TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A Renault official says no automaker can call itself global unless it has a presence in North America, but the French automaker has no plans to return to this market.
Instead, Renault will focus on emerging markets in Asia, Russia and South America - especially Brazil, says Carlos Ghosn, executive vice president. He spoke at the University of Michigan Management Briefing Seminars here.
'South America today is the area where the growth is,' he said. 'Their growth has surprised everybody.'
Renault plans to build a new assembly plant in Curitiba, Brazil, and it wants to build a facility in China, too. The company hopes these markets will guarantee Renault's growth at a time when sales in Europe - its primary market - remain flat.
Although Renault will not re-enter North America, Ghosn admits that he wishes he could undo his company's sale of American Motors to Chrysler Corp. in 1987.
'Can a company be global without participating in the North American market? No. But for the foreseeable future, we have no plans' to sell light vehicles here, he said.
U.S. heavy-truck maker Mack Trucks Inc. is a subsidiary of Renault.
Meanwhile, Renault's effort to cut purchasing costs is gaining speed. The company hopes to reduce its materials purchasing costs by $2 billion by 2000. In the first six months of this year, the automaker already has saved more than in all of 1996.