Global auto sales through June reached 41.5 million units, up nearly 6% over year-ago, with the growth pace expected to gain further momentum throughout the year’s second half.
Global auto sales for the first six months of 2012 reached 41.5 million units, outpacing the same period year-ago by 5.9%.
However, the market should post an even bigger gain for the full year, reflecting the impact the Japan earthquake/tsunami and Thai flooding had on sales in the final three quarters of 2011.
The current-year year-to-date tally was boosted by June deliveries of 7.3 million vehicles, a 10.8% rise over year-ago and the second consecutive month of double-digit increases.
In the Asia/Pacific region, sales climbed 17.8% to 3.03 million units, lifting 6-month volume 11.8% over year-ago to just shy of 18 million units. That gives the region a 43.3% share of worldwide sales so far in 2012.
Deliveries in China rose 9.9% in June, but just 2.7% year-to-date, giving the world’s largest market a 23.1% share of global sales in the first six months, down from 23.8% year-ago.
As expected, Japan volume jumped more than 40% in June, reflecting the recovery from the early 2011 natural disasters that devastated sales and production. Year-to-date sales in the world’s No.3 market were up 53.6%, good for a 7.1% share of the world total, compared with 4.9% in like-2011.
The North American market also saw positive comparisons to inventory-depleted year-ago results. June sales spiked 19%, led by a 21.8% increase in the U.S., where pent-up demand from the recent recession continues to drive growth.
Year-to-date North American volume of nearly 8.8 million units represented a 14.1% gain from like-2011 and gave the region a 21.1% share of worldwide sales, up from 19.6% in the prior year.
Share gains in North America and the Asia/Pacific region came largely at the expense of the European market, which accounted for 24.3% of first-half sales, compared with 27.1% year-ago.
Europe’s largest market, Germany, saw sales rise just 0.5% in the first half, but volume for the entire region dropped 4.8%. Russia was the bright spot, with Europe’s No.2 market growing 14.7% over first-half year-ago. The U.K. saw a 1.7% increase for the period.
But those gains were offset by a 13.2% decline in France, a 21.4% dip in Italy and year-over-year shortfalls in a number of smaller European markets.
South America sales also lagged year-ago, with 6-month deliveries down 1.2%. However, sales in the largest market, Brazil, climbed 16.2% in June, lifting the region’s sales 10% over like-2011.
To date, South America’s share of world vehicle sales was 6.5%, trailing year-ago’s 6.9% take.