Polk forecasts global new vehicle auto sales to reach 77.7M in 2012, up 6.7%; expects China sales to grow 16% while US sales recovery slows
|Polk forecast, millions of units. Click to enlarge.|
Global automotive market intelligence firm Polk forecasts worldwide new vehicle sales in 2012 will rise 6.7% over 2011 volumes to 77.7 million vehicles. Polk analysts believe the global economy will weather the current European sovereign debt crisis and consumers will return to showrooms around the world in 2012.
Polk expects China to make the largest contribution to global sales growth for new vehicles, with an anticipated 16% increase over 2011. Polk analysts anticipate much of this growth to occur outside of the large metropolitan cities of Shanghai and Beijing. The US market will experience single digit growth, primarily due to the relatively strong year for sales in 2011, and the effects of the weak economy that will continue to impact new vehicle demand through most of 2012.
|Source: Polk. Click to enlarge.|
Polk expects light-duty vehicle sales in the US to grow at a moderate pace, with a 7.3% increase in the region this year to 13.7 million vehicles, but the analysts do not expect the US market to achieve pre-recession levels of greater than 16 million vehicles per year until 2015.
The luxury segment in the US market in 2012 is expected to be the fastest growing segment, with more than 14% growth, according to Polk.
More affluent buyers are returning to the market for new vehicles, after three years of spending reductions. The luxury segment also offers a wide variety of product options for consumers across all segments, ranging from small cars to SUVs.—Anthony Pratt, director of forecasting for the Americas at Polk
Leasing penetration will continue to be higher in the luxury segment in the US and will continue to lift transactions in all segments, as elevated residual values reduce the monthly lease payments, attracting consumers to showrooms who often make purchase decisions on the monthly payments that fit their budget, according to Polk.
Leasing penetration has increased to pre-crisis levels for 2011 (through October) of 41.5% for the luxury segment and 17.1% for the overall US industry. This trend will likely continue through 2012 as automakers will attempt to win back consumers with promotions touting attractive monthly payments.
European sales are expected to be flat or down slightly, to just over 19 million units, according to Polk. Austerity plans will prevent governments in Europe from boosting 2012 sales through scrappage programs and other incentives offered in previous years.
Growth in the other BRIC countries will outpace many mature markets over the next few years. As an example, Polk expects Brazil to surpass Germany as 2011 sales results are finalized, and new vehicle sales in India are expected to surpass those sold in Germany in 2014. Sales growth in Russia will likely be flat in 2012, however, Polk anticipates sales in Russia to outpace Germany by the year 2015.
Brands in the US. Polk predicts Toyota and Honda, respectively, will realize the greatest amount of market share growth in 2012 as they begin to win back some lost share from their 2011 inventory shortages following natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. However, they will likely struggle to regain all of their lost share as they will experience strong competition from other automakers offering vehicles equipped with more fuel-efficient options and increased infotainment features.
Volkswagen will continue to win US market share in 2012, according to Polk, approaching the 3% range, as the Beetle launch will build on its successful Passat and Jetta models available in the market.
Although Hyundai and Kia sales volumes continue to increase year over year, Polk expects their market share growth to be flat in 2012, as the companies face increased competition in all segments.
Traditional domestic manufacturers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, will continue to grow in 2012 as the industry continues to recover. Refreshed products and new product introductions will help them to compete in various segments.