SMMT: Worldwide new car registrations up in first half of the year

Based on POLK data that is preliminary in some cases, global demand for passenger vehicles in June was down slightly from the year before, but this setback was not enough to diminish the positive overall performance posted in the first half of the year. Global sales of passenger vehicles in the first six months of …

Based on POLK data that is preliminary in some cases, global demand for passenger vehicles in June was down slightly from the year before, but this setback was not enough to diminish the positive overall performance posted in the first half of the year. Global sales of passenger vehicles in the first six months of the year were up about 1.24 million units (3.4%) from the year before.

In the Asia/Pacific region declined about 3% from the year before in June, according to preliminary estimates. The main driver of this expected slump was the downtrend in Japan (down 12%), which is due to the inflated year-before comparison figure. On the year, however, this region, the largest market in the world, is still up by over 5% from the year before.

Eastern Europe (down 5%) is continuing to suffer from the impact of the financial crisis and this effect has now spread permanently to Russia as well, where new registrations once again declined by a surprisingly steep amount (down 11%) in June. Six months into the year, this region is down about 2% compared to a year ago.

The NAFTA region (up 4%) is continuing to trend upward as the US in particular reported strong growth once again.

Western Europe (down 6.2%) once again posted steep losses. Only the United Kingdom reported growth in new registrations (up 13%) over the year before. For the year, this crisis-ridden region is now down almost 7% compared to last year.

Global new registrations to hit 74.6 million units in 2013

Forecasts revised sharply higher

Global new registrations will once again set a new record in 2013, growing by more than 4% over 2012. Overall expectations were revised sharply higher relative to last month’s forecast (by 1.2%, or 860,000 units).

 New registrations in the Asia/Pacific region will increase by about 7% in 2013 compared to the prior year. The forecast for this region was raised by 770,000 units (2.4%) due to strong growth in China

New registrations in the NAFTA region are expected to continue to rebound to about 18.3 million units. The forecast for this region has been revised higher by 200,000 units. The situation in Latin America, on the other hand is now viewed somewhat more pessimistically, and the forecast for that region has been revised lower by 70,000 units (down 1.2%).

Eastern Europe will post hardly any growth at all in 2013, due to the fact that the situation in Russia has now worsened, despite an expected loosening in credit conditions. The worsening economic outlook in conjunction with low oil prices has caused new registrations to slump lately, leading us to reduce our forecast for this region by 40,000 units.

Western European passenger vehicle demand will decline for the fourth year in a row in 2013, falling to approximately where it was in 1993. This is the lowest number of new registrations since 1985. Only in the United Kingdom are new registrations expected to finish significantly higher than last year.

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