German automotive research company, the Institut für Automobilwirtschaft (IFA), is forecasting a 5% downturn in global vehicle markets in 2009 to 50.4m vehicles.
According to Automobilwoche, IFA saw the biggest fall in North America, where new vehicle sales will fall 12% to 12m units. In western Europe, it forecast a 9% drop to 12.5m units.
Asian markets will see some very slight growth (+0.7%) to 14.1m units.
Head analyst Will Diez expects overcapacity to be a growing problem in coming years and has forecast a surplus of 12m units by 2012.
German sales have been forecast at 2.8m units in 2009 – the lowest level since reunification. Rising unemployment and the high cost of credit were cited as major negative factors influencing demand.
Exports are seen falling to 3.54m units meaning production will decline 13% to 4.8m units.
Diez also forecast a major impact on dealer networks, saying the number of independents in Germany will fall from 9,500 to 8,000 outlets.
But a strong recovery was forecast from 2010/11 when the market will be boosted by low raw material prices, new technologies and new vehicle models. By 2015, the global market could be up to around 65.5m units, more than making up for the declines in 2008 and 2009.