May 30, 2008 / 1:28 PM / in 11 years

Ghosn sees global car numbers up sharply by 2050

Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn speaks during an interview with Reuters at the company headquarters in Tokyo May 13, 2008. REUTERS/Kiyoshi Ota

PARIS (Reuters) - Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of France’s Renault and Nissan of Japan, said on Friday the number of cars in use in the world could more than quadruple by 2050 and these would need to have clean engines.

“By 2050, I think there will be 2.9 billion cars in the world and at least two billion of that will be in countries where there are hardly any cars at the moment,” Ghosn told the Automobile Club de France, the world’s oldest automobile club.

There are some 650 million passenger cars in the world at the moment.

The growth will come from emerging countries in Asia, south America and Africa, Ghosn said, citing a Goldman Sachs study which said Indonesia’s economy would overtake Japan, and Nigeria would be a more important economy than France in the future.

Ghosn said he was convinced people would not give up the privilege of having an individual motorized means of transport, and added that these cars would not use petrol as a fuel due to rising costs and limited reserves.

Renault and Nissan are working on fuel cells, like many other car makers, that will allow cars to run on hydrogen which can be produced from a source other than petrol.

“It has to be a zero emission car,” he said.

Ghosn said there would be a consolidation wave in the automobile sector and the arrival of new entrants from countries such as China and India.

“India will have a car industry on a level of the one we have in the United States at the moment,” Ghosn forecast.

Reporting by Marcel Michelson; Editing by Richard Hubbard

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