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Market won't recover until 2013 says Volkswagen boss

Volkswagen's chief executive says the worldwide automotive market won’t match pre-recession levels until 2013 at the earliest.

 Industry sales in 2009 may decline for a second consecutive year to 49 million vehicles, down 17% from a peak of 2007, and a recovery next year isn’t guaranteed, Martin Winterkorn said today at a conference in Nuertingen, Germany, according to Bloomberg. 

“It’s clear that 2010 will become a very difficult year,” Winterkorn said. “There are growing signs that the worst of the crisis may now be behind us, but it will take time for the markets to recover.”

Worldwide car and light-truck sales amounted to about 59.2 million vehicles in 2007, according to figures from consultant IHS Global Insight.

The German market, which is Europe’s biggest with 3.09 million vehicles sold in 2008, may shrink to as low as 2.7 million units in 2010 after state incentives expire, Joachim Schmidt, head of sales at Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz Cars brand, said today in an interview at the Nuertingen conference.

Emerging economies such as China and India will be the source of any sales growth in the future, Winterkorn said.

“The striving for mobility across emerging economies is enormous,” Winterkorn said.

An estimated 300 million people in China are waiting to buy their first car, while the proportion of vehicles per resident in India is 11 cars per 1,000 people compared with 500 per 1,000 in Germany, the CEO said.

“Those figures reflect the huge potential across developing markets,” he said.

China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest automotive market this year, according to industry executives.

Sales in China will rise by a minimum 35% to 12.6 million vehicles this year and may top 13 million units, Xu Chanming, research director at the State Information Centre advisory body, said on September 25.

India’s car sales in the five months through August rose 13% from a year earlier.


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