Despite a lot of geopolitical turbulence, 2016 was a good year for the global car industry. Analysis by JATO Dynamics shows that rising light-vehicle demand in China, India and Europe more than compensated declines in Russia, Brazil and Japan, pushing global light vehicle sales up 5.6% to 84.24 million units.
→ In Europe, the total number of car and LCV registrations last year was 17.1 million, up 7% over 2015.
→ Sales in China were up 14.2% to 25.53 million. Stricter rules on car purchases slowed down the market at the start of the year, but demand went back up into double digits in the second half.
→ In India, greater availability of consumer credit plus the rising tide of general prosperity pushed sales to 3.3 million units. India can now be considered a solid source of revenue for car manfuacturers, says Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO.
→ Results were mixed in the U.S., with five months showing a decline in registrations. The overall volume rose by just 0.4% to 17.55 million. Demand for large pickups continued to fuel the success of the Ford F-Series, which as a result became the world’s best-selling car.
→ Light vehicle sales were in slight decline in Japan, where they dropped 1.6% to 4.9 million - a marked improvement over 2015, when they dropped by 9.5%.
→ Last year was dramatic for light vehicle sales in Brazil, where they declined by half a million over the previous year to 1.99 million – 45% less than the record number of 3.63 million, achieved not longer ago than 2012.
→ Selected results from other markets: Russia, 1.35 million (-2.8%); Turkey, 978,000 (+1.9%); Mexico, 1.61 million (+18.7%), Argentina, 681,000 (+8%) and Australia, 1.14 million (+2%).
→ The SUV segment continued to grow, especially in Europe, South East Asia and China. SUVs now encompass 29% of global light-vehicle sales. The C-SUV subsegment is the largest, but the B-SUV subsegment is the fastest-growing (+28%).
→ The best-selling SUV of last year was the Nissan X-Trail/Rogue (pictured), overtaking the Honda CR-V. Other SUVs on the up were the Honda HR-V (a.k.a. XR-V or Vezel), the Great Wall Hover midsize SUV and the twins Hyundai Tucson – Kia Sportage.
→ Despite losing ground in the U.S. and China, Toyota remained the world’s most popular car brand. Its overall sales increased thanks to strong results in Indonesia, Mexico and other emerging markets.
→ Volkswagen saw its sales increase by 2.8%, despite Dieselgate. Declines in Europe (especially for the Golf), the U.S., Brazil and Russia were offset by growth in China.
→ Honda, Kia, Mercedes and Renault all performed well, thanks in large part to their SUV sales. Renault sales surged 146% in India, thanks to the popularity of the Kwid.
| 13/02/2017 | Frank Jacobs