loans. 

Ghosn said he had ''no position on the bailout''. He also did no wish to discuss any scenarios of a specific US carmaker failing, though he said that 2009 would be ''difficult'' for all auto companies because of the ``black scenario'' of falling sales, tight credit and a global recession. He acknowledged that there was a high chance of some car companies going bankrupt, and may create turbulent conditions.

Ghosn also said Renault-Nissan would produce up to one million electric-powered cars in 2012, only two years after the alliance's first electric vehicles are scheduled to begin customer tests in the United States and Europe. Ghosn also called for US government policies to promote the adoption of electric vehicles, including incentives and upgraded infrastructure to generate electricity. He said that driving electric vehicles from near zero presently to around 10 per cent of global car sales, or around 7 million cars, by in 2020 was a ''reasonable goal'', adding that he anticipated almost all of those vehicles to be marketed in the Untied States, Europe, Japan and a few cities in China.