BERLIN (REUTERS) - Germany's exporter-heavy auto industry, home of carmakers such as Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG, could be poised for a slowdown next year as demand in foreign markets slows, Siemens AG Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser said in a newspaper interview.
"I would not be surprised if we see a darkening in the automobile sector in 2016 or 2017, due to weakening export dynamics," Kaeser told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.
China, the world's largest auto market and for years a stable source of revenue for Germany's top carmakers, "is probably facing a difficult time," Mr Kaeser said, citing the country's devaluation of the yuan. "At the moment it looks as if the reform course in China is stalling," Mr Kaeser said.
Carmakers need to focus on "innovation and productivity" as well as new opportunities from digitalization, said the CEO of Siemens which provides automation of production processes and testing-technology solutions in the auto industry.
Germany's VDA auto industry association said last month new car sales in Europe's biggest auto market may grow 2 percent this year to 3.1 million cars.