Dire forecasts continue to proliferate around the car business but the prize probably goes to Renault-Nissan Carlos Ghosn, who is warning that the global automakers are facing the equivalent of the Old Testament’s seven lean years.
Ghosn warned during an economic conference in Saudi Arabia that, “This is going to be a long recession.,” He predicted world auto sales would fall to 55 million vehicles in 2009, a decline of almost 14 percent, compared to 63 million in 2008. The trend was certainly set, in 2008, with sales down 9 percent from the 69-million figure of 2007.
“We are the first victim of the financial meltdown,” Ghosn said. The global financial crisis had slashed credit for car buyers, two-thirds of whom buy on credit, Ghosn noted. The recovery would not take place before 2011 and it could take as long seven years before sales reached the pre-recession peak, he added.