Stunning Growth in Emerging Markets Overshadows Mature Auto Markets

John Humphrey

A new world order has been established with respect to global automotive sales. With China at the forefront, emerging markets—especially the BRIC countries, which also include Brazil, Russia and India—already have overtaken mature automotive markets in terms of sales, and will continue to be the primary source of growth for the sector going forward.

In 2010, light-vehicle sales in these emerging markets comprised slightly more than one-half (51%) of global sales. Going forward, the share of emerging markets is expected to increase steadily to 60% of global automotive sales in 2015. Sales in China alone in 2015 are projected to reach 29 million units, with the United States following with just 16.5 million unit sales. The U.S. and other mature markets like Western Europe and Japan are expected to return to pre-recession sales levels by 2015.

J.D. Power expects worldwide light-vehicle sales to rise from 77 million units this year to 103 million units in 2015. In less than a decade (2020), global light-vehicle sales are projected to total 125 million units, and we expect the BRIC countries to account for 57.7 million of those, or 46% of the total. Moreover, each of the BRIC countries has major potential for exports, so their combined production is anticipated to account for an even larger percentage of global output in 2020.

To understand the full impact of the amazing growth of these emerging markets, consider that it took nearly 95 years for the world’s on-road passenger-vehicle population to reach 500 million units, but it will only take another 20 years for units-in-operation on the world’s roads to exceed 1 billion passenger vehicles.John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates

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