BERLIN-- Europe's largest car market, Germany, probably won't grow next year, as the region's sovereign-debt crisis saps consumer confidence.
Sales in 2012 will probably hold steady at 3.1 million vehicles after rising about 8 percent this year, the German auto industry association VDA said at a press conference in Berlin.
Production by the country's carmakers is projected also to be flat at 5.9 million vehicles. "We are expecting more headwinds," VDA President Matthias Wissmann said on Friday. "2012 will be a hard year."
German car manufacturers are bracing for a slowdown in demand, while the DIW research institute has predicted the economy may slide into recession over the next two quarters.
In the first 11 months, new-car sales in Germany grew 9 percent to 2.93 million and the country's Federal Motor Transport Authority said on Friday that the sales are likely to be 3.2 million for the whole year.
BMW said on Oct. 28 that it's prepared to reduce production by as much as 30 percent. Daimler said Oct. 27 that production flexibility enables it to "react quickly to future developments."
The western European car market will remain unchanged at 12.8 million vehicles next year as long as the economy remains stable, the VDA said.
If tensions on financial markets don't ease, a slight decline is possible, Wissmann said. "We're confident overall for 2012, if financial markets are stabilized and the European debt crisis gets under control," he said.
In China, the world's biggest car market, sales may rise 8 percent to 13.2 million vehicles in 2012, slowing from growth of 30 percent to 40 percent in recent years, Wissmann said.