* Daimler Q3 operating profit misses forecast
* European truck sales up 4.5 pct across all brands -ACEA
* VW warns debt crisis will weigh on W. Europe demand
* Hyundai Motors quarterly net profit rises 21 pct
* Japanese, U.S. auto makers face flood disruption
(Adds Volkswagen, shares, links to Asia stories)
By Maria Sheahan
FRANKFURT, Oct 27 Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and
Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) reinforced the gloomy outlook
for Europe's vehicle industry on Thursday, revealing weak sales
of premium cars and downbeat demand outlooks that overshadowed
some robust truck sales data.
The warnings fit with the signals coming from other car and
truck makers, which have benefited since the industry's
2008-2009 crisis from robust demand in emerging markets
including Brazil and China, but now warn the outlook for Europe,
beset by sovereign debt woes, is increasingly gloomy.
Daimler said its weaker-than-expected quarterly
operating profit suffered as premium car sales were hit by the
economic downturn., while better news in the truck sector for
Daimler and its peers, showed predicted slowing demand had not
Martin Winterkorn, Chief Executive of Europe's largest car
maker Volkswagen, also warned Europe's debt crisis would weigh
on demand for cars in many Western European markets, although
the company expects continued growth in Eastern Europe, India,
China and North and South America.
Overall demand for cars would be flat in 2011, he said.
VW predicted a big rise in revenues and operating profit
this year but warned volatile interest rates and currency
fluctuations as well as commodity prices would dent margins.
It posted a quarterly operating profit of 9 billion euros
thanks to double digit sales growth rates and a boost from
derivatives used in the merger with Porsche.
TRUCK BRIGHT SPOT
Despite the gloom, data on Thursday from industry group ACEA
showed the signs of cooling demand reported by truck makers had
not yet filtered through to sales.
Truck sales in the European Union rose 4.5 percent in
September, ACEA said.
But against this background truck manufacturers are bracing
themselves for lower demand ahead, in an industry closely linked
to international trade and the health of the wider economy.
World number two truck maker Volvo (VOLVb.ST) on Tuesday
said it was preparing to cut output in anticipation of lower
vehicle demand in Europe next year, and warned of slowing growth
in emerging regions.
Competitor Scania had earlier said it would make further
production cuts if economic uncertainty led to lower orders as
it posted a profit drop as expected.
PREMIUM SALES WEAK
Daimler's sales of Mercedes-Benz Cars, which also includes
the Smart brand, fell 2 percent in Western Europe in the third
quarter, with stagnating sales in Germany, Europe's biggest car
Car sales growth has been shrinking in Europe, with Germany
the only major market in the region to expand in September,
while the boom in China that bolstered German carmakers in
recent quarters has eased to a milder pace for now.
"At the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2011, the outlook
for the world economy is distinctly less favorable than just a
few months ago," Daimler said in its quarterly financial report.
However, it reaffirmed its full-year outlook.
"Perhaps the stock will struggle today -- but we still see
Daimler as an out of favour, cheap stock with durable earnings
power," wrote Bernstein analyst Max Warburton in a research
note. "2012 looks like it's going to be a tough year, but
Daimler may well fare better than many fear," he added.
Daimler shares rose 1.5 percent to 38.44 euros by
0843 GMT, underperforming a 3.2 percent rise in the STOXX 600
European autos index . Volkswagen rose more than 6
France's PSA Peugeot Citroen , beset by gloom in
European showrooms, on Wednesday warned its core car making
business would barely make money this year and announced 6,000
job losses to cut costs.
Its competitor Renault also reports on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, South Korea's Hyundai Motor
reported a 21 percent rise in third-quarter net profit but
warned of rising competition and economic uncertainty.
And auto makers felt a worsening impact from floods in
Thailand. Toyota Motor Corp said it would cut
production in North America for one day because of the
interruption of parts supplies from the country.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Helen Massy-Beresford and Hyunjoo
Jin; Writing by Helen Massy-Beresford; Editing by David Cowell
and Andrew Callus)