* Nissan CEO Ghosn says not very worried about future of
* Expects Trump to continue to promote strong ties with
* Higher raw material costs, currency fluctuations to weigh
(Adds details on emissions outlook)
By Naomi Tajitsu
YOKOHAMA, Japan, Dec 16 Japanese automaker
Nissan Motor Co will post record sales in 2017 as a
stronger global economic growth buoys demand for the industry,
offsetting the impact of volatile currency and commodity
markets, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said.
Ghosn, who is also CEO of alliance partner Renault, said he
was confident U.S. trade policy under President-elect Donald
Trump would continue to promote strong ties with Mexico, where
Nissan produces cars for export to the United States.
There have been worries about the risk of rising costs for
Nissan and its rival automakers if Trump makes good on promises
to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
or slap tariffs on vehicles imported from Mexico.
According to its latest global sales figures, Nissan sold
4.52 million over January to October, after posting record sales
of 5.42 million cars and trucks worldwide in 2015.
"I think 2017 should be a good year. I think we will see
reasonable economic growth, particularly in the car industry ...
I think we will establish a record for sales in 2017," Ghosn
told reporters on Friday.
Higher raw material prices and currency fluctuations will
continue to present risks for the industry, but this will be
offset by a growth trend in global economies that will keep
demand for cars strong, Ghosn said.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
expects global growth to accelerate to 3.3 percent in 2017 from
2.9 percent this year as the Trump administration's planned tax
cuts and public spending fire up the U.S. economy.
Ghosn said he was not very worried about the future of the
NAFTA. "What has been said by the president of the United States
is 'America first' ... We have to believe that the program is
about American interest, and American interest includes strong
trade relations with Mexico."
The international trend to reduce vehicle emissions will
drive Nissan's plans to develop more "green" cars, including its
Leaf - the world's top-selling all-battery powered car -
regardless of industry moves to loosen regulations, Ghosn said.
A U.S. trade group representing some of the world's largest
automakers is making a last-ditch effort to block the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency from finalising tough fuel
economy standards through the 2025 model year.
Carmakers are scrambling to produce more lower-emission
vehicles to comply with tightening regulations in China, the
world's top auto market, California and other regions, even as a
relatively high price and limited charging infrastructure has
curbed consumer demand.
After taking a controlling stake in the scandal-hit
Mitsubishi Motors Corp earlier this year, Renault-Nissan will
pool Mitsubishi plug-in gasoline hybrid technology and Nissan's
battery-electric technology for use across models made by all
three automakers, said Ghosn, also the chairman of Mitsubishi.
(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Richard Pullin and