DaimlerChrysler will focus its eastern European expansion efforts on Russia, according to Automotive News Europe.

DaimlerChrysler sees less potential in new European Union members such as Poland, Hungary and Slovakia because they already have a relatively high vehicle ownership.

Countries such as Russia and the Ukraine with large populations and low vehicle ownership rates offer the best growth potential, says Erich Jonscher, DC marketing chief for eastern Europe.

“We believe that automobile sales will be on a continuously positive upward trend,” he said. “The annual growth rates will be between 6% and 8%.”

Jonscher expects big differences between individual markets.

“Currently Russia, the Ukraine, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia are the most interesting east European markets,” he said. “Romania is also an interesting market. Russia – our focal point within eastern Europe – and the Ukraine are the most important because they have large populations and therefore a high number of potential buyers.”