In 2018, worldwide demand for cars is likely to increase again from an already high level. According to current forecasts, slight growth of approximately 2 % is to be expected. Slight market growth is expected once again in Europe and China. The US market will be similar to its prior-year volume and the recovery of demand in the emerging markets should continue.
In Europe, we expect a slight increase in overall car sales. As the market volume in Western Europe is now above average again, we expect demand to remain fairly stable. In Eastern Europe, however, a significant increase in sales volumes is anticipated primarily due to the ongoing recovery of the Russian market. The US market for cars and light trucks should maintain its high level of approximately 17 million units sold. Despite the favorable economic outlook, we believe a further increase is unlikely because the market can be regarded as being fairly saturated at this level.
The Chinese car market continues to be significantly affected by regulatory conditions. At the beginning of the year, the tax rate on purchases of cars with small engines (up to 1.6 liters) was raised back to its normal level of 10 %. As this led to purchases being brought forward to late 2017, more moderate demand is to be expected in the first months of this year. In full-year 2018, the Chinese market should expand slightly nonetheless. In Japan, we assume that the car market will undergo a slight downward correction, but demand in India should continue to grow significantly.
Thanks to the continuation of a positive investment climate worldwide, overall demand for medium- and heavy-duty trucks should increase significantly in most of the regions relevant to us.
In the NAFTA region, a cyclical recovery of the truck market is to be expected and we anticipate a significant increase in overall sales in weight classes 6-8.
In an ongoing favorable economic environment, we assume that demand in the EU30 region (European Union, Switzerland and Norway) will maintain the robust market volume of the previous year. After the long weakness of demand of recent years in Brazil, it is to be expected that a somewhat livelier economic recovery will also bring about significant growth of the truck market, although from a very low level. The Turkish market should also grow significantly from its present low level. In Russia, we expect further significant growth in demand for trucks.
The most important Asian markets from Daimler’s perspective are likely to present a varied picture in 2018. In the Japanese market for light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, we anticipate a slight market correction at an ongoing solid level. We expect a positive development of the Indonesian truck market. In India, demand for medium- and heavy-duty trucks should recover significantly from the market contraction of 2017. In the Chinese market, a significant correction is to be expected following the extremely high volume of the previous year.
In the EU30 region in 2018, we expect slight market growth for small vans, for the combined segment of mid-size and large vans, and for the segment of mid-size pickups. In the United States, demand for large vans should be slightly stronger than in the previous year. The market for large vans in Latin America should continue its recovery in 2018. In China, we also expect a significant recovery of demand in the market we address there.
We expect a market volume for buses in the magnitude of the previous year in the EU30 region. The market situation in Latin America will be influenced by the economic upturn in Argentina and Brazil. Following the significant decline until 2016 and the turnaround in 2017, we assume that the significant market recovery will continue in 2018.