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Auto Sales Up, So Is CEO Enthusiasm

Is the U.S. auto industry back in the driver's seat? Many executives of the biggest car makers seem to think so. Here is a roundup of the comments some of them made to CNBC Monday from the Detroit Auto Show.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

“This is a different world, a throwback to the 1990s. You're looking at a completely different industry after the big bang, so to speak. We're all pushing. It's a great environment to be in. I don't think anyone has any illusions to being a boy scout here. It is a fight. That's the great thing about competition, it keeps you sharp.”

Nissan Renault CEO Carlos Ghosen

“I stick to my forecast: 10 percent of industry sales by 2020 being electric. The problem is not demand. It's not going to be a good year in Europe [but it's] not going to be the disaster people are seeing. I don't think Armageddon is going to happen in Europe next year.”

Porsche Cars North America CEO Detlev von Platen

“I think the market is improving. We can feel this in our showrooms with much more traffic, much more people coming to us. But what's very important is also having new products.”

Toyota USA President Jim Lentz

“Will gas get over $4 a gallon? I think so. It obviously helps Prius but we're ready to react to whatever direction gas takes us.”

Ford CEO Alan Mulally

“The most important thing from the consumer point of view, they have the power of choice [on fueling options]. From Ford's point of view...we can match the production to real demand. We anticipate that Ford will grow...from 5.3 million vehicles [sold] to around 8 [million].”

John Krafcik, acting CEO, Hyundai North America

“[The auto industry] should not be comfortable. I worry about this industry going back to its old ways and getting out the celebration flag a little too early. We need to be very, very cautious. The economy in 2012 is really a big question mark...A safer approach would be to go into 2012 with a little more conservative scenario.”

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