All of these indicate that most German carmakers have begun thinking beyond the issue of recovering from the global financial crisis. Instead, they are focussed on tapping into growth opportunities overseas and addressing the pressing issue of growing consumer interest in alternative fuel vehicles. BMI believes the strategy makes sense. Despite being better positioned than most of its European counterparts - in terms of consumer demand, Germany's high rate of car ownership of nearly 54% gives little room for further growth. BMI is currently forecasting sales growing an average 3% y-o-y between 2012 and 2015, following a cautious 6.5% y-o-y growth in sales expected in 2011. That growth help the market return to pre-crisis levels of 2008 by as early as 2012, but not strong enough to match 2007 levels anytime during the forecast period.
In terms of their production strategies, BMI expects German carmakers to increase cooperation in a bid to support their cautious finances. Daimler is already in talks with British Aston Martin over possibly contracting out production of its Maybach brand to reduce its costs towards the brand. Indeed, such pressures do not bode well for the future of Germany's auto production, given that the country already suffers from higher production costs. BMI therefore forecasts production to grow an average 3% y-o-y over 2011-2015, which should increase total annual production to 6.90mn units by the end of 2015.
German commercial vehicle manufacturers, meanwhile, are making strides in emerging markets. The strength of demand in Latin America is prompting truck maker MAN to seek more growth in the region and it has revealed plans to build 2,000 trucks and buses a year at its Queretaro facility in Mexico. MAN is also seeking growth in CIS markets and has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukrainian carmaker Bogdan Corporation for the assembly, production and supply of MAN-Bogdan branded buses in Ukraine.
Daimler is also keen to benefit from growth in major emerging markets, in particular the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) In January, Daimler signed an agreement to invest EUR50mn (US$67.2mn) in Russian truck maker Kamaz to make axes for trucks. Mercedes-Benz's plans to restart production of semi-heavy trucks in Buenos Aires province, Argentina from May 2011. It has also agreed a joint investment project with Russian carmaker GAZ to produce Mercedes vans in Russia.
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