World vehicle production expanded by a healthy 25.9% in 2010 to reach a total of 77.881 million units, according to early estimates issued by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). Passenger cars account for around 82% of global vehicle output with commercial light vehicles and heavy trucks accounting for the remainder.
The global PM industry relies heavily (up to 90% in some countries) on supplying PM components to the automotive sector, so the rise in vehicle production in 2010 should also provide a good foundation for production growth in the PM industry.
China continues to set the pace with the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) reporting a 32.4% surge in total vehicle production to 18.264 million units in 2010. Production of passenger cars accounted for 13.897 million units in 2010 – up 33.8% on the previous 12 month period. China is now the world’s largest vehicle producer and has also climbed above Japan to become number two in the world in terms of GDP, behind the USA.
Japan, the world’s second biggest vehicle producing country, also put in an impressive 21% in growth in 2010 thanks to buoyant export markets. Total vehicle output increased to 9.626 million units, of which passenger cars accounted for 8.307 million. The export portion of Japanese vehicles increased by 33.8% to 4.838 million, or around 50% of total production.
South Korea also reported healthy increases in vehicle production in 2010. Total vehicle output increased by 21.6% to 4.272 million with passenger cars accounting for 3.816 million. Like Japan, South Korea relies heavily on export markets with some 65% of all vehicles produced destined for export markets.
North America (NAFTA)
Light trucks continued to outpace passenger cars in terms of vehicle production in 2010. Combined vehicle production in the USA, Canada and Mexico totalled 12.148 million in 2010 – an increase of 38.7% compared with the previous year.
USA light vehicles production (including cars) soared by 36.1% to 7.592 million whilst Canada showed a higher growth rate of 39.4% to reach 2.062 million, and Mexico reported a 49.9% increase to reach 2.251 million units.
South America as whole saw an 18% increase in vehicle production to 4.361 million units with Brazil taking the lion’s share at 3.644 million.
According to estimates issued by the German VDA, total vehicle production in Europe increased by 16.7% to 19.855 million units. Passenger cars accounted for around 88% of this total. In the EU-25 Germany remains the region’s biggest car producer and recorded gains in production of nearly 12% to reach 5.552 million in 2010.
France, Spain and the UK also recorded gains, whereas Italy recorded a slight decline on total vehicle output of 0.6% to reach 838,169 units.
The most impressive growth in Europe has come in Russia, which according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has seen car production jump by 92.6% in 2010 to 1.15 million units. Light commercial vehicles increased by 58% to 105,000 units in 2010. According to the Boston Consulting Group demand for cars and light commercial vehicles in Russia is forecast to grow at an annual rate of between 8-14% reaching 3 million units by 2013, with the bulk of demand met by increased domestic production. Russia is also forecast to overtake Germany as the largest single market in Europe for passenger cars and light vehicles by 2018.
The momentum created by increased car production appears to have continued in most regions into the early part of 2011. The BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India and China) continue to be especially dynamic automotive markets, Russia saw a hefty 72% increase in demand for cars in January 2011, and North American vehicle production increased by 15.4% in January to reach 1.23 million units. Only Japan, where domestic sales are off by 19% and Europe, where sales are flat at 1.072 million, show negative trends.
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