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by Anna Moretti Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Italia - Francesco Zirpoli Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Italia -

The global demand for passenger vehicles* concerns a total of 94,1 million units, with a 4,8% growth compared to 2015 and 14,6% over 2012. Such growth was fuelled by sales in markets such as: EU-28/EFTA (+7%), Mexico (+19%) and China (+14%). The overall demand in the EU/EFTA area, after a downturn that spanned several years, has been on the rise consistently since 2014, while the rest of Europe is still showing signs of weakness: -2,5% in Russia and -0,35 in Turkey; while the rest of Eastern Europe is finally showing signs of recovery again (+19%). In Central and South American countries, following the 19% market contraction in 2015 due mostly to Brazil’s poor performance, the demand took another knock and dropped by a further 10%. The Asia-Pacific area, on the other hand, recorded an 8% growth, although contrasting figures characterize the different individual markets: Iran, China (which accounts for 30% of the global demand) and India boasted positive results, while Japan and South Korea were slightly down. The Asia-Pacific area alone makes up 50% of the entire global demand, besides “hosting” 60% of the world’s population with rates of economic growth in the range of 6,7% in China and 6,8% in India (IMF data, April 2017).   

Worldwide the demand increased by over 30% from 2007 to 2016 (going from 72 to 94 million units) and changed dramatically: industrialized and “motorized” countries, commonly viewed also as traditional production areas (EU-15, USA/Canada and Japan), saw their markets shrink by 13 points, from 57% to 44%, while BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), whose demand grew by 118% compared to 2007, make up 37% of the global sales, (23% in 2007).

In absolute terms, the vehicle demand in industrialized countries in 2016 (Western Europe, USA, Canada and Japan) was much the same as it was back in 2007, around 41 million units, which represents a great recovery indeed after the 2009-11 “collapse” to 33 million. BRIC countries, on the other hand, saw the demand consistently rise until 2014, with the Chinese and Indian markets taking the lion’s share, while in Russia and Brazil sales have been declining since 2013. The BRIC area as a whole recorded a positive trend in 2016 recovering from the rather disappointing 2015 sales (down 2% compared to 2014 volumes) with over 35 million units sold which represents an increase of 9.5%. In the rest of the world, vehicle demand came to a standstill in 2009, and then grew moderately until 2016, but without exceeding the 18 million units threshold.



*Cars + LCV + trucks + busses (ANFIA processing on OICA’s data, National sector Associations, Ward’s, Fourin).

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