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Foundry Daily News

05. April 2012

Clear expansion on passenger car markets in Asia, Russia and US

New EU states show growth, Western Europe remains weak

In February the automotive markets were in good shape in many regions of the world. For example, the US, China, India, Japan and Russia recorded double-digit growth rates while the new EU Member States also expanded. By contrast, the markets in Brazil and Western Europe contracted.

The current economic recovery in the US is having a tangible effect on the light vehicle market (passenger cars and light trucks). In February demand came to around 1.15 million vehicles, i.e. grew to nearly 16 per cent above the same month last year. The German manufacturers recorded a rise of 29 per cent to 87,150 units, thus expanding almost twice as fast as the total market. In the passenger car segment the German group brands sold over 65,100 units, which was actually one third more new cars, while the passenger car market as a whole increased by nearly one quarter to 600,000 vehicles. This means that the market share going to the German group brands in the car segment climbed by 0.5 percentage points to 11.6 per cent. Since the beginning of this year the US light vehicle market has grown by almost 14 per cent (2.06 million vehicles). Against this dynamic backdrop the German vehicle makers pushed up their market share from 7.3 to 8.2 per cent.

The Chinese market once again showed very keen growth in February. Overall more than 1 million passenger cars were sold – growth of 31 per cent. The reason for this enormous rise in sales is the very poor result in February 2011 because of the Chinese New Year. This year so far 1.97 million units have been sold in China (-3 per cent).

The Indian passenger car market turned in a welcome result last month: with 269,800 passenger cars sold, year-on-year growth came to 16 per cent. Since January the Indian market has expanded by 12 per cent to nearly 522,000 new registrations. These strong figures are partly due to sales brought forward in response to the Government’s announcement of possible tax increases on diesel vehicles.

The dynamic growth on the Japanese passenger car market continued in February owing to the large number of purchases that had previously been put off and to state promotion measures. The car market exhibited double-digit year-on-year growth for the fifth month in succession. A total of 449,300 units were newly registered – an increase of almost 32 per cent. The German carmakers also pushed up their sales by nearly one third. In the first two months of this year the Japanese passenger car market as a whole recorded sales of 808,000 units and was close to 35 per cent above last year’s figure.

The Russian light vehicle market also continued its successful development – in February sales rose by one quarter to 206,900 units. In the first two months of 2012 Russian customers purchased 361,300 vehicles – an increase of 23 per cent. So far this year sales of light vehicles from German group brands have grown by 60 per cent, which is almost three times as much as the total market. The market share taken by the German manufacturers rose from 15.5 to over 20 per cent for the first time.

The Brazilian market shrank by 9 per cent in the month of February (235,800 light vehicles). Alongside the especially strong showing during the same period last year and falling consumer confidence, the main reason for the decline was the Carnival. In 2011 the festivities took place in March. However, thanks to the strong January result, the sales figures for this year so far have remained stable. In Brazil the German brands have a market share of about one fifth.

In February the Western European passenger car market slumped by nearly 10 per cent to 862,900 vehicles. Germany maintained last year’s high level, thus supporting the market as a whole. In France the bonus effects in 2011 led to a drop in current demand, as expected, by one fifth. The declines in Italy (19 per cent), the United Kingdom (3 per cent) and Spain (2 per cent) reflected continuing consumer uncertainty on the other large sales markets. The passenger car markets in Denmark (+19 per cent), Finland (+14 per cent), Switzerland (+4 per cent), Norway (+4 per cent) and Luxembourg (+3 per cent) all showed positive development compared with 2011. So far this year, the Western European market has reached a sales volume of 1.8 million vehicles. This means that demand has remained 9 per cent below the value from last year.

The February sales figures of the new EU countries rose 7 per cent to a total of 60,500 units. Since January the number of new registrations has therefore climbed to almost 13 per cent above the previous year’s level, after three years of weak results. Sales of passenger cars showed welcome growth not only on the large markets in Poland (+9 per cent) and the Czech Republic (+5 per cent). Hungary also recorded a rise of 20 per cent. Romania’s sales figures increased by a huge 27 per cent – resulting in the largest increase anywhere this year so far (54 per cent). The passenger car market in Slovenia, on the other hand, amounted to 4,100 units, i.e. 22 per cent below the figure for February last year.

Sourced from vda.de

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