GENEVA -- German carmakers offered a rare ray of optimism at the International Geneva Motor Show Tuesday, with their heavy footprints outside of Europe allowing them to almost shrug off the continued crisis there.

With many car companies complaining on the first day of the show about the impact of Europe's economic woes, several of the German firms sounded all but upbeat as they described how their global presence was helping guide them through the difficult terrain.

The head of German carmaker BMW (IW 1000/36), Norbert Reithofer, for instance voiced "cautious optimism" for his company's performance this year.

Reithofer, whose company in addition to the BMW brand also sells Minis and Rolls-Royces, expects to see the global car market swell 4% to around 75 million vehicles this year.

2% Growth in U.S. Car Market Predicted

"The growth in the car market will be pulled by the United States, China and the emerging markets," he said, pointing out that he expects to see the overall car market grow 2% in the U.S. to nearly 15 million units and by 8.5% to more than 14 million units in China.

Daimler (IW 1000/18), which along with European leader Volkswagen raked in record net profits in 2012, also sounded almost optimistic at the show.

"We are still growing in a declining market," Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche told reporters.

And Volkswagen (IW 1000/10) saw its net profit soar 40% last year to 21.7 billion euros, pulling far ahead of Europe's second-in-line PSA Peugeot Citroen.