The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Global Auto Markets Continue to Grow

October 21, 2014

Growth in the three large automotive markets – Western Europe, the U.S., and China – continued in September. New registrations in Western Europe climbed by almost 6 percent, according to a report by the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), a special interest group representing the German automobile industry. The U.S. market grew by more than 9 percent, while passenger car sales in China rose by 8 percent. And, in India, the demand for cars increased by over 3 percent. However, demand was down again in Brazil (-4 percent) and Russia (-20 percent).

Over the first three quarters of 2014, passenger car sales in Western Europe totaled more than 9.2 million new vehicles – a year-over-year increase of 5 percent. In September, 1.2 million units were sold on the Western European car market (+6 percent), according to the VDA.

In Germany, new registrations were up by over 5 percent. Demand for passenger cars in France and the United Kingdom increased by 6 percent, while the Italian market increased by 3 percent in September. In Spain, new registrations of passenger cars rose by more than 26 percent, making September the eighth month in a row with double-digit growth. The smaller Western European passenger car markets continued their recovery. The increase in demand reached double figures in Greece (+33 percent), Portugal (+31 percent), and Ireland (+24 percent), according to the VDA report.

The VDA also noted that the U.S. market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) recorded an increase of 9 percent in September (1.2 million new vehicles). Since the beginning of 2014, a total of almost 12.4 million passenger cars and light trucks have been sold in the U.S. This represents growth of over 5 percent as compared with the previous year. However, it is mostly the light truck segment that is so dynamic. September sales of light trucks rose by nearly 17 percent, reaching 676,400 new vehicles. Since January, demand for light trucks has grown by around 10 percent to close to 6.5 million units.

In Japan, the April hike in value-added tax continued to impact negatively on the passenger car market, according to the VDA. New registrations in September amounted to 431,800 units, which was a drop of a little over 3 percent. The year-to-date figure for the market is, however, still up by almost 6 percent (at 3.7 million units) due to pre-buy effects in the first quarter.

In India, sales of passenger cars rose by more than 3 percent last month, with a volume in the region of 223,600 units. After the first three quarters, the Indian car market is now exactly where it was this time last year – from January to September 2014 1.9 million new vehicles were sold, according to the VDA.

The Russian market for light vehicles recorded significant shrinkage in September: at 197,200 units, sales of new cars remained one fifth down on the previous year’s result, according to the VDA report. This year, light vehicle sales have slumped by 13 percent in Russia – in the first nine months around 1.8 million vehicles were sold. The contraction of the Brazilian light vehicle market last month was nearly 4 percent, much smaller than in the preceding months. In September 282,900 new cars were registered. Since January of this year, the total volume of new registrations has also failed to match last year’s level, falling by almost 9 percent to 2.4 million vehicles.

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