Trends in the passenger car markets
We expect trends in the passenger car markets in the individual regions to be mixed in 2018. Overall, growth in global demand for new vehicles will probably be slower than in the reporting period.
The Volkswagen Group is well prepared for the future challenges in the mobility business and the mixed developments in regional automotive markets. Our unique brand portfolio, our presence in all major world markets, broad and selectively expanded product range, and pioneering technologies and services place us in a good competitive position worldwide. Our goal is to offer all customers mobility and innovations suited to their needs and thus ensuring long-term success.
We expect that the growth in demand for passenger cars worldwide will continue in the years 2019 to 2022.
For 2018, we anticipate that unit sales volumes in Western Europe will fall slightly short of those seen in the reporting period. The level recorded before the financial and debt crisis is unlikely to be achieved again in the medium term. The uncertain outcome of the exit negotiations between the EU and United Kingdom is likely to further exacerbate the continuing uncertainty among consumers precipitated by the financial and debt crisis, putting a damper on demand. In Italy and Spain, the recovery will probably continue in 2018 but at a considerably slower pace; in the French market, we expect growth to be only slightly positive. In the United Kingdom, we expect the market volume to fall moderately short of the previous year’s high level.
Passenger car demand in 2018 is expected to significantly exceed the prior-year figures in markets in Central and Eastern Europe. In Russia, the volume of demand will probably rise somewhat more strongly after the considerable recovery over the past fiscal year. We also expect to see further growth in demand in the other markets in this region.
We are projecting that the volume of demand in the South African passenger car market in 2018 will be up slightly year-on-year.
Following the positive trend of recent years, we forecast that the market volume of the German passenger car market will remain on a level with the previous year in 2018.
The volume of demand in the markets for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (up to 6.35 tonnes) in North America as a whole and in the USA is likely to be slightly lower in 2018 than in the prior year. Demand will probably remain highest for models in the SUV and pickup segments. In Canada, the number of new registrations is projected to be slightly below the previous year’s high level as well. In Mexico, we anticipate that demand will be unchanged year-on-year.
Owing to their dependence on demand for raw materials, the South American markets for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles are heavily influenced by developments in the global economy. In addition, protectionist tendencies are adversely affecting the performance of the region’s vehicle markets, especially in Brazil and Argentina, which have imposed restrictions on vehicle imports. Nevertheless, we expect demand in the South American markets as a whole to distinctly increase in 2018 compared with the previous year. In Brazil, South America’s largest market, volume is likely to rise markedly again in 2018 after the strong increase in the past fiscal year. We anticipate that demand in the Argentinian market in 2018 will be perceptibly higher year-on-year.
We believe that the passenger car markets in the Asia-Pacific region will continue their growth in 2018, albeit at a slower pace. In China, the increase in individual mobility requirements will push up demand, though the rate of growth is likely to be slightly slower than in the previous year. Strong demand is still forecast for attractively priced entry-level models in the SUV segment in particular. In India, we expect demand for passenger cars to moderately exceed the previous year’s level. We anticipate that demand in the Japanese passenger car market will fall slightly in 2018.