The NIO EP9 – an electric racing car from China - reached          313 km/h on the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas (February 23rd 2017)New sales of passenger vehicles, trucks and buses in Asia-Pacific increased by almost 10% to 42.2 million units in 2016.

In 2016, China remained the world’s largest and fastest growing car market. The Chinese new car market grew by 18% to a new record 23,693,400 vehicles – the second consecutive year that new passenger vehicle registrations in China have exceeded 20 million cars. The Chinese new car market has grown by 45% in the last four years. In December 2016, car sales in China reached a new monthly high of 2.6 million cars – an increase of 10.7%. This impressive number is largely credited to purchases being brought forward due to a planned increase in taxes on smaller-engine cars from January 2017. The Wuling Hongguang was the best-selling model in China in 2016, with sales of 650,000 ahead of the fast growing Haval H6 at 580,683 units.

As to 2017 figures, it’s unlikely that this high growth will be maintained, especially because at the beginning of this year the sales tax discount was reduced. This prediction has been realized; the Chinese new car market contracted by 2.2% in April 2017 to 1,660,100 passenger vehicles. However, from January to April 2017, car sales increased by 3.7% to 7,445,000 cars to leave China still by far the largest single country car market in the world.

India also showed strong growth in new vehicle sales, driven by declining interest rates and strong domestic economic growth. Full-year sales grew by 7%. Interestingly, during the first four months of 2017, India was the fastest growing major car market in the world. In April 2017 for example, new passenger vehicle registrations in India increased by 14.7% to 277,600 cars – only 20,000 fewer cars than the Japanese market during the same month. Thus far in 2017, the Indian new car market expanded by 12% to 1,080,000 cars – the fastest growth rate of any major car market in the world.

South-east Asia’s largest vehicle market, Indonesia, enjoyed a moderate recovery in 2016, with sales rising by 4.7% to just over one million units – driven by new models and falling interest rates. The market is expected to grow slowly in the next few years, reflecting moderate economic growth in the country.

New vehicle registrations in Japan in 2016 contracted by 1.5% to 4.97 million units, which meant that in 2016, new vehicle sales in Japan were below 5 million for the first time since 2011. However, full year figures were better than feared earlier in 2016. Turning to 2017, new passenger vehicle registrations in Japan continue to expand, and in April 2017 the market grew by 10.4% to 297,300 cars. Year-to-date 2017 the Japanese new car market has grown by 8.3% to 1,637,800 cars – only the Indian market expanded faster thus far in 2017.

Strong economic growth in the Philippines and Vietnam supported sales. Despite vehicle ownership being low in these countries, strong domestic economic growth combined with low interest rates attracted new first-time buyers. A decline in sales of 13% was recorded in Malaysia, due to slower economic growth. A rebound was expected in 2017, and this is currently being seen. The Malaysian new car market year-to-date total is up 5.8% to 183,586 units.

Sales in South Korea remained at near record levels in 2016, helped also by low interest rates and sales tax incentives in the first half of the year. This market is forecast to weaken in the short term as domestic economic growth slows. In May 2017, 135,453 local models found a buyer in South Korea; a 7% year-on-year drop leading to a 2% decline for the year-to-date tally at 639,852.

In contrast, sales in Thailand declined by 3.9% last year, with a weak fourth quarter cancelling out moderate growth earlier in the year. The recovery is expected to continue through 2017 as economic growth picks up. This has been corroborated. April 2017 was an excellent month for new vehicle sales in Thailand at +15.1% year-on-year to 63,267 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 15.7% to 273.757.


Source: "Overview of the global composites industry" - New edition by JEC Group 


Written by Denzil Walton

Denzil Walton is a technical copywriter, editor and conference reporter. He has over 30 years’ experience writing on a variety of industrial and high-tech topics.


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