PARIS -- Carmakers are looking to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets to dispel the dark clouds over Europe, which is the only large global auto market forecast to shrink this year.
Fiat S.p.A. CEO Sergio Marchionne said the Italian carmaker expects to report a net profit this year as good sales in Latin America help offset weaknesses in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.
"We see a slightly rosier future but it's too early to open champagne bottles," Marchionne said at the Paris auto show last week.
Volkswagen AG increased the outlook for global industry sales in 2010 to growth of 6 percent to 7 percent from a 5 percent estimate. VW sales are being boosted by strong demand in China.
VW may outperform competitors in 2010 and may reach 10 million annual vehicle sales earlier than its target of 2018, Christian Klingler, the company’s sales chief, said at the show.
"There are still risks but we increasingly see more reason to view developments more positively than before," Klingler said.
Toyota Motor Corp. is projecting that its sales in China may overtake its European deliveries in 2010.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said: "Growth of 3 to 4 percent globally (in 2011) would be completely reasonable."
2010 best year
Colin Dodge, Nissan's executive vice president and chairman for Africa, Middle East, India and Europe, said carmakers with good global coverage would have their biggest year yet. "Russia is back and booming, India is accelerating and the growth rate in China is nearly uncatchable," he said.
PricewaterhouseCoopers said production growth in emerging markets will surpass mature markets such as Europe, the U.S. and Japan in 2011. PwC forecasts that BRIC countries will build 37.5 million units next year, surpassing the 37 million of mature markets.
Calum MacRae, Autofacts leader at PwC in London, said the gap will widen in 2012 with emerging market production growing to 41.75 million while mature markets will marginally increase production to 38.3 million.