Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said he expects Europe's auto industry to take many years to recover from shrinking demand and excess capacity.
Nissan is "preparing for many mediocre years" in Europe, Ghosn said today in a Bloomberg Television interview in Hong Kong. While Europe faces overcapacity, the region "will not see any kind of Armageddon," he said.
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Auto sales in Europe have collapsed to their lowest level in 17 years, as the sovereign debt crisis saps demand amid rising unemployment and slowing economic growth. Nissan will manage its capacity in the region to match demand, Ghosn said.
The Yokohama City, Japan-based carmaker plans to build more than 5 million cars this year, Ghosn said, with growth coming from Southeast Asia and the U.S.
"Myanmar may be the star of future" along with Indonesia and Vietnam, Ghosn said. He said he hopes the new Altima midsize sedan will take "top position" in the U.S., where the industry continues to recover.
While Japan's second-largest automaker is expanding output capacity in Southeast Asia, the strong yen is deterring the carmaker from expanding production at home, Ghosn said.
Nissan fell 0.1 percent to 739 yen as of 12:41 p.m. in Tokyo trading, while the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.7 percent.