Global cars sales outlook – March 2012

March 2012

IMGP1016 © by marko8904

2012 started full of uncertain for OEMs in the automotive industry” this was how I started my article last month. At that time reports on January Chinese market performance were not yet available and when they arrived, with an incredible 26% lost year on year, Car OEMs Top Executives become really nervous.

Chinese data were affected by the Chinese New Year falls, with fewer working days, but nobody was expecting such bad month.
It seems that February will report a partial recovery, but not enough to support forecast at double digit level for this year, as predicted by Top Analysts, such as JD Power and Insights.

Today, my original forecast of a slow growth from 18.5 million in 2011 to 18.7 in 2012 looks more realistic.
Indeed in February a survey of analysts and experts conducted by have reported more conservative opinions regarding market’s performance this year. A declining market is now foreseen by more than 40%.
Considering China counts 25% of global sales, this new Chinese trend will impact global volumes offsetting the good news coming from Nafta region, Japan and Russia.

January 2012 was reporting a global market declining, for the first month in 3 years. In the table below the January global sales in January, in the last 3 years, by regions:


Simongini Mar 2012

Global Sales


The year started particularly well in Japan, thanks to a robust Government incentive plan, in Russia and in the North America.
As far as Russia, we continue to project a declining year (all others project a 10/15% growth). The US market is increasing the growth speed (in February reported a +16% over previous year) and also the Canadian market, very stable last year, now reported a +15.4% and +11% respectively in January and February.
Mexico is continuing its around +10% increase, month over month.

Other good news arrive from Argentina (+8%), Australia (+4%), Ukraine (+36.7%)
Europe as whole is negative, driven down by market drop in France (-20.5 cumulative at February) and Italy (-17% cumulative at February).
It is surprisingly bad also Turkey, one of fast growing market last year. In January it has lost 30.3%! South Korea in January was down by 2.3%.
Projections for total 2012 have now been adjusted by with a different country mix. However full year will be 76.9 million, 1.9 million up on 2011 and new all-time record.


Global Simongini March 2012

Global Light Passengers Vehicle registrations

A good question is: who will take more advantage from 2012 country mix and trends?
Basically all global players will increase, but French makes and European brands, like Opel will suffer.

Toyota is the brand with the highest increase, considering its over 30% share in Japan and the good position in North America.
Also Nissan will be benefit more than others, being able to defend its position also in Europe.

Volkswagen will be in line with the market, losing volume in Europe (but gaining share) and in China (where is market leader with over 13% share).

The performance will really depend by Brazilian market, so far flat. If market will start to grow again, VW will take global advantage.

Ford and GM will benefit from US and Canada growth.

Hyundai and Kia will probably reduce their speed in the conquest of the world, finding more resistance from competitors.

Fiat/Chrysler will lose in Europe, but in North America will continue to grow.

PSA will suffer in Europe and in South America while Renault will defend the position in Europe and gain in South America.

Mercedes, BMW and Audi will continue the race for luxury segment leadership. This year we see BMW to gain more than the competitors.

Bad news for Chinese brands. They will have to face domestic over-production. They will continue to increase share in South America and in Russia, but this will not avoid troubles.

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