DETROIT -- Passenger vehicle sales should strengthen nearly 20 percent by the end of the decade to about 70 million vehicles annually, spurred by growth not only in developing markets but in the United States and Europe, the CEO of BMW AG said on Monday.
Further growth in developed markets, where consumers are adding a second or third car, and new markets such as China are creating opportunities for the industry, BMW CEO Helmut Panke said.
Global vehicle sales grew above 60 million last year from 36 million in 1990 and 56 million in 2000, the Panke told reporters at a Detroit Automotive Press Association luncheon.
"There's growth not just in developing markets, but in Europe and the United States," he said.
In the United States, the number of vehicles total about 900 for every 1,000 people, above the rate of less than 500 vehicles per 1,000 people in Europe, and less than 10 vehicles per thousand people in China, he said.
"The difference between the U.S. and the rest of the world means that there is considerable market potential for our industry," Panke said.
Industry sales in the U.S. market will grow by 8 percent to 10 percent in the next decade, he said.
BMW's U.S. market share will top 2 percent within three to five years, up from about 1.7 percent currently, Panke later told reporters.
BMW expects that currency fluctuations will not play a major role in its earnings next year, and the automaker has already hedged for about one-third of its anticipated dollar-euro needs for next year, Panke said.
"It's something which will not be really a decisive factor for next year," Panke said.
With the U.S. being BMW's largest market, dollar-euro currency issues can play a major role in the company's profits, analysts have said. The automaker has taken advantage of spikes in the U.S. dollar to help its currency position for next year, Panke said.
The automaker has a natural hedge against the currency swings with its $3.5 billion in annual purchases from parts suppliers in the United States, he said.
Also acting as a hedge, BMW builds the Z4 roadster and the X3 sport utility vehicle at its manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, S.C. But the automaker has no plans to add a second plant or to add significant capacity at its South Carolina plant. The automaker will continue to boost production at Spartanburg, as it has in the past, on a step-by-step basis, he said.
"We are not planning at this point in time to have a second major plant in the U.S.," Panke said.