PARIS -- Volkswagen Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch said some European competitors are at risk of going out of business without financial assistance as the region's auto market sinks with no end in sight to the downfall.
"It is unclear if all carmakers will survive without governmental help," Poetsch said on the eve of the Paris auto show on Wednesday. "Carmakers in southern Europe that produce small cars will be especially affected."
As the show got underway on Thursday, French automaker executives were also pessimistic about the European market.
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen CEO Philippe Varin said rivals would soon be forced to follow PSA in closing factories and making big job cuts.
"Some of our competitors in Europe are losing even more money than us on every car they sell," Varin said. He described the European industry's situation as "untenable" in an interview with French newspaper Les Echos.
"We've laid out our plans, but other manufacturers will have to take similar steps. It's obvious that a certain number of plants will have to close," he said.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said the automaker's goal to increase deliveries this year is strongly under pressure. "We see no improvement next year. The market will be at best stable, or more likely a little lower," Ghosn told investors on Wednesday.