Car markets and car output set to soar versus last year, says GlobalData

Following the news that UK car production fell 14.0% year-on-year in February, with 105,008 units produced, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT);

Calum MacRae, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view: 

“The decline to UK car output in February was expected, the industry feeling the impact of the ongoing pandemic – both at home and in major export markets. The public health crisis remains severe in Europe and South America, even as the situation stabilizes or improves in other places such as North America and China.

“It’s also important to note that a statistical quirk will ensure some markets – and UK car production – are about to soar versus year-ago levels. The reason is that lockdowns in the spring of last year shut the industry down – retailers and factories – creating a severely depleted base for the next few months’ annual comparisons. Next month’s UK car output figures will show a big gain versus March 2020.

“Stripping those one-off statistical anomalies away, GlobalData forecasts the global vehicle market annualized sales running rate (SAAR) to become progressively better through the year as long as northern hemisphere infection rates are controlled and vaccination programs are rolled out apace. On this basis, for Q1 we forecast a SAAR of 81.6 million sales, improving to 84.2 million for Q2 and by the final quarter we expect a sales rate averaging 88.8 million indicating a return to near normal selling rates.

“Later quarters of the year will be driven by pent-up demand; whether that can carry into 2022 will be key for the medium-term development of markets, as there remains considerable uncertainty as to the fundamental economic health of many countries once the crutch of government support is removed.

“Put another way, for 2021, GlobalData’s base forecast stands at 85.2 million vehicle sales across the globe. That’s still 13.2% ahead of 2020, but 4.3% shy of 2019’s total. We’re firmly in recovery from a COVID-19 ravaged 2020, but there’s still a way to go.”

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