View Full Version : Nissan CEO cool on hybrids, sees oil price falling

10-04-2004, 06:18 AM
Nissan CEO cool on hybrids, sees oil price falling
By Chang-Ran Kim, Asia auto correspondent

TOKYO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The head of Nissan Motor Co. said he remained unconvinced that hybrid-engine cars were a sound short-term business proposition, adding he believed oil prices would fall from the current historically high levels.

"There is some market demand (for gasoline-electric hybrids)," Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told a news conference at the unveiling of the new Tiida compact car in Tokyo on Thursday.

"We will come out with a hybrid car in 2006 in the United States as planned, but only because stricter regulations in California will make it a necessity," he said.

Japan's second-biggest auto maker, owned 44.4 percent by France's Renault SA , has an agreement with Toyota Motor Corp. to buy its rival's hybrid technology, having opted to forego development on its own to save money.

Ghosn has repeatedly said that while car makers may claim they are now making money on hybrids, margins on the fuel-sipping vehicles were still much lower than for conventional internal combustion engine cars, equating to a loss of potential profits.

Ghosn, famous for his profit-centred strategy, added that while Toyota's new Prius hybrid car was flying out of U.S. showrooms, its sales were still a drop in the bucket for a 16.9 million-unit-a-year market.

With supply falling chronically short of demand, Toyota now sells less than 5,000 Priuses a month in the United States. But it plans to raise output capacity by half to 180,000 units a year in 2005 -- much of that bound for the United States.


While record-high oil quotes are making hybrid vehicles a more attractive proposition for customers, Ghosn said he expected the U.S. benchmark crude price to fall from the current $50 a barrel level.

"I personally don't think it's going to stay there. I've spoken to many people in the industry ... and there is no physical reason for prices to stay there," he said.

For now, Nissan is aiming to lure environmentally conscious drivers in Japan with fuel-efficient, pure gasoline compact cars such as the Tiida model which goes on sale in Japan on Thursday.

Ghosn said compact cars will continue to be one of the most important segments in Japan, noting that it accounted for five of the 10 best-selling models last month. He said, however, that the model had "global potential", indicating it would also likely be sold overseas.

Nissan now has about 15 percent of Japan's compact car market thanks to hit products such as the March and Cube.

With the addition of the Tiida, which combines a compact's small frame with a roomy interior that Nissan said rivals its luxury Cima model, and the Note model to hit showrooms in mid-January, Ghosn said he expected Nissan's share of the compact segment to roughly double to over 25 percent.

Nissan is counting on the Tiida and five other new models to help deliver its commitment of selling one million more vehicles during the 12 months starting on Friday compared with fiscal 2001 levels, for a total 3.6 million units.

Shares in Nissan were up 2.74 percent at 1,199 yen in afternoon trade, mirroring rises in other auto stocks. The Nikkei average was up 1.03 percent.

10-04-2004, 07:22 AM
So Toyota is causing the high oil prices to sell more hybrids? (j/k) http://forums.freshalloy.com/images/graemlins/grin.gif

10-05-2004, 01:32 PM
So Toyota is causing the high oil prices to sell more hybrids? (j/k) http://forums.freshalloy.com/images/graemlins/grin.gif

http://forums.freshalloy.com/images/graemlins/shocked.gif OMG! Taking over & taking control & owning j00


03-18-2005, 05:54 PM
Ghosn is a smart guy, but he can't get any more wrong on this issue. The consensus is that high oil prices are here to stay.

03-23-2005, 04:26 AM
Ghosn is a smart guy, but he can't get any more wrong on this issue. The consensus is that high oil prices are here to stay.

I agree whole heartedly. Even if we tap Alaska, we only increase the volume of our domestic sources of oil by 3%... China and other developing/emerging economies are sipping more and more oil from the international oil market. Meanwhile our refineries are still at max capacity and the cost of shipping oil is going up tremendously. The logistics of oil is getting to be way too expensive, coupled with too high of a demand domestically and internationally.

I don't know where Ghosn got his info from, but personally I think his predictions are WAY off.

03-24-2005, 10:17 AM
IMHO, Nissan is wrong in not pursuing the Hybrid market. The Altima Hybrid is not a technology marvel on Nissan's behalf since it's actually Toyota's technology. Nissan has their own hybrid technology...why would they not use it or expand research on it for future cars? I wonder...why?

High gas prices are here to stay. The cost of hybrid technology would decrease if all manufacturers offer them. Already, Toyota, Lexus, Honda, GM and Ford have introduced/selling hybrid vehicles. Kudos to these manufacturers for thinking about the environment.

This could be the other reason why Nissan has a perception of being behind Toyota and Honda in terms of making environmentally friendly vehicles. For example, the Sentra does not get better gas mileage than the Civic or the Corolla. Nissan is way wrong for not jumping onto the hybrid technology bandwagon with all the other manufacturers.

03-27-2005, 07:31 PM
Imagine if they offered a Honda type hybrid in the Sport Concept? I would buy one without thinking about it. I say Honda because I think that it the better system than the Toyota. I know that the Toyota system has more bells and whistles, but I like the simplicity and cost effectiveness of the Honda system.