Polk data shows worldwide new registrations up 4% in May over the year before

04 July 2011 #SMMT News

Based on data which is preliminary in some cases, global demand for passenger vehicles (NAFTA: including light trucks) was up about 4% in May over the year before, as the uptrend we have seen in recent months continued, albeit at a weaker pace than the year before.

World Car New Registrations Change in %
May 2010 5,030,236
May 2011 5,234,117 4.1%
YTD 2010 24,631,252
YTD 2011 25,964,243 5.4%
Total Industry 2009 55,257,517 -3.3%
2010 61,196,628 10.7%
Total Industry Forecast 2011 63,158,045 3.2%
2012 69,391,312 9.9%


The strongest growth came in Eastern Europe, where demand was up 33%, driven by the positive trend in Russia. New registrations in Russia were up 46% over the year before as a result of the stabilizing economy and the continuing strong success of the scrappage scheme, which has been extended once again and which will have a positive impact on new registrations in Russia through autumn. The Asia/Pacific region was down once again, as new registrations in this region fell by almost 4% according to preliminary data. The main reason for this decline is of course the situation in Japan, where new registrations were down 33% from the year before. China was also down by almost 2% as a result of strong anticipated sales at the end of last year, as well as the fact that the government incentives have now expired.

The NAFTA region once again posted results which were better than the year before in May, with new registrations up by 2.5%. New registrations in Latin America were up 19% from the year before, coming after a steep loss two months ago, as the Brazilian passenger vehicle market grew by a good 15%. New registrations in Western Europe were up almost 8% from the year before, an increase which was primarily attributable to the fact that May 2011 had more workdays than May 2010. Nevertheless, the UK and especially Spain were down significantly. After adjusting for the additional workdays, it is still not possible to make out a positive overall trend for Western Europe.

The global passenger vehicle market continues to grow, but the rate of growth is getting smaller
Global new registrations will once again set a new record this year, growing by a good 3% over the year before. Expectations were hardly changed since the last forecast.

New registrations in the Asia/Pacific region will be down about 2% from the year before in 2011 as a whole. This decline is attributable to the situation in the Japanese passenger vehicle market, where new registrations will be down 26% this year from the year before, to about 3.1 million units. New registrations in China will also be down this year, although this downturn is due not to the general weakness of the market but to the extremely high new registrations at the end of 2010 as a result of the impending expiration of the government incentives. In addition, new registrations in the Beijing area have been subject to increasing restrictions since the start of 2011. The strongest growth is expected in the NAFTA and Eastern Europe regions. Both of these regions will post double-digit growth in 2011 due to an improvement in economic conditions. In Eastern Europe, growth will be further boosted by the Russian scrappage scheme, which has been extended through autumn of this year.

NEW REGISTRATIONS OF CARS by region (NAFTA region including Light Trucks)
(in 1,000)
2009 2010 2011 2012
Western Europe 13,664 12,973 12,818 13,149
Central and Eastern Europe 3,047 3,588 4,155 4,511
NAFTA (incl. Light Trucks) 12,550 13,861 15,469 17,476
Asia-Pacific/Middle East 21,515 25,740 25,309 28,481
Latin America 3,557 3,995 4,348 4,617
Africa 924 1,039 1,058 1,158
World 55,258 61,197 63,158 69,391

Western European
passenger vehicle demand is expected to take a very uneven course in 2011 as well. Some markets will be affected by the expiration of scrappage schemes, as well as by tax increases and government austerity measures in response to budget deficits, and new registrations should be down from the year before in those countries, a group which includes France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, other countries will see growth in new registrations as a result of positive economic conditions, including Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. The possibility of a Greek bankruptcy poses a threat to this region. If the situation worsens, the stability of the Euro and the economic recovery could be at risk.

Data: Copyright R.L. Polk Europe Holding Ltd, all rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without prior written consent from Polk –

For more detailed data on the UK vehicle market, contact SMMT Automotive Information Services (AIS).

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