The global automotive industry experienced a rise in sales during 2016 with 84.24 million vehicles sold according to data just released by industry analyst, JATO Dynamics.
In particular, China saw double-digit growth in sales, while demand in the US is said to have remained stable.
However, demand in the US for large pickups continued, which in turn fuelled the success of the Ford F-Series and as a result it became the world’s best-selling car. In point of fact, just this month, Ford has started shipping the all-new 2017 F-150 Raptor – its flagship F-Series model – to customers in China, marking the first time any U.S.-built F-Series truck has been officially exported to China.
Fellow U.S. carmaker Buick also benefited from the China market in 2016, with Chinese sales accounting for 82% of its global results and its Excelle compact saloon was the country’s third best-selling car.
Despite losing ground in the US and China, Toyota, meanwhile, maintained its leading position as the world’s most popular car brand. Overall it increased sales during 2016 owing to strong results in emerging markets such as Indonesia and Mexico.
In Europe, the Volkswagen Golf suffered a dip in demand, both as a consequence of stronger competition and the impact of the emissions issue. However, despite of the latter factor, the Volkswagen brand managed to increase its sales by 2.8% during 2016. Its Chinese operations remained largely unaffected by the scandal, with its sales continuing to grow. This allowed the brand to offset significant declines in Brazil, the US and Russia.
The global demand for SUVs also continued unabated in 2016, with significant sales increases in the segment across South East Asia, Europe and China.
Last year’s best-selling SUV was the Nissan X-Trail/Rogue, which overtook the Honda CR-V – which had occupied the lead position for some years as a result of strong growth in the US, China and Europe. Other big increases include the Honda HR-V (aka XR-V or Vezel), the Great Wall Hover midsize SUV and the twins Hyundai Tucson – Kia Sportage.
And largely as a result of their latest launches capitalising on the SUV boom, Honda, Kia and Mercedes ended up being the best performers in the list of top 10 best-selling brands.
Other brands which experienced notable growth in 2016 included Renault, whose performance was boosted by a 28.1% increase on its SUV sales, and a somewhat dramatic improvement in India where it experienced a 146% increase in registrations due to the popularity of the Kwid.
“Despite the hurdles faced by the automotive industry last year, an increase in registrations of 5.6% shows the sector’s resilience. The growth shows that the declines in Japan, Russia and Brazil were offset by strong results in China and Europe,” says Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst.
The decline in registrations in Brazil was particularly dramatic, with 500,000 less units registered compared to the previous year. 2016’s total was a significant 45% lower than the record 3.63 million units posted in 2012.
In the emerging markets, India showed its strength with more than 3.3 million units sold as a result of growing prosperity and the greater availability of consumer credit. India’s growth offset losses in other emerging markets, and established India as a solid source of revenue for car manufacturers.