World Vehicle Sales Rise, Led By Gains in North and South America

World Vehicle Sales Rise, Led By Gains in North and South America

Global auto makers delivered 7.14 million units in the month, compared with 6.77 million year-ago, according to WardsAuto data, as all markets, including Europe, showed improvement.

World vehicle sales climbed 5.4% in April, compared with like-2012, aided by strong demand across the Western Hemisphere and the first year-on-year gain in Europe since November 2011.

Global auto makers delivered 7.14 million units in the month, compared with 6.77 million year-ago, according to WardsAuto data, as all markets showed improvement.

North America posted the largest increase, with 128,000 additional deliveries pushing results up 8.9% from year-ago to 1.57 million units, giving it a 22% share of global auto sales. April was the 23rd consecutive month that the region outpaced prior-year.

Gains in the three North American markets were in proportion to the overall volume sales. The U.S. registered the smallest percentage rise, up 8.3% to 1.3 million units. Canada was up 8.7% to 175,000 and Mexico surged 20% over year-ago.

South America led all regions in year-on-year growth, up 29.2% to 535,000 units. The increase, which nearly equaled the volume gains in North America, was spurred by strong sales in the region’s largest markets.

After a mixed first quarter, Brazil’s auto makers delivered 334,000 vehicles in April, a 29.6% improvement over prior-year. Brazil was the world’s fourth-largest vehicle market in the month after finishing in the No.6 spot in March.

Collectively, South America markets accounted for 7.5% of world sales in April, the region’s largest monthly share since December.

The Asia-Pacific market grew 1.6% to 3.1 million units in the month, accounting for 43.1% of world vehicle sales. China, alone, accounted for 25.8%, up just 0.2% to 1.84 million.

Japan sales inched up 1.5%, to 365,000 units, while a 2% bump in South Korea’s results returned that market to the No.4 position in the region, ahead of Thailand. However, Thailand, up 25.1% to nearly 110,000, and Indonesia, up 17.1%, contributed the bulk of the volume increase.

Europe sales were only slightly better than year-ago, rising 0.6% to 1.64 million units, but the small gain was a positive sign for a beleaguered market that had posted year-over-year declines for the past 16 months.

However, the improvement lagged other regions, lowering Europe’s share of world sales to 22.9%, compared with 24% year-ago.

Germany, the region’s largest market, saw vehicle deliveries climb 3.8% to 311,000 units in April, while the U.K., where the economy has been somewhat buffered from the European credit crisis, jumped 16.5%. Those gains largely were offset by declines in Russia, France and Italy, the second-, third- and fourth-largest markets, respectively.

April’s results brought year-to-date worldwide vehicle sales to 28.2 million units, up 3.7% from like-2012.

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