BUCHAREST -- Continental AG, Europe's second-largest supplier, will focus its investments on Asia in the coming years, where sales will account for a third of the German company's total, board member Heinz-Gerhard Wente said.
Europe will remain the biggest market for Continental, next year but the region might "bring some problems" because of a possible economic slowdown triggered by the sovereign-debt crisis, Wente said in an interview in Bucharest on Wednesday.
However, he said he doesn't see signs of a dramatic downturn.
"We expect the highest market volumes in Asia in the next few years and our investment focus is Asia, especially India and China," Wente said. "Operationally, we see quite a stable business but we don't know what impact the euro crisis will be and we are quite reserved about the possible number of cars produced next year."
Asian sales now represent 21 percent of overall sales for Continental.
A recovery in global auto markets has helped Continental improve its financial situation and report the highest quarterly profit in more than three years.
Continental received its first credit-rating upgrade from Moody's Investors Service in six years in April after arranging a 6 billion-euro ($8 billion) loan package to cut borrowing costs.
Continental also plans to increase investments in Romania and spend about 40 million euros to increase output of its tire plant in the western city of Timisoara, according to Wente.