Light vehicle and car sales continued their upward momentum in October in most global markets, although sales in Western Europe and Japan took a nose dive with declines of 15.9% and 23.2% respectively in the month. According to data from J.D. Power & Associates, Western Europe will be lucky to come out of the full year with car sales above 2009 levels. Year-to-date (YTD, Jan-Oct) statistics to end of October shows a 3.7% decrease in car sales in Western Europe at 12.178 million units. Eastern Europe is fairing better led by increased sales in Russia due to scrappage support.
Year-to-date sales figures in the USA shows that light vehicle sales were up 10.6% compared to the same period in 2009, whilst Canadian sales were up 6.4% and Mexican sales were up 7.6%. Light vehicle and car production in North America surged by 53% in the first 9 months of 2010 to reach 8.905 million compared with 5.789 million in the same period of 2009. South America’s two major markets, Brazil and Argentina, have continued with their strong expansion in automotive sales with a combined increase of 11.5% bringing the YTD total to 3.292 million.
The plunge in Japan’s car sales in October (down 23.2%) was more than compensated for in other Asian markets – particularly the continuing surge in demand for automobiles in China. Automobile production for the first half of the Japanese calendar year (April – September 2010) was recorded as 4,783,641 units – which is an increase of 24.1% compared with the previous year. This was the first production increase after two years of downturn.
China sold 14.67 million automobiles in the first 10 months of 2010, up 35% from the same period last year, according to the latest data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). CAAM also reported that automobile production reached 13,082,700 units in the first 9 months of 2010, an increase of 36.10%. Production of passenger cars was 9,880,300 units, up 38.07%; the output of commercial vehicles was 3,202,400 units, an increase of 30.35%. Korea also maintained strong momentum with a 10% YTD increase in automobile sales.