It has been reported that more vehicles were sold in 2016 than ever before, with growth coming from every world region except South America. According to WardsAuto, global vehicle sales grew by 5.4% in 2016 to an all-time high of 93.57 million.
European vehicle sales up 5.3%
WardsAuto stated that sales of vehicles in Europe ended 5.3% higher in 2016, reaching 20.29 million, of which 15.13 million were for passenger cars and light vehicles. Car production was up 5% in Europe in 2016 to 18.99 million, although Russia saw a further decline in its car production of 11% to 1.425 million. Residual pent-up demand and overall economic recovery is said to bode well for the European auto industry in 2017.
North America sees record annual sales
North America posted record annual sales for the second year in a row with 21.5 million vehicles sold, some 1.5% higher than 2015. Vehicle production in North America also saw a modest increase of 1.2% to 18.16 million with the USA showing an increase of 0.8% to 12.19 million, Canada an increase of 3.8% to 2.37 million, and Mexico an increase of 0.9% to 3.59 million.
Asia/Pacific up 9.5%
The biggest annual increase came unsurprisingly from China which now has a 30% market share in vehicle sales. Sales in China were reported to have increased by an estimated 14.4% to 28.15 million with similar increase in vehicle production. Overall the Pacific-Asia region grew by 9.5% in 2016 to around 47 million giving the region a 50% share of the global automotive market.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) reported a drop of 1.5% in total vehicle sales to 4.97 million, but a more modest decline of 0.5% year on year in passenger car production to 7.87 million.
The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) reported that the country produced 7.3% fewer vehicles in 2016 reaching 4.22 million. The decline was mainly attributed to production disruption suffered by the leading automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp. India is estimated to have produced 4.5 million vehicles in 2016 with a 7.1% increase in vehicle sales to 3.71 million.
South America down 12.5%
The South American region ended the year 12.5% down on 2015 with 3.82 million vehicles sold. Brazil saw vehicle sales drop by 20.1% to 2.05 million, whilst Argentina reported a healthy 10.5% increase to 700,000 units, and Chile an increase of 7.3% to 320,000.
Good prospects for 2017 and growth forecast for electric vehicles
Speaking at the German Association of Automobile Industry (VDA) New Year reception in Berlin on January 25, VDA President Matthias Wissmann forecast continued growth for the global car industry in 2017, with the passenger car market alone set to reach sales of nearly 85 million units. He further stated that by 2020 European, and in particular German manufacturers, will more than treble their range of electric cars from the current 30 to nearly 100 models.
In 2019 electric drive will be present in practically all series, in the form of plug-in hybrids or purely battery-driven vehicles. The German automotive industry will invest over €40 billion in alternative powertrains by 2020, said Wissmann.
However, in parallel to electric mobility, development of classical powertrains will continue, he said. “Reductions in fuel consumption of 10 to 15% are possible, and we are convinced that gasoline cars and diesels will still be needed. The global market for passenger cars will increase to 91 million new vehicles by 2020. This means that sales of cars with internal combustion engines will rise, even if the proportion of electric vehicles grows more strongly,” added Wissmann.