DEVELOPMENT OF THE MARKETS FOR PASSENGER CARS AND LIGHT COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
We expect developments in the regional markets for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles to be mixed in 2012; overall, growth in global demand for new vehicles will probably ease. For 2013, we expect growth to slightly outpace the figure for 2012 again.
In some Western European countries, measures to cut government debt will lead to the economies concerned weakening, impacting demand for new vehicles in 2012. The debt crisis in Europe and the USA will also have a negative effect on the development of individual growth markets. However, we expect to see a continued positive trend in the strategically important markets of China and India in 2012, and are also anticipating higher overall demand for vehicles in North and South America.
We expect the economic situation in Western Europe to stabilize in 2013, although markets will probably be slow to recover. We are assuming that demand for passenger cars will also continue to increase in the other regions in which the Volkswagen Group has a presence.
The Volkswagen Group is well positioned to deal with the mixed developments on the automotive markets. Our broad product range featuring the latest generation of consumption-optimized engines gives us a global competitive advantage. We are systematically pursuing the goal of offering individual customers the mobility and innovation they need and sustainably strengthening our competitive position.
In Western Europe excluding Germany, we expect demand for automobiles to decline in 2012. The current debt crisis in particular is unsettling consumers in many countries in the region and limiting their financial flexibility with regard to buying new cars. In some core markets – espe-cially Spain and Italy – large-scale government austerity measures and tax rises will slow the recovery in demand. We anticipate that the economic situation in most countries in Western Europe will stabilize in 2013, and that demand for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles will pick up again.
We expect demand for automobiles to decline in Central and Eastern Europe in 2012. In particular, we are assuming that growth in Russia will be significantly weaker year-on-year. In 2011, the automotive market was boosted by the rapid economic recovery and state subsidies. The market is likely to have normalized again after this effect in 2013 and will return to substantial growth.
The South African automotive market will continue to benefit from long-term economic stabilization in 2012. However, we anticipate that growth rates will be lower, since rising consumer prices make further interest rate hikes likely. We expect market growth to pick up slightly again in the following year.
In Germany, positive economic conditions clearly boosted demand for passenger cars in 2011. We expect to see an interruption to this trend in 2012. Despite the largely stable macroeconomic environment, German consumers are unsettled by the debt crisis in a number of European countries in particular. This will curb demand for automobiles in Germany, although it should recover again from 2013 onwards as the European economy stabilizes.
For 2012, we expect the economic climate in the USA to continue recovering from the after-effects of the financial and economic crisis. However, high fuel prices and muted lending will still impact market growth. Fragile consumer confidence will probably recover in 2012 and lead to an increase in demand on the US automotive market, which is expected to continue in 2013 as the economy continues to consolidate. We are also expecting to see a positive trend in the Canadian and Mexican markets for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2012 and 2013.
The South America markets are heavily dependent on the global economy. Weaker economic growth could negatively impact demand for commodities and act as a brake on the region’s economy. Nevertheless, we see an opportunity for moderate growth in demand for automobiles in 2012 and 2013. In Brazil in particular, the economic support program that has been announced offers the prospect of a positive trend in consumer spending and an increase in demand for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. In the case of Argentina, we expect to see weaker market development.
The markets in the Asia-Pacific region will probably continue their growth in 2012. Increasing demand for individual mobility will drive demand in the Chinese and Indian markets in particular. However, high raw materials prices, stricter emissions standards and the discontinuation of government subsidies may affect demand for automobiles. In addition, restrictions on vehicle registrations in metropolitan areas – such as have been in force in Beijing since 2011 – may be extended to other major cities in China. This would serve to dampen Chinese market growth. In Japan, we expect the automotive industry to recover across a broad front in 2012. In particular, backlog effects due to pent-up demand from 2011 will have a positive effect on the country’s market for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The Asian motor vehicle markets are likely to continue their growth trajectory in 2013. In India in particular, market growth should then pick up again along with economic performance.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE MARKETS FOR TRUCKS AND BUSES
Following the 7.1% increase in demand for midsize and heavy trucks in 2011, we expect global market momentum to ease in 2012 and 2013.
Market growth in Western Europe will depend to a very large extent on macroeconomic developments. As a result, we expect that market volumes in 2012 will be on a level with 2011 initially. In 2013, the market will increase slightly, assuming that macroeconomic performance is positive. Russia continues to offer prospects for growth after the sharp declines seen in the crisis years. However, the pace of growth will be slower in comparison to 2011.
We expect growth in the USA to continue in 2012 and 2013 on the back of the economic recovery.
Vehicle sales are expected to decline in the Brazilian market in 2012. In 2013, we anticipate that Brazil will record macroeconomic growth, which will have a positive effect on the market volume.
In China, we are forecasting a declining market trend, with 2012 and 2013 being unable to match 2011 levels.
We expect India – the second important market in the Asia-Pacific region – to develop positively in 2012 and 2013.
Global demand for buses will probably remain at 2011 levels in almost all regions in 2012 and 2013. We expect to see positive market development in the Asia-Pacific region, fuelled by growth in China.