Nissan on a Crossroad

by : RyanThomas

The Japanese car manufacturer Nissan is currently on a crossroad. That is what Nissan Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn hinted in a press conference held after the annual shareholders meeting in Yokohama, Japan. Considered as the savior of the Japanese car manufacturer, Ghosn said that the company is playing a waiting game. Nissan is waiting and observing the global auto market before it decides whether it will concentrate in the production of hybrid vehicles or diesel engined-vehicles.

According to the head honcho of Nissan, hybrid and diesel powered vehicles are being pitted against each other in the United States auto market. With the contest heating up, Nissan will have to wait whether the car buying public will go for diesel vehicles or hybrids. After assessing the reaction of the market, Nissan is expected to make its move.

"When you go to the market, the decisions are going to be in function of the customers' reaction to the two technologies. Frankly, it is not obvious today," said Ghosn.

Ghosn not only has to take care of Nissan's operation but also of French automaker Renault. Ghosn pointed out that the two companies are carrying out research and development efforts in both hybrid and diesel technology. He pointed out though that the company will be releasing what car buyers are looking for. "When the market will shift, we will follow," says Ghosn.

At the shareholders meeting, Ghosn was openly criticized for his stand on the development of hybrid technology. The CEO once said that hybrid vehicles are not practical. But that was in the early 2000s and times have changed. In fact Nissan has already introduced a -equipped Altima Hybrid in the United States auto market earlier this year.

Ghosn appears to be in favor with the development of cleaner diesel engines. This is because diesel engines are known to produce more torque than gasoline engines. This will be a good powerplant for their performance cars such as the Nissan 350Z. Another advantage of using diesel engines is that diesel is priced lower than gasoline. This will mean that car buyers would save money on fuel consumption while at the same time doing their share in protecting the environment.

Earlier this year, Nissan announced that their first diesel vehicle will be marketed in the United States by the turn of the decade. Aside from that, Nissan also promised that they will be introducing a hybrid vehicle of their own before 2010. The Altima, although a Nissan, uses Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive. Nissan also promise to deliver a three-liter car in 2010. The said car will be able to cover 100 kilometers in just three liters of fuel.

Ghosn also stated that Nissan or Renault for that matter is interested in buying the British brands Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford. This is in response to rumors circulating in the auto industry that Renault may be interested in buying the European brands. "We are not interested in buying brands," says Ghosn. "Why do you want to buy a brand that will cost you millions? How are you going to create the return on this kind of investment? Personally I don't think Renault, nor Nissan, need this today."