DETROIT -- German automakers expect to gain market share in the United States for a fifth straight year in 2009 and have their sights set on more.
Companies that dont make the effort in this market cannot do well globally, Matthias Wissmann, president of the German auto industry association, said during a briefing at the North American International Auto Show here today.
Rising share for German automakers in the United States may further pinch the Detroit 3 in their home market. The domestic brands of General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC lost almost 4 points of share last year, to 47.5 percent, while Asian and European makes gained.
Combined U.S. share of Porsche AG, Daimler AG, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG has grown from 5.1 percent in 2005 to 6.7 percent last year, Wissmann said. He said that 10 percent of the light-vehicle market is imaginable in the medium term.
German carmakers sold 890,000 vehicles in the United States last year, down 6.1 percent from 2007, Wissman said, as the overall market dropped 18.0 percent to its lowest level since 1992. Forecasts call for a decline of at least half that in 2009.
Among German makers, Porsche posted the biggest sales decline, 25.0 percent, last year. Daimler, aided by the Smart minicar, fell the least -- 1.5 percent.
Wissmann said German automakers are pushing sales both on the upper and lower end of the product spectrum. He cited an 11 percent increase in German small cars in the United States to 258,000 units in 2008. The total includes BMWs Mini and VWs Jetta in addition to Daimlers Smart.
Wissmann said German automakers are producing more cars in North America, including Mexico, and that trend will continue.