Nissan's Ghosn: Auto industry not in crisis

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of Nissan Motor
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Japan's Nissan Motor, has dismissed worries that the auto industry is in crisis after the world's sixth largest automaker slashed its profit outlook last week.

Nissan cut its annual net profit outlook for the year ending March 2014 by nearly 20 percent to 355 billion yen ($3.62 billion) amid an expected slowdown in its emerging market sales and quality issues involving multiple vehicle recalls.

"Frankly I don't think the industry is in a crisis because the industry will see another record year in 2013 and 2014. [The] prospect is also good," Ghosn told CNBC Thursday.

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According to Ghosn, the downgrade to Nissan's profit forecasts was a result of the company being cautious about potential headwinds it could face as it ramps up aggressive expansion plans.

"When car manufacturers are engaged in a very strong growth - particularly in the case of Nissan -- they are a little bit vulnerable to head winds... a lot of your resources are dedicated to growing. If you have too many headwinds at the same time that you are investing a lot of money, you are more in a certain way vulnerable to readjusting your profit forecast," he said.

Nissan is aiming to raise its global market share to 8 percent by the end of March 2017 from last year's 6.2 percent and has been boosting efforts to build capacity worldwide. It is constructing eight new plants and expanding a factory in Russia.

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The automaker's relentless push into emerging markets has led to some concerns over its over-exposure to what most view as a risky asset class.

But Ghosn has defended the growth story of emerging markets: "We know very well...growth in emerging markets will never be linear. You're going to have great years, some correction, [and] from time to time, stabilization. We're ready for that."

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The CEO also weighed in on the surprise rate cut by the European Central Bank cut on Thursday, saying he thought the cut would help improve the environment for companies and entrepreneurs in Europe on a broader scale, but added that he had doubts it would help automakers directly.

"No I don't it's going to be boosting [autos]. I think it's going to be one of the elements helping create a new environment for European [companies]," he said.

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"For the last five years, Europe was about deficit, crisis of the euro and big doubts about the future and uncertainty. We're starting to see a shift where people are starting to look at the future with a little bit more assurance. The fact [is] that the ECB is supporting that," he added.

Ghosn is also CEO of Paris-based auto maker Renault. The two companies have been strategic partners since a cross-shareholding agreement in 1999. The two manufacturers maintain their independent brand identities but each acts in the financial interest of the other.

CNBC spoke to Ghosn on the day of the launch of the Nissan Qashqai.

— By CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie