MUNICH -- Experts are forecasting a good 2010 for premium brands and a bad year for mass-market car manufacturers.
High-volume manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG, Opel AG and Ford of Europe benefited greatly from the scrapping incentives in Europe last year. But the incentives pulled forward sales, which will lead to a massive sales decline this year, said Gregor Claussen, an analyst at Commerzbank.
But things are looking up this year for makers of expensive vehicles, which were hit in the industry downturn in 2009.
"In Germany, premium manufacturers will record a slight increase of 2 to 3 percent this year," said Juergen Pieper, auto analyst at Bankhaus Metzler.
He is even figuring on a rise of up to 5 percent worldwide. In growth markets, especially China, the demand for expensive cars will rise significantly, Pieper says.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said his brand will grow again in 2010 after a 5.4 percent decline to 949,700 units in 2009.
Audi's declined was less sever last year than those felt by rivals BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz because of strong sales in its largest foreign market, China. By October 2009, Audi equaled its record sales of 120,000 cars set in 2008. Audi finished the year as China's top-selling premium brand with a volume of 158,941 cars.