By on June 28, 2011

According to Wards Auto, global auto sales through May hit 32.62 million units, up 6.0% from the year-ago number. But as the chart above shows, the rate of growth in global deliveries has slowed dramatically over the past year-and-a-half, falling below five percent the last several months. So what’s the problem? At this point, what isn’t the problem? The US and Japan have been hit hard by the Japanese tsunami, while the once-blistering-hot markets of China and India are shrinking and growing more slowly respectively.

Collectively, markets in the Asia/Pacific region accounted for 2.35 million vehicle deliveries, equating to 37% of world sales, the region’s lowest global market share since May 2009.

In the U.S. and Canada, sales of Japanese vehicles slipped precipitously below the rest of the market in May due to supply shortages, pulling North America’s year-over-year performance 2.3% below like-2010 on a volume basis, despite an 11.7% increase in Mexico.

So where’s the good news? After a forgettable few years, Europe is back… and South America is staying strong.

Overall deliveries in Europe rose 14.2% in May, to 1.85 million units. The resulting 29.2% share of world sales was the region’s highest take since June of last year…

Double-digit growth in many of South America’s smaller markets lifted regional sales in May 27.6%, compared with year-ago, for a 7.9% share of global deliveries – a 9-month high.

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33 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: Global Sales Growth Slows To A Crawl...”


  • avatar
    vbofw

    “the rate of growth in global deliveries has slowed dramatically over the past year-and-a-half, falling below five percent the last several months. So what’s the problem?”

    The problem is your chart compares normalized growth to unsustainable growth. Global autos are slated to grow at roughly 4% a year, not the 20-35% growth seen in early 2010.

  • avatar
    ronin

    We’ll see in a few months if parts availability really is the culprit…

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    I believe that the current state of the US and Western economies have a lot to do with the softened demand for cars. Europe may enjoy an increase in sales now but all is not well there as several of my cousins have told me.

    In the US the economy is not expanding and the depressed job market is hurting many recent graduates. Housing is not doing well and construction is down. People and corporations with money are hoarding it for fear that it will be even worth less tomorrow and many are loathe to invest in any job-creating ventures lest they be punished severely with higher taxes and mandated healthcare provisions.

    Even small businesses can see the handwriting on the wall and many have pared employees down to the absolute minimum. Gone are the confident and carefree pre-2007 days, and I don’t see them coming back under the current administration. I think that the remainder of this year and next will be slow going and I, along with millions of others, are cutting back on spending. Buying my 2011 truck last January was be last major purchase until we trade my wife’s 2008 Highlander in 2013.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Gone are the confident and carefree pre-2007 days, and I don’t see them coming back under “any administration” for a long time since we have a foreclosure crisis and stagnating incomes to worry about. Both of these predate the current administration by many years.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Mike, that pretty well sums it up. You expressed it more succinctly and harshly than I chose to, but also much more realistically.

        For those who have not experienced the care-free pre-2007 days of anything goes, they won’t know what they are missing. But for people like me who enjoyed pretty darn good times prior to the Great Recession this is quite a let-down. No finger-pointing please since there is plenty of blame to go around.

        That explains why people in business are so cautious with their money and have cut back on so much, including employment. Maybe everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop. It may happen later this year or next. Something’s gotta give.

        And I don’t see Obama’s smiling face on TV trying to instill confidence in the populace. What seems to come through loud and clear is that the only job Obama cares about, is keeping the one he’s got. Not much comfort to all the people on the verge of having their homes foreclosed upon or their car repossessed.

    • 0 avatar
      stickmaster

      highdesertcat:
      So get Palin or Bachmann into office and then we’ll all be flush with energy and cash? Good times forever and ever, amen?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I wouldn’t vote for Palin, Bachmann or any of the candidates currently in the field of hopefuls. But I’d vote for Rick Perry if he decides to get off the pot. What Perry has done and continues to do for Texas, is excellent!

        But, let’s not talk politics on a car board because when it comes time to vote our conscience we have to each decide for ourselves if we are better off with Obama than we were under Shrub or Clinton. If you are better off with Obama than under Shrub or Clinton then you should vote to keep Obama on for another four years.

        I am old enough to remember the one-term Jimmy Carter. Those old enough can easily remember why Carter was never re-elected to a second term. In comparison, things are even worse for more people in America under Obama.

        And how well we, the people, are doing directly affects the economy and sales of cars and new homes.

      • 0 avatar
        Bryce

        After decades of morons in your whitehouse why get rid of the only one whoe IQ exceeds his shoe size

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        SVX pearlie, I don’t care how you refer to him. I didn’t vote for him. While I tend to be conservative in my views, I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents in the past. New Mexico is a vastly Democrat state.

        What matters to me is how qualified the candidate is and what they can do for ME. What we have now is even worse than Carter was. But he obviously works for some Americans. Probably those on the receiving end of the welfare line. I’m afraid he’s done nothing for me.

        I was better off under Shrub, Clinton, Shrub the Elder and Reagan. No matter who we choose to blame for the current ills of our nation, we put them there. We voted them in. Well, that is if you are old enough to vote, and actually do vote.

        Majority rules in America, right? Well, the majority really f’d it up this time, didn’t they? Look for more spreading the misery around in the next two years. The economic indicators are not good. At least not for the majority of Americans paying the taxes. How’s that hope and change sh it working for you? It ain’t working for me.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’ve bought my last new car.Speaking as a recently retired boomer couple, I would imagine… we are not alone.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @mikey: Totally OT, but, nice icon!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Mikey, I don’t know about that. A friend in his seventies recently bought a new 2011 Mercedes E350 AWD sedan to replace his ’96 Crown Vic. Guy across the street at 83 recently traded both his Cadillacs for a 2011 Buick Enclave AWD. A retired AF Colonel in his late seventies bought a 2011 Lexus LS460 just a few weeks ago.

      The bottom line is that you can’t take it with you and I have never seen a hearse with a U-Haul behind it. If you got it, why not spend it? Life’s a bitch. It’s Hell after that.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        No..highdesertcat, even if I have it, I’ll spend it on something else. New cars have lost thier thrill for me.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        mikey, that seems to be the trend for YOUNGER people, especially in Asia. In the US the younger people still strive to buy that new car, but in most markets in tends to be a foreign brand, imported or made on American soil.

        I’m surprised that someone of your vintage has lost interest in cars. People of my generation grew up with cars, and rock&roll, and I cannot ever envision the day that the sound of a Big Block doesn’t make my heart pound, even if that Big Block is in the process of destroying itself on the drag strip. Yeah, been there, done that, with 426 Hemis on Nitro (I was the mechanic, not the driver).

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        I confess that I still love cars. I said below that a very pretty Impala stirred the new car bug in me, but right now, I’m concentrating on paying off my house, which is now less than what my Impala stickered at, but with my 100 mile round-trip commute beginning in around a month, I don’t know. I think my Imp has lots of life left in it, though – it only has 82K and is 7 yrs. old. I need to get our MX5 paid off first. Then I’ll see.

        Stay tuned…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Could be worse. Instead of being a retired boomer couple you could be a millenial couple with kids and a mortgage. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Mikey, I don’t know…I saw a nice, victory red Impala during my lunch walk and the feelings for a new car were stirred. I came to my senses, though, as I plan on keeping my current Impala another three years. I’m 60, and time will tell.

      Never say never!

  • avatar
    stickmaster

    Is there an iron law in the universe that says that car sales must go up forever? Demographics, finance, and peak oil be damned?

    I have a perfectly good 4-5 year old car with 50,000 miles that I plan to run for a long time.

    And now that the banksters have taken everything, and oil is getting more expensive, and you expect me to buy a new car every few years?

    Get real.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Well, I do work at a company that is part of a rather huge international cooperation that has it name from early luxury-car-production. We were faced at a meeting, with a ‘fall in expected increase of net-profit’ of nearly 6%. In effect, our net-profit was increasing 6% less than the economists had calculated that it would increase. How anyone can think that way still baffles me years later.
      I blame it on greedy stock owners. They actually believe everything can grow forever.

      • 0 avatar
        Bryce

        You need to realise most economists are too stupid to tie their own shoe laces they can prdict anything they like reality is different

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Zykotec, if you have any sort of retirement account or mutual funds or anything like that you are most likely a greedy stock owner. And yeah you buy a stock expecting it to go up. Why else would you buy it? Or would you buy stocks expecting them to go down? What are you thinking? If I had known that you were out there looking for stocks that had gone down, hey I had some that I would have sold you at my cost in a heartbeat.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        One might buy stocks in the hope that they will simply hold their value and remain stable sources of future income. The presumption that a stock must continuously grow to be healthy seems highly problematic. Unchecked growth can sometimes become cancerous, and hence maladaptive and disadvantageous in the long run.

      • 0 avatar
        MoppyMop

        Used to be that you bought stocks for the dividends. Once growing the share price uber alles becomes the goal (as it was at GM under Fred Donner and his successors in the late 60s/70s), you’re going to run the company into the ground eventually.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        I haven’t seen a figure lately but the average dividend yield on the relatively small percentage of stocks that offer dividends is less than the rate of inflation. If you buy for dividends under those conditions you are losing money. Don’t use dividends as an example, most stocks don’t offer dividends so what’s a non-greedy stock owner to do? You can’t defend that, it was an ill-chosen phrase.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Come on Phil, I know you don’t like me or agree with me on anything, but admit that greedy stock owners expecting stocks to always go up is less than bright and you demean yourself by attempting to defend one of yours.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        I almost agree that many people buy stocks just because they expect them to grow, but they still get a share of the income of the company they are part owners of.
        The big problem is when a stock holder expects their stock to rise by 10% each year, and when it only goes up 8% they call the ‘missing’ 2% a loss.
        Even worse, they may sell their shares cheap because they are unhappy , making it go down instead, creating the illusion that the company is loosing money, regardless of how production is going.
        And yes, my retirement fund actually makes me a stock owner, allthough not a greedy one . Retirement for me will hopefully consist of tinkering with Hot Rods in my garage, with a slight chance of an extra income.
        (not sure what kind of hot rods will be popular 40 years from now…I may be putting extra condensators in the boost-reserve-control of some EV…)

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        It’s good to know you aren’t greedy but your problem is not with the average investor, it’s with the high frequency traders who get in and out of stocks in seconds. You or I can’t do that but we pay the price for missed earnings and problems like that while the HFTs make tons of money. They aren’t investors, they’re traders.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        A well run corporation that makes effective use of capital and reinvests earnings to maintain and improve its competitiveness is a slap in the face to zero sum game redistributionists. You’d might as well try teaching your house plants geometry, MikeAR.

  • avatar
    MrBostn

    Being greedy and wanting your stock prices to go up are two different things.


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