Global vehicle sales totaled 8.58 million units in March, a 1.6% increase over like-2014 and a record-high volume for any month in WardsAuto history.
Europe posted the largest year-over-year growth. Sales in the region surged 5.9% to 2.14 million units and accounted for 25.0% of the world market, the highest share since June 2012’s 25.3% result.
Although a few countries such as Russia (-42.9%) and Ukraine (-78.0%) reported losses in the month, most countries saw major gains, with fifteen in double-digits, including Italy (+14.6%), Spain (+43.7%) and Turkey (+74.8%). The U.K. and Germany, the region’s largest markets, were up 8.1% and 9.3%, respectively.
The North American market improved 2.0% in March as all countries recorded growth from year-ago. Deliveries in the U.S. and Canada increased 0.9% and 2.3%, respectively. Mexico sales spiked 22.5%, the greatest hike since April 2002. The 1.85 million combined vehicles sold were 21.5% of the global total.
The Asia-Pacific region’s sales reached 4.11 million units and accounted for 47.9% of worldwide deliveries. The March figure was down 0.4%, resulting in the second consecutive year-over-year decline following a 23-month stretch of positive results.
Sales gains in China (+3.3%), India (+2.5%) and Australia (+8.0%) were not enough to negate declines reported in Japan (-11.2%), South Korea (-7.3%) and Indonesia (-12.1%).
South America’s results totaled 390,000 vehicles in March, 1.8% below same-month 2014. This was the 13th consecutive year-over-over drop, but the lowest in that period. The region’s share of the world market hit an all-time low of 4.5%.
Brazil continued to struggle in the month with sales down 2.6% from year-ago levels. Deliveries tumbled in Chile as well, down 22.3%. Argentina (+6.1%) and Colombia (+2.9%) softened the region’s downturn.
Through March, 21.86 million vehicles were sold worldwide, up 1.0% from like-2014.