Carlos Ghosn, Nissan and Renault chairman and chief executive, is expecting “three to four more years of stagnation” in the European automotive sector.
Ghosn spoke at an industry breakfast in New York where he told delegates that his business was “planning for the worst” with a best case scenario of between 0 to 1% growth across Europe.
However, he told Reuters he was confident the Eurozone would stay together, believing that even if Greece and Spain were exiled from the euro, “it would only be temporary”.
Ghosn said: “European consumers, facing tremendous uncertainty in their lives, are holding off from making large purchases like cars.
“Companies need to be strong enough to make it through three or four tough years to outperform rivals.”
"We have some worse scenarios for which we need to prepare as companies. For the moment, we're planning for the worst, and the worst is now, and the car market is down more than 15 percent in France. There is so much uncertainty."
Ghosn also said the strength of the yen in Japan was “unbelievable” which was making it difficult to make a profit.
Ghosn also confirmed to Reuters there are still no plans to fully merge Nissan and Renault and that it was unlikely to happen even after he retired. He also said he would not be recommending a single CEO to run both companies in the future.
He said: “I've been crucified as CEO of two companies," he said. "I would not wish on anybody to go through what I've gone through in terms of personal life. Anything going wrong anywhere; you're responsible. It's not normal."