In March global sales of passenger cars once again showed mixed results. In the USA sales of light vehicles increased (+3 per cent), while double-digit expansion of the Chinese passenger car market (+20 per cent) reinforced its importance as a driver of growth in world-wide demand for passenger cars. Western Europe again recorded decreases in sales.
In the USA the German group brands once more demonstrated stronger growth last month than their competitors did. While the overall market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) expanded by a good 3 per cent to 1.45 million units, the German manufacturers sold 114,700 vehicles – a year-on-year a rise of 8 per cent.
First-quarter sales of light vehicles in the USA were up on the previous year by a little over 6 per cent, reaching almost 3.7 million new vehicles. The German OEMs pushed up their sales of light vehicles by more than 8 per cent in the first three months, thus expanding faster than the total market; the market share going to German groups amounted to 8.1 per cent (cf. 7.9 per cent in 2012).
The Chinese market for passenger cars demonstrated very welcome development in the first quarter of 2013. March sales reached nearly 1.4 million new vehicles, exceeding last year’s result by a good 20 per cent. Since January, passenger car sales have climbed over the previous year’s level by rising more than 25 per cent – a total of 3.9 million new vehicles were sold. The German group brands benefit from the increasing demand, currently taking a 22 per cent share of the Chinese passenger car market.
In India the passenger car market ended the first quarter of 2013 with a decrease of almost 12 per cent as sales of new cars fell to 725,900 units. March sales of passenger cars also remained a long way below the same month last year. Their volume came to 257,000 vehicles, which was a drop of 13 per cent.
In the first three months of 2013 the Russian market for light vehicles equalled the high figure from 2012. Sales increased to 616,800 units (+0.3 per cent). In March, sales of light vehicles in Russia were below the strong result of the previous year, totalling 244,000 vehicles, i.e. almost 4 per cent less than in March 2012.
In Brazil the sales of light vehicles in the first quarter of 2013 rose by just over 2 per cent, with a total of 788,500 new vehicles. In March, however, sales fell by more than 5 per cent –obviously the impact (since February) of the first of the gradual hikes in industrial products tax planned for 2013. In order to boost sales, the Brazilian Government has now decided to postpone to 2014 stages two and three of the tax increases that were originally scheduled for April and July of this year.
In Japan March registrations of new passenger cars decreased by 11 per cent (570,700 new vehicles) as compared with March last year when the figures were boosted by the state bonuses. New registrations in the first quarter only just exceeded 1.3 million passenger cars, which was 9 per cent down on the same period last year.
New passenger car registrations in Western Europe dropped by 10 per cent in March to a little under 1.3 million units. In addition to the high level of uncertainty in Western European countries, the lower number of working days had an adverse impact on the volume of new registrations. The positive exception was again the UK passenger car market. In March, traditionally an important month for new registrations, sales of cars in the UK rose by 6 per cent to 394,800 units. Double-digit falls were seen in Germany (-17 per cent), France (-16 per cent) and Spain (-14 per cent). In Italy the negative trend of the preceding months eased off slightly, with a reduction of 5 per cent. In the first quarter of this year, the Western European passenger car market totalled over 2.9 million new vehicles, i.e. was nearly 10 per cent below the previous year’s level.
In the new EU Member States demand for passenger cars fell to 63,000 units in March – a drop approaching 15 per cent. Registrations of new cars increased in Estonia (+3 per cent) and Hungary (+6 per cent). This year so far, passenger car sales have slumped by 9 per cent (179,800 units).
|March 2013||January - March 2013|
|Units||Change 13/12 in %||Units||Change 13/12 in %|
|W. Europe (EU15+EFTA)||1.283.900||-10,0||2.916.400||-9,8|
|New EU Countries (EU11)*||63.000||-14,5||179.800||-8,6|