• `We're not going to facilitate this,' CEO says of sharing
  • GM announced $500 million investment in Lyft last week

Maybe the rise of ride-hailing companies and the response by the auto industry won’t be so friendly after all.

Nissan Motor Co. will battle back against the emergence of car-sharing with more connected vehicles that drivers can personalize, Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said. He downplayed the impact Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. will have on the economics of the car business, after General Motors Co. invested $500 million in the latter company.

“We’re not going to facilitate this trend,” Ghosn, who runs both Nissan and Renault SA, said in an interview Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “We’re going to make the cars much more sexy, much more attractive, and we’ll see how people react.”

Ghosn’s skepticism is a shot across the bow to an industry that’s attracted billions of dollars in investment as the next-big-thing with the potential to disrupt car ownership and automakers’ business models. GM invested in Lyft at a $5.5 billion valuation, and the companies are cooperating to develop a network of self-driving cars that riders can call up on demand. Uber in its last round of financing was valued at $62.5 billion, more than the market capitalization of GM or Nissan.

Personal Space

Uber and Lyft will continue to grow, said Ghosn, 61. Still, he doesn’t see a future in which a substantial portion of the cars sold globally will be shared.

“The trend going against that is connectivity of the car, which is going to lead to the personalization of the space inside the car,” he said. “If you’re in a place which is like your office or like your room, you’re less likely to share it.”

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