The blog's regular look at October's auto sales in the 3 main markets (China, US, EU) shows growth is slowing, not accelerating.
China's sales were lower than September, as the subsidy ended on small engine cars. Its pace of growth is also slowing. Year to date sales are only up 6% versus 2010, compared to 30% growth in 2010 and 43% in 2009.
As the chart shows, this meant that total sales (red square) in the 3 markets are also showing slower growth:
• They are up just 5% in 2011 versus 2010
• In 2010, they were up 9% versus the previous year
Yet the consensus view has been for a steady recovery in the West, supported by dramatic growth in Asia and other emerging markets.
This view now looks wildly optimistic:
• US sales so far this year are still down 9% versus 2008
• Total US/EU sales are down 12%
• Total US/China/EU sales are up only 9%
Equally, India saw its sales fall for the 4th month this year. As fellow-blogger Malini Hanrahan notes, they were down 24% in Ocober.
Companies therefore need to urgently revisit their own 2012 - 2014 sales projections for this critical area. They also need to consider a Downside Scenario where sales volume actually falls versus 2011, as governments struggle to resolve inflation and debt problems.