German car makers to weather weak US market

( dpa )- German car manufacturers expressed optimism Sunday at the Detroit Motor Show despite a weak US market.

"We have good chances of cracking the 1 million mark soon," said Matthias Wissmann , president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

Last year, German automobile manufactures increased sales to the United States by 3 per cent to 940,000 vehicles which amounted to a market share of nearly 5.9 per cent. The Germans want to gain ground over the Japanese with diesel technology.

The entire US market is expected to decrease by 2 per cent to 15.7 million units this year.

Volkswagen (VW) announced record sales in 2007 at the Detroit Motor Show - up 7.9 per cent to 6,189 million vehicles. Strong growth in the Chinese and Latin American markets had propelled the company past the 6 million mark of vehicles sold.

VW's Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said he expected the company could again achieve a record in 2008. Germany was the most insecure market, he said. As a result of the debate on climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, customers were becoming unsure and cars were increasingly being seen as the "root of evil."

VW's subsidiary Audi want to sell more than 1 million cars worldwide in 2008. In 2007, Audi increased sales by 6.5 per cent to around 964,000 vehicles. Audi chief Rupert Stadler said the company was looking into the possibility of building a plant in the US.

The head of German automotive concern Daimler, Dieter Zetsche , expressed optimism about the automobile industry's outlook for 2008.

The company had good opportunities in the US, he said. The Stuttgart-based automobile company recorded its 14th consecutive sales record in 2007 when it exported 253,400 vehicles - an increase of 2 per cent - to the US.

Zetsche said that the three all-terrain vehicles in the M class, the GL and R class, which are equipped with the particularly clean Bluetec Diesel Technology, are to become licensed in all 50 states this year.

Mercedes Benz Cars wants to overhaul six models in 2008 and launch two entirely new vehicles on the market - the CLC Coupe as well as the small cross-country vehicle GLK which is being presented in Detroit as part of a series study, Zetsche added.

"The GLK is the right model at the right time," Zetsche said in reference to booming sales in the smaller cross-country vehicles.

Zetsche also said that Mercedes-Benz wanted to achieve an operating margin of 10 per cent in 2010. He stressed that the flagship S class had sold 58,500 units in 2007 - a increase of 30 per cent over BMW and Audi with their top models 7 and A8 together.

All German manufacturers from BMW to VW are to launch several diesel-drive models on the US market this year.

Wissmann said, "It is quite appropriate to say that 2008 is set to be the year of the clean diesel breakthrough in the US."

So far, the share of diesel driven cars is only 3 per cent and many experts believe that this could increase to a 15 per cent market share by 2015.

However, the weak US dollar was still a problem for German manufacturers, Wissmann said. Apart from several exchange rate fluctuations, the production abroad would become increasingly important.

Meanwhile, 250,000 of the vehicles sold in North America had been manufactured locally. However, that was at a cost to German workers, he added.

"We hope that workforce figures will remain steady in 2008 and perhaps increase slightly." However, real growth was occurring elsewhere.

"In two to three years time, we will be making more vehicles abroad than at home."

The biggest US car manufacturers, who are battling weak sales and billion-dollar losses, are taking advantage of the platform offered in Detroit.

Ford expected to make a profit again in 2009, said Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally Sunday at the Detroit Motor Show.

Europe, Asia and Latin America were already profitable markets for Ford with growth potential, he added.

The second-largest US car manufacturer had incurred losses of more than 12 billion dollars in 2006 and also sustained an additional loss of 380 million dollars in the third quarter of 2007.

Ford announced six new models for 2008 including two with hybrid drive.

General Motors was also showing its "green side" in Detroit as it joined a US company that wants to use ethanol as a fuel or gain it from the remains of plants and even from tyres.

GM is also set to launch 16 new hybrid vehicles onto the market over the next four years, the Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner said.

Meanwhile, the loss-making US automotive concern Chrysler announced Sunday that it was setting itself the goal of doubling international sales in less than five years.

Speaking at the event, Chrysler head Robert Nardelli said there was still room for global growth in the car manufacturing industry.

In 2007, Chrysler - the third largest US auto producer - had a 15 per cent increase of sales outside North America to around 238,000 cars. In doing so, the company sold less than 10 per cent of its cars outside its home market.

The German company Daimler sold a majority stake in Chrysler was sold last summer to the US financial investor Cerberus.

High petrol prices and more recent financial uncertainty among consumers as a result of the credit crises led to reduced 2.5 per cent fewer car sales to 16.1 million vehicles in the US.

Japanese manufacturers had come up trumps in the past years especially Toyota with its popular hybrid drives.

Both Saudis and Russia to continue to pursue strategy of maximizing market share
Both Saudis and Russia to continue to pursue strategy of maximizing market share
Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan: Together we will go through current difficult stage
Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan: Together we will go through current difficult stage
Proposed 15 million bpd cut should be divided among all, not just Saudi-Russia
Proposed 15 million bpd cut should be divided among all, not just Saudi-Russia
Loading Bars
What happens to oil prices if new OPEC+ deal can’t be agreed?
Covid-19 makes new OPEC+ agreement more likely
Iran must simplify access to loans for workers- Tehran Retirement Center
Iran and India trade continues despite coronavirus spread - Chamber of Commerce
SOFAZ's budgetary expenses predicted at level approved in annual budget
Libya reports 1st COVID-19 recovery case
Japan set to announce coronavirus emergency
S. Korea to send $2 m worth of medical equipment to Iran
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 77,000 in past day
Second potential COVID-19 vaccine in U.S. starts safety test
5.0-magnitude quake hits 79km WNW of Sinabang, Indonesia
WHO's Tedros sends best wishes to UK's Johnson suffering COVID-19
U.S. COVID-19 deaths top 10,000: Johns Hopkins University
UK PM Johnson moved to intensive care as COVID-19 symptoms worsen
Saudi capital, cities get 24-hour curfew, Kuwait isolates two districts over coronavirus
Turkey's COVID-19 cases surge past 30,000
Heydar Aliyev Center supports Germany amid COVID-19 outbreak (VIDEO)
Coronavirus pandemic is historical test for EU, Merkel says
Over 50% of requests for obtaining permission to leave home rejected in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan discloses amount allocated to reduce unemployment
Azerbaijani Operational Headquarters: Severe measures to be taken towards quarantine regime violators
Georgian citizens over 60 to get pneumococcal vaccine
Rules for movement of children, adolescents during quarantine period in Azerbaijan disclosed
Georgian Greenhouse Corporation continues to produce vegetables at maintenance level
Azerbaijan launches website providing access to digital services during quarantine regime
Minister: Restoration of Georgia's tourism sector to depend on international development
Cabinet of Ministers: Azerbaijan not to allow unjustified dismissal from work during special quarantine regime
President Ilham Aliyev issues Decree to pardon group of convicts aged over 65
Azerbaijan's Tax Ministry registers SOCAR-STP joint venture
Georgia begins business audits to check implementation of medical recommendations
Kazakhstan ready to export flour to Central Asian neighbors under certain conditions
Licenses in Iran's Markazi Province announced
Nar starts to render mobile service for customers under preventive measures against coronavirus outbreak
Energy ministry: Azerbaijan takes several measures in renewable energy in 2020
Azerbaijani ATMs not to charge interests from social payments
Thousands of Pakistanis in UAE seek to return home amid coronavirus outbreak
Azerbaijani persimmon producers talk changes in exports
English coronavirus death toll rises 403 to 4,897
Azerbaijani insurers talk their activities during special quarantine regime
Thailand extends ban on incoming passenger flights
Azerbaijan’s Regional Development Public Association creating web portal for those who need help and want to render it
Turkmengaz state concern opens tender for purchase of material, technical resources
MFA: Int’l community condemns, rejects so-called "elections" in occupied Karabakh
EDB talks possible negative coronavirus, lower oil prices consequences on Kazakhstan's economy
Khomein petrochemical plant to be commissioned in Iran
Azerbaijan's Central Bank attracts funds
Georgian government continues to return its citizens from Europe due to coronavirus
Uzbekistan maintains sufficient stock of vegetables
Iran may reduce chicken export duties
Georgian ministry reports on implementation of infrastructure projects
Azerbaijan's largest glass factory reveals export volumes
US thanks Turkmenistan for helping send its citizens back home
Azerbaijani analysts: Price of Brent oil may rise
EBRD provides financial assistance to Georgia in fight against coronavirus
No need for mandatory sale of assets to fulfill SOFAZ’s obligations
Uzbekistan continues to provide rail freight transportation
Kazakh national currency up agains US dollar
Iranian Ministry of Health: Coronavirus more dangerous than swine flu
Turkey’s VakifBank postpones payables due to coronavirus
SOFAZ's budgetary expenses predicted at level approved in annual budget
Azerbaijan’s Garadagh glass factory reveals production volumes
National Iranian Oil Company to put products on sale
Turkmenistan sells urea to UAE, gasoline to Afghanistan
Azerbaijan confirms 57 more coronavirus cases, 12 recover
Azerbaijani State Oil Fund’s current investment portfolio consists of more reliable instruments
Exports of products through Iran's Chahar-Mahal and Bakhtiari Province announced
Germany draws up plans to end lockdown after April 19
Notary services resume in Georgia
Azerbaijan’s hazelnut processing factory talks production volumes
Maximal recommended deposits rates reconsidered in Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan’s Association of Insurers talks about exemption of insurers from deductions to Central Bank
Electricity exports to ensure Iran national security
Iran to allocate funds to support 10 categories of jobs
Kazakh coal extracting venture to purchase spare parts via tender
Azerbaijan, Turkey submit application for inclusion of balaban in UNESCO Cultural Heritage List
Russian expert on upcoming OPEC meeting: Baku's position important for both partners and foreign investors
Uzbekistan invests in further development of its hydrocarbon production
Iran reveals volume of unloaded basic goods in its ports
Exports of products through customs Iran's Razavi Khorasan Province announced
Death toll from coronavirus up in Iran
President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva attend opening of medical masks manufacturing enterprise in Sumgayit Chemical Industrial Park (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Malaysia reports 131 new coronavirus cases; 3,793 in total, with one new death
Turkmenistan expands production of agricultural crops, meat and dairy products
Dollar rate starts to rise in Uzbekistan
“Power of Siberia 2” a key element in Russia’s gas strategy
Azerbaijani oil prices for March 30-April 3
Lufthansa's Belgian carrier suspends flights until mid-May
Equinor hopes for further cooperation with SOCAR in HSE area
Export of Turkish electrical goods down
AIIB to provide Uzbekistan with funds to improve water supply in Bukhara region
Iran's Mercantile Exchange to attract more foreign customers
Protective of religious beards, Israel to produce fitted face masks
Coronavirus cases count exceeds 600 in Kazakhstan
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
OPEC decision to affect Iran's oil products export
Kazakh Gas Refinery opens tender for procurement of spare parts
Exports of products of Iran's Gilan province announced
Uzbekistan takes measures to improve financial stability of its oil, gas industry
Russian expert: Oil exporters to bargain for conditions within OPEC+
Iran's exports of products via Pars Special Economic Energy Zone increase
All news