Even as 2012 and 2013 have been blockbuster years for new car sales in the U.S., sales in Europe continue to remain in the doldrums due to persistent unemployment and sovereign debt issues in many nations in the 17-nation Eurozone. To help better utilize surplus production capacity at its plants in France, Renault will start building the next-generation Nissan Micra in 2016.
Still pessimistic about growth prospects in Europe, Renault/Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said he didn’t expect a major turnaround in European sales, and at best, market stability in 2014 and 2015. However, in regard to global and emerging markets, Ghosn said he expected sales would go from “record to record” citing figures that there is only one car per four people in Russia and Brazil, and just one car per 20 people in China, saying “The BRICs are here to stay for a very long time,” Ghosn told Bloomberg.
By contrast, new car sales in Europe are at a 20-year low, with the unemployment rate across the 17-nation European union standing at 12.2 percent in April. Such weakness in the European market is reportedly even prompting Fiat/Chrysler to consider moving the headquarters of its combined operations from Turin, Italy to the United States.
The third-generation Renault Clio and Nissan Micra and Tiida shared a platform, and it’s likely the next-generation Micra will share its chassis and key components with a related Renault model. Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the U.K. built the Micra until 2010, when it switched to production of the Nissan Juke subcompact crossover.