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by Tim Beissmann

The global car industry has grown to new heights in 2011, with approximately 75 million new vehicles purchased around the world over the past 12 months.

Industry analysts IHS Automotive and LMC Automotive (formally J.D. Power Automotive Forecasting) both agree in their estimates that predict four per cent global growth over 2010.

The expansion comes despite the deepening debt crisis in Europe and the crippling effects of natural disasters in Japan and Thailand.

Both analysts expect the growth to continue in 2012, forecasting annual sales of between 78 million and 79 million vehicles, although both have tempered their predictions because of concerns over Europe’s economic stability. The Western European market is tipped to decline by five per cent in 2012, and a number of car makers admit they are bracing for a challenging year ahead.

Approximately 12.8 million vehicles will be sold in the US in 2011, and forecasters expect the market to grow to 13.6 million in 2012. The US market has grown at almost twice the rate of China this year, up nine per cent versus China’s five per cent.

Despite enduring some of its lowest monthly growth levels in years, China remains the world’s largest region for new vehicles, with just shy of 19 million vehicles to be sold in 2011, making up approximately one quarter of total global sales for the year.

Australia remains a small player on an international level, but is on track to reach its own milestone by once again eclipsing one million sales for the year – only the fourth time the mark has been passed in history. Our industry is likely to decline by around two per cent in 2011.




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