Solid global growth in auto sales and production expected to continue in 2016

February 16, 2016

2015 was a good year for the global automotive industry. In Western Europe (EU28+EFTA) 2015 showed an increase in new car registrations of 9.2% to 14.2 million units with the smaller Western European car markets such as Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark showing particularly good gains. The Russian light vehicle market, however, is still contracting with sales falling by 36% to 1.6 million units, a level last seen during the crisis of 2009.

The US market for new light vehicles sales grew by 6% in 2015 to 17.4 million units whilst light vehicle production in the USA saw a 3.6% increase to 11.77 million units. Overall light vehicle production in North America increased by 3% in 2015 to 17.95 million units with Mexico up 6.1% to 3.39 million units but Canada’s production contracted by 4.8% to 2.27 million.

The Chinese passenger car market continues to break records with sales climbing by 7.3% in 2015 to 21.146 million units and production rising by 5.8% to 21.079 million. Sales were particularly strong in the smaller engine cars (up to 1.6 litres) for which tax breaks were introduced in October.

In Japan new car sales slumped by 10% in 2015 to 4.2 million units with the increase in VAT said to be the main reason for the decline. Passenger car production in Japan was down by 5.5% in 2015 to 7.830 million compared with a year earlier. Car production in South Korea increased by 1.2% to 4.58 million, which is just short of the peak of 4.66 million achieved in 2011. Korean car sales increased by 9.1% to 1.81 million.

Other significant car markets in the ASEAN region include Thailand and Indonesia. Thailand reported a 1.76% increase in vehicle production in 2015 to 1.913 million but a 9.4% drop in sales to 799,632 units. Vehicle production in Indonesia dropped by 15.4% in 2015 to 1.098 million.

India has one of the largest vehicle manufacturing industries in the world with annual production of 23.37 million units reported for financial year 2014/2015, an increase of 8.7% over the previous year. Of this total, car production accounted for 3.220 million units, a growth of around 6%. In

Brazil new vehicle registrations dropped by 26% in 2015 to less than 2.5 million as the country continues to battle with a deep recession. Vehicle output in South America was down an estimated 20% for the region as a whole and with Brazil down by 22%. Further declines are expected in South America in 2016.

Forecasts from IHS Automotive, a leading source of market data on the global automotive industry, predict that China, Europe and North America will again do well in 2016. Europe is forecast to grow by around 1.7% with production surpassing 21 million units. China is likely to achieve over 5% growth in output in 2016, whilst Japan is expected to achieve a more modest growth of 2.3%. India’s automotive sector is forecast to grow by around 9% in 2016. 


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