BERLIN -- Volkswagen expects annual global new-car sales to grow to about 105 million cars in 2018 from 72.2 million in 2010, VW manager Hans Demant said.
Despite global economic woes, the "automotive branch is still a growth industry," Demant told the Automobilwoche conference in Berlin. Automobilwoche is a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
Brazil, Russia, India and China will post the highest growth rates, said Demant, a former Opel manager who oversees international cooperation projects at Volkswagen.
In Western Europe, car sales will grow to 16.5 million from 14.4. million, he said. The greatest growth will be in India (137 percent), followed by Russia and eastern Europe (94 percent) and South America (70 percent). VW forecasts growth of 68 percent in China.
Demant said individual markets cannot be served with a global car because of different regional demands.
In Asia, for example, exterior safety features are more important than those inside a car. For Russian buyers "the bigger a car is, the more safer it is," Demant said. In Brazil, customers demand a small car with a large trunk and a fuel tank that gives the vehicle a range of at least 500km. Chinese buyers look for cars with lots of comfort features.
VW Group, including the Audi, Skoda and Seat brands, targets vehicle sales of 8 million cars this year, and aims to overtake Toyota and General Motors Co. as the world's biggest carmaker by 2018.
VW is establishing industrial partnerships in areas where it is advantageous, Demant said. For example, Suzuki, in which VW has a 20 percent stake, has cars smaller than the new VW Up. Demant declined to comment on VW's current problems with Suzuki over the terms of their alliance.