Automotive Market

Light Vehicle Sales

Light vehicle sales in western Europe registered a third successive year of market declines due to the contraction in private consumption. Sales fell by 1% in 2011 after falling 3% in 2010 and 9% in 2009. Nevertheless, not all segments of the light vehicle market performed the same. In western Europe, the premium segment grew by 4-5% in both 2010 and 2011. Sales of light vehicles in central and eastern Europe rose at double-digit rates in both 2010 and 2011, posting growth in all segments.

NAFTA sales rebounded in both 2010 and 2011 with sales growth of 9-11% in both years. South America also exhibited strong growth of 9% in 2011 and was stronger still in the premium segment.

Growth in Asia slowed considerably in 2011 to a 1% increase after two years of buoyant growth. Light vehicle sales plunged in Japan following the earthquake and sales in other Asian markets were also affected by supply chain issues. Chinese sales expanded by 4.5%, led by gains in the premium segment.

Sales in the Middle East and Africa were interrupted by the popular uprisings, particular in Tunisia and Egypt where light vehicle sales declined. The light vehicle market continued to expand rapidly in South Africa.

Commercial Vehicle Sales

After a strong recovery in 2010, global sales of medium and heavy range vehicles rose by 4% in 2011. Sales in western Europe and NAFTA countries posted double-digit rates of growth, although volumes remained below their levels in 2007, prior to the global financial crisis. As in western Europe, sales in the truck segment grew rapidly in central and eastern Europe both in 2010 and 2011, although they have not yet fully recovered from the nearly 70% contraction in 2009.

Truck sales expanded by 4% on the South American market in 2011 leaving sales well above pre-crisis levels. Southeast Asian sales expanded steadily in 2011 while in China, after two years of double-digit rates of growth, truck segment sales dropped 9% in 2011 as incentives targeting investment which supported commercial vehicle sales in 2009 and 2010 came to an end. In Japan, sales recovered by 4% in 2011.