Total 2017 global light vehicle sales will reach 93.5 million units, a growth rate of 1.5 percent over 2016, according to the most recent forecast from IHS Markit, a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.
However, industry risk in mature markets is at the highest level it has been since the Lehman Brothers collapse and global industry downturn from 2008 through 2010, and will be a key factor for the near future. Engine propulsion options are expected to have an influence as well.
“Political uncertainty could cause a significant rift in light vehicle sales both in the U.S. and Europe, as both regions are undergoing fluctuations in policy, leadership and other dynamics,” said Henner Lehne, senior director, global vehicle group for IHS Markit.
In addition, IHS Markit forecasts in 2017 the decline of diesel vehicle sales share in Europe will further accelerate more than the European light vehicle market has experienced in the last decade. It believes the west European market will grow only 1% this year while a revised tax regime and improving technology will create a 5.9% jump in South Asia.
This represents just the start of a growing trend of diesel decline expected in the coming years, due in part to significant challenges around RDE regulation alongside the arrival of the EU6d emission standards.
Despite the daily publicity, sales of BEV (battery electric vehicles) and PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) light vehicles also were relatively flat between 2015 and 2016, according to IHS Markit analysis, despite the ever-present longer-term growth fundamentals. Global BEV production remains significantly below 1 million units and will represent just 0.7 percent of new vehicle supply globally in 2017, according to IHS Markit forecasts.
UK car manufacturing had a successful start to 2017, with output in January up 7.5% compared with the same month last year.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said 147,922 cars were produced in the month – the best January performance since 2008.
Export demand was particularly strong, increasing by 10.8%, as 117,916 British-built cars were shipped to overseas customers. 79.9% of production in the first month of the year was for export.
Meanwhile, production for UK customers fell -3.6%, with 30,006 vehicles built.
The performance follows a very strong year for UK car production in 2016, with total car production reaching 1.7 million – a 17-year high for the sector.
UK commercial vehicle manufacturing enjoyed double-digit growth in January.
Figures show 7,502 CVs were built in Britain last month, an increase of 10.8%, as overseas demand continued to drive production. Exports grew 45.9%, counterbalancing a decline in domestic output, which fell -26.0%.