The five-year decline in the European new-car market will bottom out at the end of this year, says the CEO and chairman of the Renault-Nissan Group, Carlos Ghosn.
"We have reached the end of the tunnel, but are not yet at the beginning of recovery," he claims.
Ghosn expects growth across the region to be "slightly above 1%" in 2014, but warns that there will be a few years of only slight improvement to come. "We have seen the volume of used cars coming onto the market going up. We have seen the prices going up. Now we are starting the third phase of recovery in many European markets," he says.
Globally, Ghosn is forecasting new-car sales of 83 million next year, led by Russia, India and Indonesia, and he is pushing ahead with the resurrection of the Datsun brand - the name by which Nissan was known when it first came to the UK around 40 years ago - to meet demand in low-income countries.
"There is one third of the global market Nissan can never reach because of price," he says. "We will introduce Datsun as a second brand with a different pricing point to reach those markets.
"At the moment we have not produced one Datsun car, but there is huge potential to replace the motorcycle and the bicycle and the 25-year-old used car. We will start with Russia, South Africa, India and Indonesia. In South America there is huge potential, too.
"For the forseeable future, by which I mean five years, I don't think you are going to see Datsun in Europe. Most likely you will never see it. But later on you never know."