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Global Sales to Reach 77.7 Million Units in 2012, Polk Predicts

January 03, 2012

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.Polk announced it expects worldwide new-vehicle sales in 2012 to rise 6.7 percent over 2011 volumes to 77.7 million vehicles. The automotive market intelligence firm’s analysts believe the global economy will weather the current European sovereign debt crisis and consumers will return to showrooms this year.

The U.S. market will experience single-digit growth, primarily due to strong sales in 2011 and the effects of the weak economy that will continue to impact new-vehicle demand through most of 2012, according to Polk. Light-vehicle sales are expected to grow at a moderate pace —  with a 7.3 percent increase in the region this year — to 13.7 million vehicles. Polk analysts do not expect the U.S. market to achieve pre-recession levels of greater than 16 million vehicles per year until 2015. They do, however, expect the luxury to be the fastest growing segment next year, predicting that it will grow by 14 percent.

“More affluent buyers are returning to the market for new vehicles after three years of spending reductions,” said Anthony Pratt, director of forecasting for the Americas at Polk. “The luxury segment also offers a wide variety of product options for consumers across all segments, ranging from small cars to SUVs.”

Leasing penetration will continue to be higher in the luxury segment in the U.S. and will continue to lift transactions in all segments. In 2011 leasing penetration reached pre-crisis levels (through October) of 41.5 percent for the luxury segment and 17.1 percent for the overall U.S. industry. This trend will likely continue through 2012, said analysts, as automakers will attempt to win back consumers with promotions touting attractive monthly payments.

China is expected to make the largest contribution to global sales growth for new vehicles with an anticipated 16 percent increase over 2011, according to Polk. The company’s analysts anticipate much of this growth to occur outside of Shanghai and Beijing.

European sales are expected to be flat or down slightly to just over 19 million units. “Austerity plans will prevent governments in Europe from boosting 2012 sales through scrappage programs and other incentives offered in previous years,” wrote Polk analysts.

Growth in Brazil, Russia, India and China will outpace many mature markets over the next few years. Polk expects Brazil to surpass Germany as 2011 sales results are finalized, and new-vehicle sales in India are expected to surpass those sold in Germany in 2014. Sales growth in Russia will likely be flat in 2012, but Polk anticipates sales in Russia to outpace Germany by the year 2015.

Polk predicts Toyota and Honda will realize the greatest amount of market share growth in 2012, as both begin to win back some lost share from their 2011 inventory shortages following natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. “They will likely struggle to regain all of their lost share, however, as they will experience strong competition from other automakers offering vehicles equipped with more fuel-efficient options and increased infotainment features,” analysts wrote.

Volkswagen will continue to win U.S. market share in 2012, approaching the 3 percent range, as the Beetle launch will build on the successful Passat and Jetta models, according to Polk.

Although Hyundai and Kia sales volumes continue to increase year over year, Polk expects their market share growth to be flat in 2012, as the companies face increased competition in all segments. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler will continue to grow in 2012 as the industry continues to recover. Refreshed products and new product introductions will help them to compete in various segments.

Polk’s complete light vehicle sales forecast (including passenger cars, light trucks and light commercial vehicles) through 2016 is as follows:

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Global

77.7

83.4

88.1

92.2

96.3

Europe

19.0

20.3

21.5

22.7

23.7

United States

13.7

14.9

15.6

16.0

16.3

Brazil

3.6

3.8

3.9

4.1

4.3

China

17.9

19.4

20.6

22.0

23.6

Japan

4.5

4.8

4.9

4.8

4.8

           
             
             
             
             
             
             

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