Nissan Motor chief Carlos Ghosn said on Friday that, even if the United States is not in recession, its motor industry is.

"We are very lucid on the situation of the industry that there is a recession in the United States, at least in the car market," Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told the Associated Press (AP) in South Korea, adding that automakers face rising costs for iron ore, precious metals, aluminium and other materials.

Ghosn was optimistic that the market would improve, the report said. It "will not stay in recession for a long time."

AP noted that US car and light truck sales totaled 16.1m vehicles in 2007, the worst year in a decade, and sales are expected to slip this year as well.

Ghosn said the cost of raw materials, increasing for the fourth straight year, must come down, the Associated Press added.