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Emerging markets take sales lead

2011-02-21 13:24

Emerging markets take sales lead

Potential Chinese buyers at an auto market during Spring Festival. [Photo / China Daily]

Mature economies now purchase less than half of all light vehicles globally

BEIJING - Global light vehicle sales are projected to set another record this year with emerging markets again powering much of the growth, according to forecasts from JD Power and Associates.

"China continues to be the market to watch in Asia and the driver for global market growth," said John Zeng, director of Asian automotive forecasting at JD Power Asia-Pacific in Shanghai.

Worldwide sales of light vehicles - which include cars, light trucks and vans - are expected to reach 76.5 million units this year, surpassing the record 72 million units sold in 2010.

Emerging auto markets for the first time accounted for more than half of global light vehicle sales in 2010 - some 51 percent - clearly signaling a shift in the global market that has been underway for the past five years.

JD Power said the momentum is expected to continue throughout 2011.

China ended 2010 on a high note. The country's light vehicle sales were up more than 30 percent from 2009 to 17.2 units.

"China's automotive market remained robust in 2010, defying all expectations that it would slow along with the economy. We expect sales to slow somewhat in 2011, but still maintain double-digit growth," Zeng said.

Expanding share

Overall, emerging markets are expected to account for 53 percent of total light vehicle sales in 2011, a further sign that markets including China, India and Brazil will drive growth in the coming years.

In China sales are expected to exceed 19 million units, an increase of 11 percent over 2010.

In spite of expected cooling in growth, China will remain the top global auto market by a significant margin - outselling the US by approximately 6 million units -and long-term prospects remain strong.

According to JD Power, global GDP growth is projected to be at or above 4 percent in 2011, down slightly from 4.6 percent in 2010, but still strong enough to support further recovery in auto sales in many markets and continued growth in the emerging markets.

"From a global standpoint, 2010 was a combination of recovery and strong growth in emerging markets," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at JD Power and Associates.

"Growth in 2011 is not expected to be as pronounced as it was in 2010. Yet the year appears to be a stable environment with more manageable growth rates balanced across the world. The recovery in auto markets will continue in many countries," he noted.

But mature markets, including the US, Western Europe and Japan, are forecast to have mixed results, JD Power said.

The US economy is expected to be stronger, which should lead to higher sales. Western Europe is expected to be flat, while Japan's auto market is expected to shrink, according to projections from the industry analyst group.

Emerging markets take sales lead

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