Fast Forward: Our Outlook for 2011

We are looking for the global marketplace to continue to pick up. The growth rate slows a little from what we saw in 2010. We expect about a 6% increase this year—rounding to 76.5 million units worldwide. North America is expected to pick up 11% more sales and end the year at 15.5 million units. The US is forecasted to come in at 13.0 million units—up 12% from 2010. 

Jeff Schuster

The drag on global sales will continue to be in Europe. Europe is basically flat at 18.1 million units for 2011. We are expecting weakness in the southern regions of Western Europe as well as in Ireland and the UK. However, we forecast that Germany will rebound, with a projected increase of 8%. 

In Asia, China continues to be the market to watch in 2011 as light vehicle sales are expected to increase 11% to 19.0 million units. John Zeng, our director of Asian automotive forecasting at J.D. Power Asia Pacific in Shanghai, points out that China will be the driver for global market growth and says that China’s automotive market remained robust in 2010, defying all expectations that the market would slow along with the economy.

In addition to China, other emerging markets, including India and Brazil, are expected to continue to expand on the 51 % share of total light-vehicle sales captured in 2010. In 2011, we expect emerging markets to account for a higher 53% of total light-vehicle sales, a further sign that these are the key markets that will drive the level of growth in the coming years.

If we look at where the economies are around the world—global GDP growth is projected to be at or 4.0% in 2011, down slightly from 4.6%  in 2010, but still strong enough to support further recovery in auto sales in many markets and continued growth in the emerging markets.

All in all, from a global standpoint, growth in 2011 is not expected to be as pronounced as it was in 2010. However, 2011 appears to be a stable environment with more manageable growth rates balanced across the world, as the recovery in the auto market will continue in many countries.—Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates


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