Carlos Ghosn, joint chief executive of Nissan and Renault, continues to describe gasoline-electric hybrids as a “terrible business prospect.” He made his latest remarks during an update for the media on the status of Nissan’s business plan.
Although Nissan plans to introduce a hybrid version of its Altima based on Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive next year, Ghosn is a skeptic and views the Altima hybrid as a niche solution for specific markets. (Earlier post.)
Hybrid sales account for less than one per cent of global sales. It is a niche technology. The question is how much the consumer is willing to pay for them, and if they are unsure at $70 a barrel [for oil] then I would be very worried. For now it is a terrible business prospect.
We have to be careful that we don’t try to impose a technology on the market. (FT)
Ghosn believes that Nissan can meet short-term demands for fuel-efficient cars with a variety of technologies that are less expensive: smaller gasoline cars, diesel and flex-fuel cars.
He maintains his skeptical—and vocal—stance even while other automakers hurry to either increase their hybrids production (Toyota, Honda and Ford) or to announce upcoming introductions (GM, DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Volkswagen and Porsche).