Special Coverage

Greater L.A. Auto Show

LOS ANGELES – Renault SA/Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. CEO Carlos Ghosn takes a swipe at recent U.S. Treasury Dept. statements that credit markets have been stabilized during opening remarks here at the beginning of press days at the Los Angeles auto show.

Financial markets still are disrupted, and financing still is very difficult to obtain for even auto makers with balance sheets in great shape, Ghosn says. He adds with some sarcasm that if the financial crisis was “solved” then he and fellow CEOs at other companies and in other markets have not noticed.

Tight credit and the need to conserve cash have chilled any near-term interest Nissan would have in adding a North American member to the Nissan-Renault Alliance, Ghosn says.

He adds that for any alliance to work, both parties have to be excited about creating a partnership. He suggests that was not the case when Nissan and General Motors Corp. discussed a tie-up two years ago and precluding a possible alliance with Chrysler LLC now.

“An alliance is like a marriage. If one partner is very excited about it and the other is skeptical, then it will be a very short honeymoon,” he says.

The U.S. still is stuck in a credit crisis that continues to spread across the globe. “It’s going to be deep and it’s going to affect everyone,” Ghosn says.

He avoids talking specifically about a bailout of Detroit auto makers, but he praises the U.S. government for being the first to provide $25 billion in funding to the auto industry to develop new fuel-saving technologies, specifically because credit is so difficult to obtain for such ventures.

Government help and cooperation are keys to advancing new technologies such as pure-electric vehicles, Ghosn says. He then announces a new agreement today with the state of Oregon to offer incentives and infrastructure development for EVs.

dwinter@wardsauto.com