Bumpy ride ahead for light vehicle markets in 2021

GlobalData forecasts the global light vehicle market at 85.4 million units in 2021, 13.7% ahead of 2020’s pandemic-hit total. However, the year will be a tumultuous one for auto sales, with major market swings and considerable uncertainties ahead, says Globaldata, a leading data and analytics company.

Calum MacRae, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “We expect 2021 to be just as tumultuous as 2020. This will be particularly true in the first two quarters.

“Year-on-year comparisons against extremely low lockdown-hit bases will come into play in the first half. For example, our current forecast sees a 21% increase in February’s numbers globally, followed by 49% in March and 72% in April, which will seem at odds with a weak picture for the global economy. However, the headline gains could lift confidence and, coupled with vaccine rollouts around the world, a stronger market for 2021 than many anticipate is conceivable.”

For 2021, GlobalData’s base forecast stands at 85.4 million light vehicles sold – 13.7% ahead of 2020, but 4% below 2019’s total. Regionally, the strongest gains are forecast in South America (+22.9%), MEA (+20.4%) and Europe (+19.6%). For the major market of China, an 8.4% gain to 24.6 million units is forecast which will take the market to near parity with 2019. In the US, GlobalData forecasts a 12.4% gain to 16.3 million, while Germany’s light vehicle market is forecast to increase by 19.9%.

MacRae adds: “The crisis is far from over with negative economic effects still working through at the same time as underlying demand picks up from a low base. It’s time to buckle up, as 2021 will be a bumpy ride for vehicle markets again.”

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