The three main automotive markets of Western Europe, USA and China, all reported growth in 2014, with Europe ending four years of contraction (Table 1).
New passenger car registrations in Western Europe totalled 12.1 million units for the whole year 2014, which was nearly 5% up on 2013. Registrations of new passenger cars in the new EU Member States in 2014 showed a 14% rise to 893,200 units. Germany remains the power house of the European automotive market with 5.62 million vehicles rolling off production lines in 2014, up more than 3%. UK car production rose to its highest level since 2007, up 1% to 1.53 million units. Overall light vehicle production in Europe was up 5% to 16.20 million units helped by a 25% surge in production in the final month of the year to 1.34 million.
In the USA the market volume for the entire year 2014 expanded by 6% to 16.4 million units, equalling the value before the financial crisis. Since 2009 (10.4 million light vehicles) the US market has grown continuously by a total of 58%. This is also reflected in vehicle production in North America which rose by 5.5% in 2014 to 17.4 million units of which light vehicles made up 16.9%. Light vehicle production in the USA increased by 5.1% to 11.36 million; in Mexico production was up 9.7% to 3.19 million and in Canada it was up just 0.5% to 2.38 million (Table 2).
The production and sales of passenger cars in China remained strong in 2014 up by 7.3% and 6.9% to 19.19 million and 19.7 million respectively compared with 2013. Total vehicle production in China reached 23.72 million in 2014 up by 7.3%. Production and sales of SUV and MPV vehicles in China increased significantly with SUV up 37.7% and 36.4% respectively, and MPVs even higher with 49.4% and 46.8% increases respectively.
In Japan and India new passenger cars sales remain subdued. The Japanese market volume was 3% up on 2013, mainly because anticipation of the VAT increase in April 2014 pushed sales up in the first quarter. The passenger car market in India amounted to around 2.6 million vehicles in 2014, which was nearly 1% above the previous year’s level.
The downward trend on the Russian light vehicle market appeared to bottom out in December when sales increased by 2%, but the sales volume overall at 2.5 million units was still down 10% on 2013. The Brazilian market finished 2014 with 7% contraction and a total of 3.3 million newly registered vehicles.