Trends on the international vehicle markets continued to vary in May. Demand for new vehicles rose by 8 per cent in the USA, and by a good 14 per cent in China. Light vehicle sales in Brazil climbed by almost 10 per cent. In Western Europe, on the other hand, May saw a fall of nearly 6 per cent with Germany, France and Italy struggling most against weak demand. The United Kingdom provided a welcome surprise by expanding in double figures.
In the United States May sales of light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) increased by 8 per cent to just over 1.4 million units. The already keen demand for new vehicles was supported by recovery in the construction industry, lower energy costs and good terms for financing. The light truck segment benefited especially, its sales soaring by more than 11 per cent to reach 730,600 units. Passenger car sales rose by 5 per cent to 706,200 new vehicles.
Last month the German manufacturers once again exploited the dynamic development in light truck sales: their figures showed a disproportionate increase of over 18 per cent to 31,400 units. This year so far, German OEMs have increased their sales in this segment by a little over one fifth to 148,300 new vehicles.
In the passenger car segment, which was less active than the light truck market, German group sales up to the end of May rose by nearly 2 per cent to 367,800 units. Their market share came to 11.5 per cent.
In the first five months of this year the German manufacturers sold 516,000 new vehicles, which was a good 6 per cent rise. They took 8.1 per cent of the market. Overall, the US market for light vehicles has grown by 7 per cent this year, reaching 6.4 million units. The light truck segment expanded by a little over 11 per cent, to 3.2 million new vehicles, while demand for passenger cars rose by over 3 per cent, also totalling 3.2 million units.
The Chinese passenger car market continued its extremely dynamic development. Sales of new vehicles showed a year-on-year rise of over 14 per cent to 1.25 million units. In the first five months passenger car sales climbed by more than one fifth (nearly 22 per cent) to around 6.5 million units.
India did not show any positive trends in May. The difficult general economic situation eroded consumer confidence. The costs of financing remained high, despite interest rate reductions by the Central Bank of India. Demand for passenger cars decreased by almost 9 per cent to 201,400 units. Up to and including May, sales of new vehicles had fallen by nearly 11 per cent compared with last year, to just over 1.1 million units.
In Japan, May registrations of new passenger cars shrank by nearly 9 per cent (308,400 units). So far this year a total of over 1.9 million new vehicles have been sold – a drop of almost 8 per cent.
Light vehicle sales in Brazil amounted to 300,900, which represented a year-on-year fall of nearly 10 per cent. The market volume came to 1.4 million units for the first five months of 2013 (+9 per cent).
By contrast, the Russian light vehicle market showed a clear downward trend last month. Sales of new vehicles slumped by over 12 per cent to 229,700 units. This year so far, sales of light vehicles have fallen by more than 4 per cent, to a value of almost 1.1 million units.
In Western Europe, May registrations of new passenger cars slumped, as expected, by nearly 6 per cent as compared with the previous year (1.02 million vehicles) following the slight growth in April owing to that month’s extra working days. New registrations showed clear year-on-year falls in Germany (-10 per cent), France (-10 per cent) and Italy (-8 per cent). The Spanish market, by contrast, contracted only slightly – by just under 3 per cent. The UK market was in surprisingly good form in May (+11 per cent), with private customers in particular keen to buy cars: the number of private new registrations soared by 21 per cent. Total new passenger car registrations in Western Europe during the first five months of this year remained 7 per cent below last year’s figure (4.95 million units).
In the new EU Member States demand for passenger cars dropped by around 9 per cent in May and came to 63,900 units. Positive developments in registrations of new cars were seen in Estonia (+18 per cent), Hungary (+9 per cent) and Slovenia (+5 per cent). Since the beginning of this year passenger car sales in the new EU countries have decreased by just over 7 per cent (308,100 units).
|May 2013||January - May 2013|
|Units||Change 13/12 in %||Units||Change 13/12 in %|
|W. Europe (EU15+EFTA)||1.019.500||-5,7||4.953.100||-6,7|
|New EU Countries (EU11)*||63.900||-9,1||308.100||-7,3|