Press Releases

International automobile markets: BRIC states and USA continue growing – Western Europe remains problematic

Berlin, 16 January 2013

The international automobile markets remained stable over the year 2012 as a whole. The USA, Brazil, Russia, India and China enjoyed solid growth, while the Japanese passenger car market recorded around 4.6 million new cars – the highest number of new registrations since 2006. By contrast, sales in Western Europe were down by 8 per cent.

The US market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) showed a year-on-year rise of 9 per cent in December to 1.35 million units. The German manufacturers expanded three times as much, pushing up their US sales by more than 27 per cent, to nearly 137,100 new vehicles. With an increase of over 21 per cent to around 1.27 million units in 2012, the German group brands grew faster than the overall light vehicle market, which expanded by a good 13 per cent to over 14.4 million vehicles.

In China the passenger car market also continued its growth. In December the volume of new registrations reached approximately 1.2 million vehicles, almost 7 per cent more than in the same month last year. Over the whole of 2012, passenger car sales exceeded the previous year’s level by a good 8 per cent, with a total of 13.2 million new vehicles sold. The positive market trend in China benefited the German group brands. They increased their market share to around 22 per cent.

On the Indian automobile market December sales were slightly below the 2011 level (-1 per cent). In all, 206,900 passenger cars were sold. Yet from January to December 2012 the sales volume climbed by just over 10 per cent to reach 2.8 million units.

Last month new registrations of passenger cars in Japan came to 284,000 units – a slight year-on-year fall (-2 per cent). However, last year the promotional programme in operation up to September, coupled with the need to catch up resulting from the accident in Fukushima, generated the best level of new registrations since 2006. Demand for passenger cars rose by around 30 per cent to nearly 4.6 million new cars.

In Russia the market remained stable. A total of 253,200 light vehicles were newly registered in December, which was a slight gain on the December 2011 result (+1 per cent). Sales of light vehicles throughout 2012 increased by around 11 per cent to 2.9 million units, thus equalling the pre-crisis level of 2008. Last year the German manufacturers expanded their market share by 2.9 percentage points to about 21 per cent.

The light vehicle market in Brazil was buoyant in December. New registrations rose by more than 4 per cent to 343,900 units. From January to December, sales rose by 6 per cent to 3.6 million vehicles. One in five vehicles sold in Brazil bore a German badge.

On the Western European passenger car market, on the other hand, there was still no recovery to be seen in the last month of 2012. New registrations fell in December by around 16 per cent to 781,800 vehicles. The markets shrank again in France (-15 per cent), Italy (-23 per cent) and Spain (-23 per cent), but demand for new cars in the United Kingdom once again demonstrated a welcome increase: December new registrations rose by almost 4 per cent. The total UK result for 2012 came to just over 2 million units, which was a rise of more than 5 per cent compared with the previous year. And despite the slight fall in the German figures for 2012 (-3 per cent), Germany continued to support the overall Western European market, which contracted by 8 per cent in 2012 to a little under 11.8 million units.

The passenger car markets in the new EU Member States also showed severe losses in December (-18 per cent). The exceptions were Hungary and Bulgaria, where new car registrations soared to 55 and 64 per cent respectively above the previous year’s figure. Over the year 2012 as a whole, new passenger car registrations in the new EU countries fell somewhat short of the previous year’s result (-3 per cent).

New Passenger Car Registrations/Sales

  December 2012 January - December 2012
  Units Change 12/11 in % Units Change 12/11 in %
Europe (EU27+EFTA)* 838.400 -16,0 12.527.900 -7,8
W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 781.800 -15,8 11.772.400 -8,1
New EU Countries (EU11)* 56.600 -17,8 755.500 -2,8
Russia** 253.200 0,6 2.935.100 10,6
USA** 1.350.600 9,0 14.439.700 13,4
Japan 284.000 -2,0 4.572.300 29,7
Brazil** 343.900 4,5 3.634.100 6,1
India 206.900 -1,1 2.773.500 10,3
China 1.246.100 6,8 13.238.600 8,4
*without Malta
**Light Vehicles
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