Geneva motor show car manufacturers set on upswing in europe

Geneva motor show car manufacturers set on upswing in europe

Also BMW -chief Norbert Reithofer made in Europe a "slight tendency upwards" from. He continues to focus on growth in the USA and China. In the world's two largest car markets, luxury carmakers are compensating for weakness at home. Because in the USA especially many expensive sedans and SUVs are sold and German brands are in demand, the manufacturers play through plans for new plants in America.

Six years of dreariness

In Europe, BMW, Daimler or Audi still sell almost half of their vehicles and usually make good returns. The countries of Southern Europe, which have been particularly badly shaken by the crisis and whose car markets have in part shrunk to a size similar to that of decades ago, are not among their largest sales markets, but they do have a lot of potential for growth. But the uncertainty among customers had after. Having spread to the rest of the continent. After six years of gloom, the industry expects sales in Europe to rise in 2014 for the first time since 2007. Around twelve million vehicles are predicted – but the pre-crisis level of 15 million would still be a long way off.

US market back to normal level

The U.S. Is already further ahead: the market had already plunged into the crisis before Europe, then recovered with giant strides after a long lull and returned to its long-standing normal level. Good for the German companies: The number of premium vehicles sold in the States is higher than anywhere else. With their own manufacturing in the Americas, automakers can meet demand in the U.S. As well as in the hopeful markets of South America. The VW subsidiary Audi, for example, plans to build in Mexico. Producing in Brazil. At BMW, there has been speculation for some time that the group will set up production in Mexico. The automaker itself leaves open whether it will look for a new location in the USA, Mexico or elsewhere. In Geneva, Reithofer merely said that he could envisage a larger production volume in the NAFTA region – i.E. In the countries of the North American Free Trade Agreement (USA, Canada and Mexico). If growth continues, another plant could be considered, he added. Daimler CEO Zetsche said of plans for a new plant in the NAFTA region, this is for the next production cycle of compact cars, which starts in 2018. Asked whether a decision would have to be made in the next twelve months, he replied: "That sounds reasonable."

With regard to the turbulence in the emerging markets, the Daimler boss said he still expects good growth, albeit at a lower level. BMW is also focusing on increasing sales in many emerging countries and thus becoming less dependent on individual regions. For 2014, CEO Reithofer reaffirmed the goal of again selling more cars. "We are aiming for a volume of over two million vehicles." In 2013, the luxury class manufacturer had already handed over 1.96 million BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brand cars to customers. In the automotive luxury class, the Munich-based company was thus the undisputed top dog.

Internet advance in the car

On everyone's lips at the show is the advance of the Internet in vehicle multimedia systems. For Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, digitization will force the auto industry to renew its models more quickly. He spoke of a revolutionary development. "In the next few years, our industry will be facing one of the biggest upheavals in the history of the automobile." The model cycle of seven to eight years would have to become significantly shorter. Daimler boss Zetsche, on the other hand, does not expect any dramatic change, according to his own words. In recent years, the time it takes to renew a model has already been reduced from eight to seven years. This takes longer for premium cars than for volume models, he said. He expects it to be shortened to six years.

French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen, meanwhile, could face further cuts. Future Group CEO Carlos Tavares believes further restructuring is possible after 2016. The pact negotiated with the unions will then expire. "But what comes after that depends on how our situation looks in 2016", Tavares told the Handelsblatt newspaper (Tuesday). "There is a good understanding in the company of our weaknesses and that our future is not bright if we don't fix those."

"Create value"

Tavares wants to lead PSA into the future with three brands: Peugeot, Citroën and DS. Previously just a Citroen series, DS is to become a brand in its own right, similar to Audi: "It took Audi 30 years to do it, I think we can do it in 20 years." At the same time the number of models should shrink. PSA is not getting the right message across to customers with its many models. Referring to France's stake in PSA, Tavares said: "The French state will come in as a normal investor, so it has the same interest as the other big investors Dongfeng and Peugeot: it wants us to create value."

Mini segment weakens

The German manufacturers, on the other hand, can't complain, at least as far as their home market is concerned. With few exceptions, they sold more vehicles in Germany in February than in the same month last year. However, demand for small cars declined. While sporty SUVs (+28 percent) or luxury sedans (+15.1 percent) sold significantly better than a year earlier, the Mini segment weakened, with sales down 11.3 percent. There was also less interest in vans and mid-size cars, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Flensburg on Tuesday.

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