Global automakers sold 7.36 million vehicles in August, rising 4.1% above year-ago.
In Europe, while most people take vacation and vehicle sales reach the lowest level each year, sales grew 5.6% year-over-year to 1.27 million. Still, the August total was 20.6% lower than July’s 1.60 million.
Several large markets witnessed significant growth. France sales jumped 10.4% to 134,000 units, Germany was up 2.9% to 284,000, and Italy grew 9.1% to 94,000.
Sales in Spain soared 14.2% to 87,000, as buyers rushed to get ahead of the fuel economy-based taxes set to rise in September, and as the industry braces for a major slowdown. Through August, sales outpaced same-period 2016 by 8.1% with just shy of 1 million vehicles.
Overall, Europe’s 8-month total was 4.4% ahead of like-2016 with 13.78 million deliveries. Market leader Volkswagen inched up 2.5% in the period with over 200,000 sales, and remains far ahead of the competition. However, runners-up PSA and Renault outperformed the region with 5.4% and 6.3% gains, respectively.
Sales were strong in South America, as well, rising 17.6% in August to 381,000 units. Contributing to the growth was a 17.7% surge in Brazil to 217,000 vehicles, due to decreased borrowing costs and positive economic outlook after a possible bottoming out.
Chile sales soared 43.5% to 36,000 units. Favorable exchange rates and steep competition among brands have helped keep prices low. The top four brands each hold about 7.3% of the market. Year-to-date sales improved 20.4% to 235,000.
Through August, South America sales were up 11.5% to 2.58 million.
The Asia-Pacific region also saw improvement in August, with sales rising 5.6% to 3.47 million. Gains came from Japan, up 4.1% to 351,000 vehicles, and South Korea, increasing 6.4% to 133,000, though Taiwan (-4.4%) and Indonesia (-2.4%) fell short.
While monsoon rains fell over India, sales improved 15.4% to 364,000 vehicles. Neighboring Pakistan saw a 25.0% boost to 23,000, with SUV sales accounting for much of the growth.
China sales were up 5.6% year-over-year to 2.19 million, and gained 10.9% over July’s total. SUV was the only passenger-vehicle segment to beat year-ago, despite government efforts to encourage small-car sales. However, alternative-fuel vehicles witnessed 76.7% growth to 68,000 units, according to the China Association of Autombile Manufacturers.
The Asia-Pacific region’s total through August was 4.5% above same-period 2016 with 28.31 million deliveries.
For the third straight month, North America was the only region to see a decrease in sales, dipping 1.2% to 1.83 million vehicles in August. The U.S., which accounted for 82.7% of the region, slowed 1.7% to 1.51 million.
Mexico sales totaled 129,000 units, 6.5% short of 2016’s August-record 138,000 units. Still, year-to-date sales held even with like-2016 at 1.02 million.
Canada sales rose 7.0% to 187,000 for the month, pushing the 8-month tally 5.2% above like-2016.
The region’s total through August was down 1.9% with fewer than 14 million vehicles, the lowest 8-month volume since 2014.
Worldwide sales reached 61.88 million vehicles through August, adding 1.79 million units to same-period 2016’s total.