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by Matt Brogan

Speaking with French newspaper Les Echos this weekend, German’s VDA President, Mr Matthias Wissmann, said German car manufacturers will gain market share by producing more smaller vehicles, even as competition in the global car industry intensifies.

“If BAIC buys GM’s unit Saab, and another Chinese company buys Ford’s Volvo, then that is a sign that the balance is shifting in the global auto market,” said Mr Wissmann. “Nobody can rest on what has been achieved so far.”

As China overtook the US as the world’s biggest auto market, Beijing Automotive Industrial Holding Corporation (BAIC) agreed to pay US$200 million for the technology of General Motors’ Swedish Saab subsidiary, and US rival Ford is nearing an agreement to sell Volvo to China’s Geely.

Mr Wissmann said he expected German car manufacturers, which account for 80 per cent of the global premium car market, to hold and further expand their position globally.

“At the same time we are attacking in the small car segment, with cars that only use about 3 litres of fuel for 100 kilometers,” Mr Wissmann said.

In 2010, Mr Wissmann said that he sees the German auto market normalising, with between 2.75 million and 3.0 million new registrations, which is only slightly below the multi-year domestic average.

“But more decisive will be the question of how international markets develop – three out of four cars built in Germany are for export,” said Mr Wissmann.

“We expect a slight recovery of global markets and thereby an increase in export and production, albeit at a low level.

“The fact that German carmakers were able to win market share in important countries this year makes be cautiously optimistic.”




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