Developments on the world’s passenger car markets again varied in February. Demand for new vehicles rose by 4 per cent in the USA, and by 2 per cent in Russia. In the first two months of this year the Chinese market expanded by a good 28 per cent – although the February figures are not comparable with those from the previous year owing to the Chinese New Year celebrations. Western Europe continued to be weak, as expected (-10 per cent).
The US market got off to a very dynamic start in 2013. In January and February total light vehicle sales climbed by just over 8 per cent to reach 2.23 million units.
In February the German manufacturers continued their successes on the US market. They pushed up their sales of light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) by around 9 per cent to a good 94,800 units, while the light vehicle market as a whole grew almost 4 per cent to 1.19 million new vehicles. This means that the German manufacturers expanded more than twice as fast as the overall market.
In light trucks in particular, sales by German OEMs soared: in February they rose by a good 28 per cent, while the total light truck market grew by nearly 8 per cent to 588,700 units. The growth rate in German light truck sales was therefore more than three times that of the overall light truck market. In the passenger car segment, which achieved a total of nearly 599,400 units, thus equalling the result from February last year, the German brands increased their sales by more than 2 per cent to a little over 66,600 new cars. The share of the US light vehicle market now going to German manufacturers is 8.2 per cent, and for passenger cars the figure is 11.4 per cent.
The Chinese market for passenger cars continued to develop dynamically. In the first two months of 2013, 2.53 million new cars were sold. This represents year-on-year growth of a good 28 per cent, or around 560,000 additional car sales. The fall in new registrations in February (of 2 per cent) to 985,500 units is a statistical anomaly because the Chinese New Year was in February this year, whereas in 2012 it came in the month of January. This led to the sales figures in China leaping up by almost 60 per cent in January 2013. “It therefore makes sense to view the development of both months together, as otherwise a completely incorrect impression could arise of the Chinese market situation. China is still a growing market,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).
The Russian market for light vehicles also managed to expand again. New registrations in February reached a volume of 210,700 vehicles (+2 per cent). During the first two months of the current year sales also showed a year-on-year rise – sales of light vehicles increased by 3 per cent to 372,700 units.
The Indian passenger car market totalled 226,500 new vehicles sold in February, which was well below the previous year’s level (-17 per cent). So far this year, sales of new cars have fallen by 11 per cent to 468,900 units.
In February the Brazilian light vehicle market was affected by a rise in the industrial products tax (IPI) – the first of several increases planned for 2013. New registrations dropped by nearly 6 per cent to 222,700 vehicles. In January and February 2013 the market for light vehicles still managed to grow by just over 6 per cent compared with the same period last year. By the end of February a total of 519,900 new vehicles had been sold.
In Japan the demand for new vehicles fell as expected in February, as the incentives came to an end. At 412,900 new passenger car registrations, the market was more than 8 per cent below last year’s level. In the first two months of 2013 passenger car sales also decreased by around 8 per cent to 745,000 units.
On the Western European passenger car market the lack of consumer confidence continued to have a marked impact. Registrations of new passenger cars fell by 10 per cent in February to 774,400 units. While demand for new vehicles in the United Kingdom grew by 8 per cent in February, passenger car sales fell in Germany (-11 per cent), France (-12 per cent), Italy (-17 per cent) and Spain (-10 per cent). By contrast, positive trends were seen on the smaller Western European markets in Belgium (+4 per cent), Greece (+8 per cent), Portugal (+9 per cent), Iceland (+18 per cent) and Norway (+4 per cent). In the first two months of the current year the Western European passenger car market totalled 1.6 million new vehicles, i.e. nearly 10 per cent below last year’s level.
In the new EU countries demand for passenger cars slumped by over 9 per cent to 54,900 units. Positive developments were recorded in Estonia (+20 per cent), Latvia (+6 per cent) and Poland (+1 per cent). This year so far, passenger car sales in the new EU states have fallen by 6 per cent (115,700 units).
|February 2013||January - February 2013|
|Units||Change 13/12 in %||Units||Change 13/12 in %|
|W. Europe (EU15+EFTA)||774.400||-10,3||1.632.400||-9,5|
|New EU Countries (EU11)*||54.900||-9,3||115.700||-6,0|