Automotive Roundup February 2013
11 February 2013
Automotive sales make tentative start across much of the world
in 2013 but there are bright spots in the US, Asia, UK, Brazil and
Volkswagen and U.S. automakers lead French sales decline
Car sales in France dropped 15% to reach their lowest January
level in 16 years, according to data from CCFA, the country's car
Registrations fell to 124,952 last month, a drop on 147,046 a
year earlier. The decline was driven by consumer prudence as people
held back on big-ticket buys, plus declines in sales at Volkswagen,
Europe's biggest carmaker, and a number of US auto firms including
General Motors and Ford.
Automotive sales across Europe are in something of a slump so
the France data reflect only current trends. The figures "confirmed
rumours that the French passenger car market started 2013 on as
weak a note as it exited 2012," London-based Credit Suisse analyst
David Arnold told Reuters.
Spain new car sales fell 9.6 pct in January (01/02/2013)
Recession-troubled Spain experienced a decline in the performance
of its automotive market last month as car sales dropped 9.6%
However, this was an improvement on December's 13.4%, driven,
Spain's car manufacturers' association Anfac said, by PIVE, a
government car incentive plan which had helped generate some
confidence in the sector.
A spot of good news for Spain, though, where unemployment
currently stands at 26%: Japanese carmaker Nissan recently
announced it would invest 130 million euros at its factory in
Barcelona to make a new model.
Italy car sales drop 17.6 pct in January (01/02/2013)
Similar woes hit Italy last month where new car sales fell 17.58%
as the eurozone crisis continues and the country's austerity
Sales in January dropped to 113,525 vehicles, Italy's Transport
Ministry said. It follows a December 2012 drop in car sales of
Car sales start new year in low gear (02/02/2013)
Crossing into Asia, car sales in India remained subdued, although
some carmakers enjoyed growth.
Tata Motors saw a 50% drop in volumes, and Toyota, Ford and GM
also experienced falls. But Maruti, Hyundai and Mahindra, India's
leading carmakers, saw growth.
Analysts said price hikes last month, current high interest
rates and high fuel prices influenced demand.
"The market is subdued on account of macro-economic factors,"
Rakesh Srivastava of Hyundai India told the Times of India.
S. Korean car sales jump 22.2 pct in Jan (02/02/2013)
More good news: car sales in South Korea spiked 22.2% in
January. Driven by good sales overseas, 756,255 units were sold by
S Korea's five carmakers last month, compared with 618,853 vehicles
sold a year ago, according to figures from the firms.
The companies' exports drove the increase, with 651,878 units
shipped overseas, a 24.9% rise.
But Hyundia tempered the good news, saying: "We will face a more
difficult business environment this year due to weakening car
demand even in emerging markets and currency fluctuations."
Canada January auto sales dip but Detroit makers strong
Regressed demand for European vehicles drove a relatively modest
2.2 % dip in automotive car sales in Canada last month; although US
carmakers performed well.
Some 95,306 vehicles in January, down from 97,497 in January 2012.
Demand for vehicles made by Toyota and Audi fell in January, but
consumers had appetite for vehicles made by Ford, General Motors,
and Chrysler - or the 'Detroit Three'.
"The Detroit Three enjoyed a great month, growing their combined
market share from 45.6% to 49.2%," independent industry analyst
Dennis DesRosiers told Reuters.
U.S. January auto sales indicate strong start to 2013
In the US, car sales rose 14% in January as the country enjoyed its
fourth straight year of recovery. Figures from Autodata show last
month was the third in succession for annual auto sales remained
above the 15 million mark.
The US car industry is forecast to outperform the broader US
economy in 2013, as Americans look to replace their old cars and
trucks and lower interest rates drive uptake.
Speaking to Reuters, Toyota Motor Corp's Bill Fay said: "We all
started the year with a little bit of apprehension with the fiscal
cliff debates and the new tax rates.
"Our industry again emerged as one of the strong points for the
Positive start for 2013 new car market with January registrations
up 11.5% (06/02/2012)
Over the pond, the UK car market began buoyantly as new car
registrations rose 11.5% to reach 143,643 units in January 2013,
figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
There were rises across all fuel types, with a 15.9% rise in
private registrations and a 7.9% rise in alternative fuel vehicles,
highlighting the emergence of hybrid, electric and eco cars.
On the back of the figures, the SMMT revised its forecasts for
Building on a strong performance in 2012, SMMT has increased its
market forecast - we anticipate a modest rise over the year,
followed by further growth in 2014," said Mike Baunton, Interim
Chief Executive at the society.
German car sales extend decline in "weak" market
But the UK is currently bucking the trend. Germany's car market
mimicked the rest of Europe as new registrations fell 8.5% in
January to around 192,000 vehicles.
German auto industry association VDIK said demand in Europe's
strongest economy could improve this year as the country's economy
rides out a contraction last year.
The Center of Automotive Research (CAR) at the University of
Duisburg-Essen said discounting by manufacturers and dealers could
lead to a rebound in sales.
"The German auto market will become a buyers' paradise in the
coming months," said CAR's Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer.
Brazil January Auto Sales, Output Hit Records; Truck Output Surges
Auto sales in Brazil improved in January as relaxed higher taxes
helped to power sales. Figures from Anfavea, the country's auto
maker body, show Brazil sales of cars, trucks and buses reached
311,453 units last month.
Analysts said the return of a tax on auto sales helped improve
China Passenger-Vehicle Sales Surge as SUV Sales Double
Demand for SUVs saw passenger vehicle sales surge in China last
month 49% to a monthly record, according to the China Association
of Automobile Manufacturers.
Consumer demand for SUVs near-doubled and wholesale deliveries,
including multipurpose and sport utility vehicles, reached 1.73
"This is a good start but it's difficult to judge the market
performance just based on one month," John Zeng, director of Asian
forecasting at LMC Automotive in Shanghai, told Bloomberg.
Russian car sales up 5 pct in January - AEB (08/02/2013)
Finally, Russia, where car sales grew 5% year-on-year last month,
improving on a 1% rise in December.
The Association of European Businesses (AEB) said shorter
delivery times and attractive price offers drove the uptick.
The AEB projects that 2.95 million cars will be sold in Russia
this year. "We see that customer activity is picking up across the
industry, as a response to attractive price offers and shorter
delivery time for a wide variety of models," Joerg Schreiber,
Chairman of the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee was quoted
as saying in a statement.