2009 will be a year dominated by crisis management. The number of new vehicle registrations is expected to fall in nearly all of the world’s markets. Only in the increasingly important Indian market is a slight increase predicted.
In the USA, we expect that the economic climate will continue to cool significantly due among other reasons to the financial crisis. The ongoing uncertainty about the future development of fuel prices can also have a negative effect on demand for new vehicles. We also expect demand to shrink in the Canadian and Mexican markets for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
South America/South Africa
The South American markets will also suffer from the effects of the global financial crisis. We expect this region to experience a sharp drop in demand in 2009. After a weak 2008, South Africa is likely to see a further decline in registration numbers in 2009.
In 2009, we anticipate weaker overall demand in markets in the Asia-Pacific region, but particularly in China and Japan, after several high-growth years. In India, the market as a whole is forecast to grow moderately.
In Western Europe (excluding Germany), we assume that demand for passenger cars will drop sharply due to the financial crisis. Central and Eastern Europe will also be affected.
After a weak year in Germany in 2008, we expect 2009 to be difficult. The major uncertainty arising from the financial crisis is seriously impacting consumer spending and therefore the automotive market. It remains to be seen how much the economic rescue package resolved by the German federal government and particularly the program to promote demand for cars will revive vehicle sales. Overall, we expect the rescue package to stimulate demand. This is also true of the economic aid programs resolved or announced in other countries.
exchange rate Trends
The tone of the second half of fiscal 2008 in particular was set by the financial crisis, which led to strong increases in the external value of the US dollar and Japanese yen against the euro. Once the financial markets have calmed down and taking the economic environment into consideration, we expect to see renewed gradual reductions in the exchange rates for the above-mentioned export currencies.
interest rate trends
We are expecting to see additional interest rate cuts in Europe in 2009. In the USA, we anticipate that the currently low interest rate levels will be maintained.
commodity price trends
Commodity prices fell further in the second half of 2008 following the expected sharp increase in the first half of the year. In the period through to mid-2009, we expect prices to remain stable at a level considerably lower than in 2008. In the second half of the year, prices are anticipated to rise again, even though they are unlikely to reach the speculative highs of 2008.