NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In 2015, global auto industry growth will be a moderate 2%, predicts Carlos Ghosn, chief executive officer of Nissan (NSANY) and alliance partner Renault -- and Nissan expects to take a larger piece of it this year.
Ghosn sees at least three growth drivers for Nissan in 2015, including the company's plan to expand its share of the large pickup market, its global expansion of the Infiniti premium brand, and market-share gains in Russia thanks to its local Lada brand.
"2015 is going to be a year of growth in the U.S.," Ghosn told TheStreet TV at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. But that growth will be moderate, he said, with U.S. Nissan sales likely to reach 16.7 million vehicles, up from 16.5 million in 2014.
China will supply much of the industry gains with 6% to 7% growth, Ghosn said. Meanwhile, Europe's recovery should continue "at a very slow pace" of 2%. He anticipates continued growth in Africa and Southeast Asia and a recovery in India. Meanwhile, Japan and Brazil will lag, Ghosn said.
With the new Nissan Titan showcased in Detroit, the company plans to boost its share of the U.S. large pickup truck market, currently at a slim 1%. The truck's "robust" quality and attractive design will help it compete, he said.
Next year also will be a year of growth for Infiniti, Nissan's luxury brand, Ghosn predicted, thanks to its cooperation with Daimler. The brand-building strategy, he hopes, will enable Infiniti to garner 10% of the global premium market, up from its current 3% share.
The collapse of the Russian ruble, as well as political difficulties with Europe and the U.S., are bad news for the Russian auto industry. But Renault has an advantage in its ownership of local car brand, Lada, Ghosn said.
With currency problems and the car market shrinking, auto makers with local production will have a competitive edge in Russia, Ghosn said.
"So when the ruble goes down, it's bad for everybody, but less for Lada," said Ghosn. "We're preparing ourselves to gain market share."
GM's(GM) - Get Report announcement that its Chevy Bolt battery has a range of 200 miles didn't seem to surprise Ghosn. Nissan is the maker of the world's top-selling battery electric car, the Leaf.
On the Bolt, Ghosn said, "We think the next generation of cars coming from Nissan will be at a much higher range."