According to current estimates, global demand for cars in the year 2016 is likely to increase again by between 3 and 4 % from its high level of 2015. Growth rates in the traditional markets of the United States and Western Europe will probably be significantly lower than the substantial growth of recent years. But the Chinese market should expand significantly once again, thus making the largest contribution to worldwide growth.
However, much of the expected growth in China will be the result of government stimulus. Against the backdrop of the pronounced weak phase that the Chinese market went through last summer, the government halved the sales tax on cars with engines of up to 1.6 liters displacement in October. After this measure already resulted in a visible improvement in the later months of 2015, a positive effect is to be expected also in 2016.
In the US market for cars and light trucks, only slight growth is to be expected after the all-time high in the reporting year. We anticipate slight market growth also for the market of Western Europe. While little growth is likely in the core markets of Germany and the United Kingdom, considerable catch-up potential exists in other markets such as Italy.
In Japan, a stabilization of demand is expected following the significant market correction of the previous year. The outlook for the large emerging markets remains mixed. Market growth in India should accelerate again, whereas the ongoing recession in Russia will most likely result in a further decrease in car sales.
Demand for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the markets relevant for Daimler should be slightly below the prior-year volume in 2016.
In the North American truck market, the gradual weakening of the industrial sector is likely to have an impact. From today’s perspective, demand for Classes 6-8 trucks is likely to decrease by approximately 10 %. But the European market so far seems to be fairly unaffected by the uncertain development of the world economy and should continue its recovery with slight growth this year.
The Brazilian market shows no signs of improvement. Due to the ongoing economic recession and the continuation of relatively unfavorable financing conditions, we have to anticipate further market contraction in the magnitude of 10 %. The situation in the Russian market will remain difficult, so demand there can only be expected at about the prior-year level. Demand in China is likely to be impacted by the growth slowdown in the manufacturing sector. From today’s perspective, only a moderate market recovery can be anticipated.
Demand in Japan for light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks is likely to be relatively solid. In a rather sluggish economic environment, the market volume should be at about the prior-year level. The Indonesian truck market is expected to stabilize at the low level of 2015. In India, further significant growth in the segment of medium- and heavy-duty trucks is anticipated.
We expect a slight increase in demand for mid-size and large vans in Western Europe in 2016 and stable demand for small vans. For the United States, we also anticipate moderate growth in the market for large vans. In Latin America, however, we expect further substantial contraction in the market for large vans, while in China, we expect more lively demand in the market we address there.
We expect a slightly larger market volume for buses in Western Europe in 2016 than in 2015. Following the significant drop in demand for buses in Brazil, we anticipate further market contraction in 2016.