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Carmakers cruise past Europe's crisis

The Local · 7 Mar 2013, 07:04

Published: 07 Mar 2013 07:04 GMT+01:00

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With many car companies complaining on the first day of the show about the impact of Europe's economic woes, several of the German firms sounded all but upbeat as they described how their global presence was helping guide them through the difficult terrain.

The head of German carmaker BMW, Norbert Reithofer, voiced "cautious optimism" for his company's performance this year.

Reithofer, whose company in addition to the BMW brand also sells Minis and Rolls-Royces, expects to see the global car market swell four percent to around 75 million vehicles this year.

"The growth in the car market will be pulled by the United States, China and the emerging markets," he said, pointing out that he expects to see the overall car market grow two percent in the US to nearly 15 million units, and by 8.5 percent to more than 14 million units in China.

Daimler, which along with European leader Volkswagen raked in record net profits in 2012, also sounded almost optimistic at the show.

"We are still growing in a declining market," Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche told reporters.

And Volkswagen saw its net profit soar 40 percent last year to €21.7 billion, pulling far ahead of Europe's second-in-line PSA Peugeot Citroen.

German brand Opel, which belongs to US giant General Motors, had less reason to celebrate, with numbers from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association suggesting its sales fell 16 percent last year.

Still, brand-new chief executive Karl-Thomas Neumann said it had managed to grow its market-share in the first two months of the year.

"In this market environment, we are focusing on keeping our market share," he said, referring to the European crisis. Daimler's Zetsche meanwhile acknowledged that his company had in Europe in 2013 "seen a very slow start in January (and) it seems that February continues at the same level."

He stressed though that the company expected to see improvements in the second half of the year.

"Of course, we are not immune to market developments (in Europe)," he said, but pointed out that "we are selling in the entire world".

BMW too said its outlook for Europe was all but cheery, with an expected two-percent drop in overall sales there this year to some 12.3 million vehicles.

Story continues below…

This year will remain "very volatile" and "Europe will become a bigger challenge," Reithofer said.

But while he doesn't expect the volatility of the European market to settle for the next five years, Reithofer stressed that BMW still had other markets to fall back on.

In the first two months of the year, the group's global sales rose six percent thanks to its broad presence on other continents, he said.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:49 March 10, 2013 by honeybeee
Nowadays more car manufacturers just depend on the emerging markets sales profits to run their major business body , so it seems people dont need to worry much about the current sluggish still ongoing situations in europe as well as the still deteriorating America market either. Luckily , Asia got the 2 largest population country China and India , that means whoever can reach the 2 countries will reach the world,Schaeffler Ag has just recently introduced a concept car that has higher fuel efficiency for India.The company has upgraded an already existing B segment car with drive train features, which is claimed to help reduce fuel consumption by 10%. This auto model has been regarded as the special custom-made for India .Though the economical situation still seems painful , it still cant stop the true explorer's progressive successful step.
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