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The Spaminator
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Global auto sales to rise 6.7% in 2012 on Chinese demand
Mark Clothier
January 3, 2012
Automotive News

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- The number of cars and light trucks sold globally will grow 6.7 percent this year, led by Chinese demand outside the population centers of Shanghai and Beijing, R.L. Polk & Co. said.

Sales will rise to 77.7 million vehicles, helped by a 16 percent gain in China to 17.9 million, according to Polk, a research company based in Southfield, Mich.

China sales were unchanged at 15.5 million in 2011, Polk estimated, after the government phased out purchase incentives.

"Growth in China will pick up again in 2012," said Anthony Pratt, Polk's director of forecasting for the Americas. "The growth there will be more a function of natural demand than stimulus, and the expansion in the second-and third-tier cities is a trend that's going to continue to develop."

Sales in Europe will be unchanged at about 19 million vehicles, as austerity measures and sovereign-debt concerns prevent governments from offering scrappage programs and other incentives for purchasers, Polk said.

Sales in Europe were about 19.2 million last year, after reaching 18.5 million in 2010, Polk estimated.

In the U.S. market, sales of cars and light trucks will rise 7.3 percent to 13.7 million, Polk said.

The United States won't surpass its pre-recession sales level of 16 million vehicles until 2015, Polk said.

Luxury cars will remain the fastest-growing part of the U.S. market, with more than 14 percent growth, according to the forecast. Sales topped 12.7 million in 2011, Polk estimated, after totaling 11.5 million in 2010.

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