China Could Become World’s Largest Auto Market This Year
China’s auto market surpassed that of the U.S. in January and could go on to become the world’s largest new-vehicle market this year, says the Associated Press (AP).
Official data for China’s auto sales in January will not be out until next week. But they are expected to total about 790,000 vehicles for the month, Guotai Junan Securities in Beijing tells the news agency.
Unit sales in the U.S. plummeted 37 percent to 657,000 vehicles in January, the lowest level for that month in 27 years.
Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors Corp.’s executive director of global market and industry analysis, tells AP that Chinese vehicle sales are projected to hit 10.7 million vehicles in 2009. That is about the same volume many analysts now expect the U.S. to reach this year. AP notes that commercial vehicles constitute a large proportion of China’s total vehicle market.
Source: AutoBeat Daily Europe, Feb. 5, 2009
U.S. Auto Sales Plummeted 18 Percent in 2008
Automakers sold 13.2 million light vehicles in the U.S. last year, down from 16.15 million units in 2007 to a 16-year low, as almost every manufacturer posted lower annual volume, according to Autodata Corp.
Domestic brands’ share of the market slipped 3.6 points to 47.5 percent, marking the first year Detroit’s Big Three auto¬makers have ever held less than half of the market. Asian brands captured 44.6 percent of volume, as Honda, Nissan and Toyota added 2.3 points of share. European brands gained 0.6 points for a 7.8 percent share.
Chrysler’s U.S. sales plunged 30 percent to 1.5 million vehi¬cles. GM’s domestic brand volume fell 23 percent to a 49-year low of 2.9 million vehicles. Ford’s domestic brand sales dropped 20 percent to a 47-year low of 1.9 million units.
Honda (-8 percent) and Toyota (-16 percent) posted their first annual declines since 1993 and 1995, respectively. Also reporting losses were Nissan (-11 percent), Mazda (-11 percent), Hyundai (-14 percent) and Volkswagen (-4 percent). Luxury vehicle makers were not exempt. BMW, Mercedes and Porsche chalked up declines of 16 percent, 12 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
Subaru, whose sales were flat, was the only company not in the loss column. BMW’s Mini (+28 percent) and Roll Royce (+17 percent) were the only brands to post a gain for the year.
For the first time since 1990, passenger cars outsold light trucks. Car sales fell 11 percent, and trucks dropped 25 percent to give cars a 51:49 edge.
Source: AutoBeat Daily, Jan. 6, 2009
U.S. Auto Output May Drop 27 Percent This Year
America’s light vehicle production in North America could plunge to 6.22 million light vehicles this year – barely half of the nation’s output four years ago and down from an esti¬mated 8.5 million in 2008, says IHS Global Insight Inc.
The Waltham, Mass.-based forecasting firm expects production to keep falling in tandem with U.S. auto sales, which it says could plummet 22 percent this year to 10.3 million units. Automakers reported earlier this week that sales in 2008 dropped 18 percent to 13.2 million vehicles.
The firm tells Bloomberg News that production volume will be so low in the current quarter that by the end of March, many more auto suppliers will be on the brink of collapse, if not already in bankruptcy.
Source: AutoBeat Daily, Jan. 7, 2009
Auto Sales Plunge in BRIC Markets
Passenger car sales fell sharply last month in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) – the core of the emerging-nation market that established OEMs have been counting on to offset slumping demand in their home markets.
Car sales fell 19 percent in India last month vs. a year earlier, the sharpest decline in nearly six years, reports the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Year-on-year demand for cars in India has fallen in four of the past five months as interest rates rose and loans become harder to obtain. Commercial truck sales dropped nearly 50 percent in November, including declines of 60 percent and 67 percent at Tata Motors Ltd. and Ashok Leyland Ltd., respectively.
Several truck joint ventures between domestic and foreign manufactures have been delayed, says the Financial Times. One example: Nissan Motor Co. and Ashok Leyland will postpone their light commercial truck venture by six months until late 2011.
Russia reported earlier this week that sales of foreign brand autos fell 15 percent in November, the biggest decline in at least four years, amid tight credit and waning consumer confidence. Ford Motor Co. responded to slowing sales by announcing it will halt production for a month at its only Russian assembly plant, beginning Dec. 24.
Vehicle sales in the remaining BRIC nations – Brazil and China – fell 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, last month.