Japan’s automotive industry continued its strong recovery after the trauma of the earthquake in March 2011 and put in an 18.1% increase in vehicle production in January 2012 to 720,000 units.
However, it is the North American automotive industry which is spearheading the growth momentum in global vehicle production with a 22% year-on-year increase to 2.577 million units for the first two months of 2012. The USA remained the most buoyant of the three countries contributing to the North American production statistics with a 28% rise in vehicle production to 1.709 million units and increase in market share to 66.3%. This was followed by a 10.3% rise in production in Mexico to 453,841 units and a 11.4% rise in Canadian vehicle production to 414,084 units.
Elsewhere, China’s car sales rose 26.5% in February 2012 to 1.21 million units year-on-year, but this was not sufficient to offset the sharp drop in January. Sales for the first two months of 2012 slipped by 4.4% to 2.37 million compared with the same period in 2011 according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Global car makers are counting on a rebound in car sales in China to help drive earnings in 2012.
Russian car sales have had an encouraging start to 2012 with a 25% increase in February to 206,873 units, and a 23% year-on-year rise for the first 2 months over the same period in 2011. The Association of European Businesses (AEB) is forecasting a 12% rise in Russian car sales for 2012 to 2.8 million units, close the the pre-economic crisis total of 2.9 million. Russia should help to offset a decline in car sales in Western Europe which saw a drop of 11.4% to 851,490 units in February.
In Germany, the region’s biggest car market, sales were stagnant at 434,595 units in the first two months of 2012 according to VDA. However, vehicle production increased by 3.3% to 947,340 units in the same 2 month period. LMC Automotive is forecasting European car sales to fall by 6.1% to 12.03 million units in 2012, down from a high of 14.8 million in 2007.
Edited by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]