Carmakers ready for record year

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28 Dec, 2011 Updated Wed 28 Dec 2011 12:44 CEST
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Despite doom and gloom in many business sectors, German car manufacturers think 2012 could be a banner year, especially in the United States.

German companies spent 2011 aggressively trying to penetrate the ultra-competitive American market. Volkswagen even opened a new factory in Tennessee and slashed prices on popular car models in 2011.

Matthias Wissmann, head of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), told the Stuttgarter Zeitung that the US is ripe because more and more Americans need to replace their old clunkers.

American autos are between 10 and 11 years old on average, and problems in the housing and labour market don’t seem to be affecting the American need to get a new ride, he said.

But German automakers’ optimism extends around the world. Roughly one in five cars worldwide are made by German manufacturers, and they say demand continues to increase.

According to the Handelsblatt newspaper, Volkswagen has extended contracts for temporary workers who help during peak production periods at its Wolfsburg headquarters until 2013. Its subsidiary Audi, meanwhile has created 3,500 jobs worldwide in 2011, the newspaper reported.

Porsche says that its manufacturing facility in Leipzig is running around the clock to keep up with demand and the company is expecting nearly 40,000 vehicles to be produced there in 2012, which would be a new record.

Daimler, meanwhile, thinks it can sell 500,000 trucks per year by 2013. Between January and November this year, the company sold 373,000, a 15 percent increase over the same time period last year, Handelsblatt reported.

But there are some warning signs amidst all the carmaking euphoria. Some experts believe brewing price wars look likely to taper profits.

But that’s not enough to dampen enthusiasm.

“I am confident that in 2012, the market share of German manufacturers will continue to increase,” Wissmann told the Stuttgarter Zeitung.

The Local/mdm

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2011/12/28 12:44

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