ACCORDING TO a market study released by R L Polk & Co this week, global light vehicle sales will drop off by 14.7 percent from 2008 levels to 55.2 million units in 2009, and the global automotive market may take another three years to recover.
The results of the study point to emerging markets such as Latin America, Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe as a focus point for long-term growth, with those areas likely to yield more sales than the traditional big markets like the US, Canada, Western Europe and Japan.
?We see China and India as key drivers of growth, as vehicles become attainable for an increasing percentage of these countries? huge consumer populations,? said Uwe Biastoch, Director of Global Forecasting at Polk.
?Like Tata Motors with the recent launch of the low-cost Nano in India, manufacturers that innovate and produce market-specific products will be successful in emerging markets,? he said.
The study also predicts that these emerging markets will recover from the current global financial crisis three years earlier than the traditionally strong markets, with 2007 sales levels likely to be achieved in the emerging markets as soon as 2011; while the US and other markets will take until 2014 to reach similar figures.
Japanese giant Toyota is expected to maintain its position as the world?s top automotive manufacturer, predicting a stable market share of 12 percent through to the year 2020.
Ford and GM, on the other hand, have both lost nearly five percent of their worldwide market share between 2000 and 2008, and Polk expects both to lose more market share through 2012.
?The U.S. market is currently in a state of flux, with the impact of Chrysler?s Chapter 11 filing yet to be realized and GM?s fate uncertain. It also remains to be seen whether the Obama administration will follow the lead of some European countries and reward consumers who turn in old vehicles and purchase cleaner cars, and what the impact of such a fleet modernization initiative might be,? said Ulrich Winzen, Chief Analyst at Polk.
Fighting strong for its stated goal of surpassing Toyota for overall global sales, Volkswagen is predicted to gain a point of market share in the next three years.
"Volkswagen is making great inroads in China, which will certainly boost its success worldwide. At some point in 2009, we expect Volkswagen to surpass GM as the number two manufacturer in the world, although the race will be close," Biastoch said.
"The trend could change temporarily to GM's benefit if the proposed U.S. scrappage incentive passes."