What are the problems you're facing at the moment?
The Yen is the main problem. It is uncompetitive. Little by little Japanese manufacturers are moving manufacturing away from Japan, to places like Thailand and China. The problem is in Japan. Half of the workforce work in export manufacture – there is no profitability here.
How do you expect the crisis in Europe to affect sales?
All car makers are seeing a slow down in orders. If the volatility in Europe continues in the next few weeks, this situation will get worse. However, I have a hard time imagining that all of a sudden Europe will collapse. We are forecasting a reasonable 2012 - no disaster but no recession either.
How do you see the future of the car?
We have to have every powertrain available to our customers from hybrids to EVs. However, of the 75million cars sold in the world every year, the combustion engine accounts for 99 per cent of sales. EVs and hybrids are only going to move up but for the next 20 years, combustion engines will still dominate. However, I believe that zero emission cars will become much more important as legislation will demand it because of climate change.
The technology that is affordable and does that right now is EV. In the very near future, EVs will take up 10 per cent of the market, because governments around the world will take a very strong stance on climate change – and this includes China too. They will be leading the way in my opinion.