Mostly Gloom from Industry Big Shots

Carlos Ghosn

As the world economy sags (or sinks, some would say), the car czars are finally taking note. Pent-up demand has kept the big guys afloat, and so has China. But the European crisis and the endemic sickness of the U.S. economy are hard to ignore.

Looking at next year, Carlos Ghosn (above) forecasts “very great uncertainty for the time being.” The CEO of Renault and Nissan says customers are presently skeptical but not yet “defensive.”

Both his companies are currently doing well, but who would not be uneasy, given the signals from around the world, including slowing demand for cars in China?

Dan Akerson, the GM CEO, looks for flat U.S. sales in 2012. Like others, he “sees the EU crisis as the biggest threat to auto sales and to the global economy.” Akerson predicts 2012 light-vehicle sales will be similar in numbers (12.7 million) to this year’s.

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