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World 2012 – The 20 biggest car markets: Thailand shoots up!

February 16th, 2013

Bangkok Thailand 2012The Thai new car market is up 81% in 2012.

* See the Top 20 biggest car markets in the world by clicking on the title! *

Now that pretty much all 2012 figures are in, I thought I would write a little summary of the 20 biggest car markets in the world, to put a bit of perspective on all the data on this site… To me the striking element in this ranking is a lot of markets we have been calling ’emerging’ have emerged long ago and are now fighting with the big boys. For example, each country within the BRIC lodges a record year in 2012: China stays in the lead by far with 19.3 million new vehicles, Brazil is #4 at 3.6 million, Russia #6 at 2.9 million and India #7 at 2.65 million…

Sydney Australia 2012bAustralia reaches an all-time high in 2012. Photo by Jong Soo Lee, all rights reserved.

Notice also the excellent health of the main Anglo-saxon markets: the USA is up 13% to 14.5 million, its best year since 2007, the UK is up 5% to 2.04 million, Canada up 6% to 1.68 million and now within the Top 10 biggest markets in the world and Australia delivers an all-time record at 1.1 million, up 9% on 2011… Note Canada and Australia are the countries among this Top 20 that buy the most new cars per inhabitants: both at 48 per thousand vs. 46 for the USA and 32 for the UK.

Bali Indonesia December 2012bIndonesia joins the millionaire club in 2012. Picture by my dear Dad.

But the big event this year is the arrival for the first time in the history of automobile of not one but two South-East Asian markets in the millionaire club. Thailand is by far the most impressive, up a huge 81% to reach 1.44 million sales, shooting up from #20 in 2011 to #12 in 2012 and passing significant markets like Italy and Iran in the process. Indonesia is the 2nd one, up 25% to 1.1 million at #14, and when you know that only 5 new cars per thousand inhabitants were sold in that market last year you can appreciate its growth potential…

Other notable movements include Japan up 28% to over 5.7 million units thanks to government subsidies on fuel-efficient cars, Iran dropping out of the millionaire club at -36% and Saudi Arabia breaking into the Top 20, replacing Spain.

Previous year: World 2011 – The 20 biggest car markets: Russia on the up!

Full Year 2012 Top 20 car markets Ranking Table below.

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