Here is the full transcript of Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn’s keynote address at CES 2017 Conference. The event took place at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on January 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Speakers at the event:
Gary Shapiro – President and CEO of CTA
Carlos Ghosn – Chairman and CEO, Nissan Motor Company
Dr. Maarten Sierhuis – Director, Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley
Takao Asami – SVP, Research and Development, Nissan Motor Company
Ogi Redzic – SVP, Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services at Renault Nissan Alliance
Introducing speaker: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, Gary Shapiro.
Gary Shapiro – President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association
Good afternoon and welcome. Our guest today Mr. Carlos Ghosn is the leader of two global powerhouses in automotive technology: Nissan Motor Company and French automaker, Renault with more than 450,000 employees. Born in Brazil, he is a widely respected global business executive, fluent in Portuguese, Arabic, English and French. When he was named CEO of Renault Group in 2005, he became the very first person to run two global Fortune 500 companies simultaneously. In 2009, he had the title of Chairman of the Board of Renault. Mr. Ghosn is also the Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. This alliance has sold more than 8.5 million vehicles in 2015. That’s actually more than one in ten cars worldwide. And with Nissan’s acquisition of a controlling stake in October — a stake in Mitsubishi Motors in October, just a couple of months ago, that total should reach 10 million vehicles for the fiscal year 2016.
Mr. Ghosn is now also the Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors Company. He speaks today as the Chairman and CEO of Nissan Motor Company. Mr. Ghosn was the lead architect of the Nissan revival plan which transformed the company from near-bankruptcy to profitability within two short years. And as a result of this reinvention, Nissan has achieved higher profit margins than many of its rivals and substantially expanded its geographic market with a presence in more than 160 countries and regions.
On our stage today, Mr. Ghosn and his Nissan colleagues will help us all look into the future, an amazing future that is not very far away. But before Mr. Ghosn get started let me step aside for a minute to give you a sneak preview of what’s ahead.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to the CES stage Mr. Carlos Ghosn.
Carlos Ghosn – Chairman and CEO, Nissan Motor Company
Thank you. Thank you, Gary. Congratulation on 50 years of the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s amazing. In recent years, CES has started looking more and more like a motor show. The reverse is also true: motor shows are increasingly becoming technology showcases. Automakers once competed to unveil the most attractive appealing vehicles. We must still deliver on this classic expectation but now we are also competing to introduce new breakthrough technologies. This is just one of the many changes our industry is undergoing.
The disruptive triangle of autonomous drive technology, electric vehicles, connected cars and services mean we will see more change in the next 10 years than we did in the last 50. And it’s why I cannot, and nobody can really foresee in detail the future of our industry. But four predictions from industry analysts tell a little bit the story of where we are heading. By 2030, 15% of new vehicles sold could be fully autonomous, eyes-off, hands-free driving. No cars have been sold yet commercially with this capability.
In 2030, electric cars could account for 25% of new cars sold in urban areas. This is an increase from fewer than 1% sold globally in 2015. By 2030, more than one-fourth of all miles could be traveled via shared mobility. This is an increase from 4% of global miles traveled in 2015. By 2025, virtually all cars could be connected to the internet.
I personally believe these are conservative predictions. Consumers are expecting this change to happen fast, much sooner and Nissan is taking steps to deliver on them. For example, consumers are expecting a more relaxing and safer drive. Today more than 90% of accidents on the road are the consequence of human error. In the US, car fatalities have been recently increasing again to more than 35,000 in 2015. Distracted driving has been one of the significant causes. As the car takes over, more of the driving accidents and fatalities will be reduced and so should insurance premium. The Renault-Nissan alliance is committed to delivering 10 models with autonomous drive functionality by 2020 and you’ll hear more on this today.
In addition to safety, consumers tell us they want a more productive and connected drive. In the U.S., a driver in average spends one hour in the car per day, hands on the wheel, eyes on the road. Consumers want to be able to join a videoconference, talk with families, solve problems in partnership with technology. More and more they expect constant connection, even on the go especially with younger drivers. You’ll hear more about our plans to deliver on this today.
Consumers want more choices and more convenience. Yesterday I was authorized for the first time to sit behind the wheel of one of our autonomous cars in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley. It was a great experience and the glimpse into what’s to come. But like me, many people don’t want to give up driving completely. Instead what they want are option to decide when to drive and when to let the car take over.
Finally, consumers are asking for more efficiency without compromising excitement. Increasingly, consumers do not need to choose between them. Batteries are getting better, more affordable. Electric vehicle infrastructure is improving. In many countries, particularly in China, governments are super incentivizing the development of EV technologies. You’ll hear more about how Nissan is building on our leadership in electric and zero-emission products and what’s coming next.
Delivering on each of these expectations requires a new configuration of hardware, software, policies and business models. We are facing a transformation on the scale of moving from the horse and carriage to the automobile. Every automaker, including Nissan, is experimenting, prototyping and testing new technologies and new approaches. For example, we have test plan for every level of autonomous drive technology in the US, in Japan, in Europe and in China. Our goal is to accelerate the time it takes to inject these advancements into the heart of the mass market.
At the same time we are taking steps to make sure we as a company are prepared for what’s ahead. We recognize that in cities or even in suburban or rural areas, convenient and cheaper mobility services and alternative to public transportation will soon meet many people’s needs. We see this as an opportunity to expand our business to provide greater convenience and personalized mobility service for our customers. This includes how you experience a vehicle on the inside through good design, quality materials and connected technologies.
But it’s also about differentiating your entire customer experience no matter your relationship to the car. For example, in Europe we’ve launched a pilot that uses the power of online social networking to pair up compatible owners to part-own a car which is called the micro. Cars will be on the road this spring. While our priorities are expanding, we remain confident in our core business. We will continue to build cars for people who love to drive them and who prefer to own them.
Investing and developing the right technology bricks is critical to both the innovation of our business and delivering on the core business of car making. We have a significant advantage to most automakers. Through the Renault-Nissan alliance now with the addition of Mitsubishi Motors joining us, we sell 10 million vehicles a year, putting us among the top three automotive group in the world. This scale allows us to invest in the full spectrum of autonomous electric connected car technology and services without reducing other necessary investments. No shortcuts, no blind spots.
But even with these advantages no automaker can do everything at once and alone. We must develop the bricks of technologies and assemble them at certain points in time. When we do not have the technologies in house, we are partnering with startups, technology companies, social entrepreneurs to find the best innovation. And if the technology does not exist, we are creating it ourselves just as we did when we could not find an electric car battery that could deliver the kind of performance we needed. So we did ourselves. Today there are plenty of companies dedicated to building battery and doing it well, so we can invest elsewhere.