Worldwide demand for passenger vehicles continues to stabilize on most foreign markets as the year draws to a close, a development supported by numerous national economic stimulus programs. The strong growth should also be viewed in the context of the low number of registrations in November 2008. Irrespective of this, growth on the world's automotive markets has continued to accelerate in November.
In Western Europe new passenger vehicle registrations increased by more than 30 percent in November. Thanks to a sales increase of 48 percent, France recorded its best November result ever. In the UK, the scrappage program introduced in May has had a stabilizing effect in the second half of the year. Last month new vehicle registrations were up 58 percent compared to the previous year's result, which was in part due to the scrappage program, but also to the planned increase of the sales tax in January 2010, which ensured a large number of advance purchases. In November, Spain (+37 percent) and Italy (+31 percent) were also able to exceed the number of sales of the last few months. During the year to date, approximately 12.6 million passenger vehicles have been sold in Western Europe, which is only slightly below last year's level.
In comparison, the passenger car business in Eastern Europe showed rather lackluster performance in November, although the results have noticeably improved from the previous months. At 65,200 vehicles, sales in the new EU member states dropped 17 percent. An important driver of growth was the Czech market, where new vehicle registrations were up nearly 32 percent in November. Sales in the Czech Republic over the last year are ten percent higher than the result from the prior year. Slovenia achieved a four-percent growth rate in November - the first growth in sales in more than a year. However, sales through November have declined by one-fifth. In Poland the passenger vehicle business in November and for the first 11 months has remained at around the same level as that of last year.
In Russia there was a 46-percent decline in sales of passenger vehicles in November. The Russian economy remains deeply mired in a recession, although its market for new vehicles is slowly bottoming out. Demand for passenger vehicles in Russia has fallen to half of its level at the beginning of the year.
In the United States the market has stabilized over the past few months. At 744,700 units, sales of light vehicles once again reached the prior year's level in November. For the year to date, sales on the U.S. market are down 24 percent to nearly 9.4 million units. In November the German manufacturers registered a four-percent increase in sales and succeeded in expanding their market share in the U.S. by 0.6 percentage points to 7.3 percent since the beginning of the year.
The Brazilian market posted strong growth of 43 percent in November, although sales in November 2008 were at a particularly low level. Since the beginning of the year, sales of light vehicles in Brazil have risen by ten percent to 2.7 million units.
Sales in Japan have also continued to stabilize. In November new vehicle registrations were up by around 25 percent. At 3.6 million passenger cars, sales in the first 11 months of 2009 were nevertheless still down by nine percent compared to the same period in 2008.
In China the sales volume in November nearly doubled, an increase of 92 percent. Although the Chinese passenger vehicle market was also declining toward the end of 2008 due to the global crisis, China has continued to become more dynamic as an important sales market. During the year to date, sales of passenger vehicles in China have increased by 44 percent to 7.4 million units.
The Indian passenger vehicle market is also growing very dynamically. In November it recorded the highest sales increase of the last five years, with sales jumping by 67 percent. Sales in India were up 15 percent through November compared to the same period in 2008.