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Forecast for Key Customer Sectors

Future General Conditions

Forecast for production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles
For the global production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles weighing less than 6 metric tons, we currently expect growth of 1% to almost 94 million units in 2017.

In 2017, China is once again expected to generate the most growth in production volumes worldwide. After the very sharp rise in the previous year and the increase in sales tax from 5% to 7.5%, we expect, however, growth to amount to only just under 4% or around 1.1 million units. We also expect India, Japan, and South Korea to record rises in production volumes. For Asia as a whole, we anticipate a 3% rise in production to around 51 million units. We expect passenger car production in Europe to grow by 2% in 2017. In Western Europe, we anticipate stable development of domestic demand, combined with generally stagnating export figures. In Eastern Europe, we currently expect passenger car demand and production to recover slightly. In North America, we currently consider a 3% decline in production to be probable in view of the high level of production already achieved. There are sales opportunities arising from the still relatively old pool of passenger cars in the U.S.A. and Europe. In South America, passenger car production is likely to stabilize in 2017; we expect a slight increase of 2% here.

Forecast for production of medium and heavy commercial vehicles
We estimate that global production of commercial vehicles weighing more than 6 metric tons will grow by 1% in 2017. The individual regions are likely to develop very differently.

The main reason for the weaker global growth compared to the previous year is the continuing decline in commercial vehicle production in North America in 2017. Although we expect this to stabilize over the course of the year, we anticipate a decline of 5% in 2017. We expect a decline of 2% for Europe in 2017. For Asia, we expect further production growth of 4% following the sharp rise in the previous year. We expect a slight increase in production of 1% in South America.

Forecast for vehicle production and sales volumes in the tire replacement business
Vehicle production
  of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in millions of units of medium and heavy commercial vehicles in thousands of units
  2017 2016 2017 2016
Europe 21.7 21.4 613 625
North America 17.4 17.8 480 505
South America 2.8 2.8 81 80
Asia 50.9 49.5 1,861 1,789
Other markets 1.0 1.0 0 0
Worldwide 93.9 92.5 3,034 2,999

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Forecast for replacement tire markets for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles
The positive trend in demand for replacement tires for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles weighing less than 6 metric tons is expected to continue in almost all regions in 2017. On a global level, we expect demand to increase by 2%.

Nearly three-quarters of this is likely to be attributable to the Asian market with growth of 4%, which will still be driven by demand in China as a result of the increased vehicle stock, as well as by rising demand in India, Indonesia, and other countries. In Europe, we expect a continuing rise in demand for replacement tires for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in Western and Eastern Europe in 2017, which should cause sales volumes in Europe as a whole to increase by 2%. In North America, demand should increase by 2% as a result of the continuing rise in mileage. In South America, we also expect tire sales volumes to increase by 2%.

Forecast for replacement tire markets for medium and heavy commercial vehicles
Global demand for replacement tires for commercial vehicles weighing more than 6 metric tons is likely to gain momentum and grow by 3% in 2017 due to rising tonnage in most countries and regions.

Asia remains a major driver here, as the continuing economic growth is increasing transport volumes. We therefore again expect demand for replacement tires for medium and heavy commercial vehicles to go up by 4%. In Europe, we currently expect sales volumes of replacement tires for medium and heavy commercial vehicles to increase by 2%. We expect demand to grow by around 1% in North America and 2% in South America.

Forecast for vehicle production and sales volumes in the tire replacement business
Replacement sales of tires
  for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in millions of units for medium and heavy commercial vehicles in millions of units
  2017 2016 2017 2016
Europe 337 332 24.1 23.7
North America 287 283 23.4 23.2
South America 65 63 13.8 13.6
Asia 449 431 90.0 86.9
Other markets 45 45 7.5 7.5
Worldwide 1,182 1,154 158.9 154.9

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