Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn says the U.S. auto industry may stagnate this year and even next.
Ghosn's cautious prediction on Thursday, Sept. 22, comes amid growing concerns that U.S. car sales may slow in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and sky-high oil and gasoline prices.
Nissan relies on North America for about 40 percent of its profit.
"We are starting to see some shifting in consumer demand, some postponing of car buys" since September, Ghosn said in a news conference in Tokyo attended by Reuters. "I'm not particularly optimistic for the U.S. environment for the next six months or even for the next year."
The company sees risks from an intense U.S. price war, record or near-record gasoline and raw-material prices, rising interest rates and uncertain growth in Japan.
Nissan still expects a 3.3 percent sales gain in the United States to 1.05 million vehicles in the fiscal year ending March 31.