German automakers eye gains in US in 2011
German automakers are eyeing a larger share of the US luxury segment in a market expected to show solid growth this year, an industry spokesman said Monday.
Matthias Wissmann, head of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, told reporters at the Detroit Auto Show that the overall US car market is expected to grow 11 percent in 2011, to a total of 12.8 million vehicles.
"Last year in the luxury segment, the German brands built on their dominant position, pushing up their market share to 47.1 percent" from 45.5 percent in 2009, he said.
"If we look at the volume of the US light vehicle market in 2011 of 12.8 million units in relation to our market share, we can achieve sales this year reaching the one-million mark, given the right background conditions."
Wissmann said the US is "once again the second most important export destination for the German automotive industry, after the United Kingdom but still ahead of China."
The big German carmakers -- Volkswagen, Audi, Daimler, BMW and Porsche -- are concentrated in the luxury segment. Last year they held 7.6 percent of the US market, up from 5.1 percent in 2005.
Sales totaled 880,700, a rise of 15 percent, he said.
Wissmann said German automakers may be helped by increases in production the United States, notably the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This helps the European companies deal better with currency fluctuations.
© 2011 AFP