Corporate | 22 July 2013

"Rethinking industry: the case of the automotive sector", a topical issue that was central to Carlos Ghosn's contribution to the debate organized by the Cercle des Economistes

by Groupe Renault

On July 6, Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan, took part in the economic forum, Rencontres Economiques d’Aix-en-Provence. As part of this event, he debated with José Manuel Soria Lopez, Spanish Minister of Industry, and Jacques Attali, French economist and writer, who were also guests at the event. We have summarized the main thrust of Mr Ghosn's contribution in a few lines.

 Carlos Ghosn at the Cercle des économistes

Since 2001, the Cercle des Economistes has organized conferences with a view to gaining a clearer understanding of economic issues, to take a critical look at topical events and to identify the actions that will influence the future of our society. This event, which has international reach, brings together academics, politicians, company managers and students from around the world for three days.

As part of this year's roundtable, participants raised the following questions: How can we adapt to changing vehicle consumer habits? How can we reorganize this industry? What new cars and new technologies can we expect to see? What changes can we expect over the next ten years?

According to Carlos Ghosn, the markets are restructuring, emerging countries are seeing faster growth, and new technologies are developing constantly. All these factors have a direct impact on the automotive industry. Further, consumption habits are set to change owing to high dependence on oil and growing environmental problems. For Carlos Ghosn, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has found a solution with the development of electric vehicles: "I can't see a future automotive industry without hybrids or electric vehicles. That's a certainty, not a guess".

When other participants, such as Jacques Attali, questioned the utility of cars, Carlos Ghosn took the opportunity to set out his own vision of the car, summed up in an original way: "A car today is like a dog. You don't choose it for its weight or what it consumes." Mr Ghosn went on to talk about "impulse" buying, explaining that "cars are both rational and emotional". People no longer buy a car simply to get from A to B. They buy it because it has an instant appeal in their eyes, because it resembles them. 

Unlike those who are turning their gaze towards new means of transport, Carlos Ghosn sees cars evolving towards a form of partnership with the driver. In this way, users will be able to take advantage of more technologies and services in their cars, which will be far more than just a way of getting around.

If you would like more information on this debate, watch the video in full on the website of the Rencontres Economiques d’Aix-en-Provence:,1240

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