The global car market will grow by between 3-4% this year to a record 82m vehicles, Nissan president Carlos Ghosn predicted.
His view is similar to that of an aggregate of forecasts compiled by the Financial Times which predicts that 82.4m cars and light vehicles will be built this year, up from 80.6m in 2012. The growth will come largely from a 5% rise in production in North America and a 10.1% increase in China, according to the forecasts.
Ghosn said he expected growth in the US, China, India, Russia, the Middle East and southeast Asia but Europe would shrink by 3%. The FT also suggested the European market will fall by a similar amount this year following a 6.2% decline in 2012.
But Ghosn said that China, Nissan’s biggest source of earnings, still presented uncertainties because of political tension with Japan – tensions that might affect Nissan’s future investment in the country.
Meanwhile, Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who is also chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, said he expects modest growth in global auto sales in 2013, buoyed by demands in emerging markets as well as replacements in developed nations.
He also called on the new government led by the Liberal Democratic Party to "place the auto industry at the core of its economic policies", adding that stable growth in the automobile industry will support all Japanese industries.
"Sales of Japanese vehicles account for around 30% of global sales and ranks at the top. Unless automakers hang in there, all Japanese industries will collapse," he warned.