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World 6 months 2013 – The 20 biggest car markets: China and UK strongest

Chongqing China. Picture courtesy of OLLI GEIBEL : AFP : Getty ImagesChongqing. China is set to be the first market to ever break the 20 million annual new vehicle sales mark.

* See the worldwide Top 20 biggest new car markets by clicking on the title! *

Now that almost all June 2013 data has come through, I will start taking a closer look at halfyear models and brands rankings in the Top 20 biggest new car markets in the world, although we have already looked into the USA and China. But first I wanted to set the stage by detailing which are these 20 markets and how they’ve evolved year-on-year. First big piece of news: for the first time in the history of automobile more than 10 million light vehicles were sold in 6 months in a single country: China. While there’s much talk about the Chinese car market slowing down, it’s actually not: at +12% on 2012 to an all-time record figure of 10.78 million units, it’s even the biggest year-on-year percentage increase of any of the Top 10 markets in the world! Expect the source of growth to progressively shift West towards the less developed provinces, as I detailed in my article “China: Light vehicle market to reach 30 million units by 2020.”

London. Picture courtesy of Kristen Elsby. All rights reserved.London. Picture by Kristen Elsby, all rights reserved. The UK is the 2nd best performer in the Top 10.

The US, with their much publicised revitalised market, are doing an excellent job at +8% to 7.8 million units, but while in 2012 it grew faster than China, this year it’s the other way around. Japan stays by far the third market in the world but drops 8% to 2.7 million units, while Brazil passes Germany to become the 4th biggest car market in the world, up 5% to a record 1,707,814 units vs. 1,502,630 (-8%) for Germany. Then we have an interesting shake up: even though it is down 6% year-on-year, Russia is up one spot to #6 with 1,333,314 units, while astoundingly the UK delivers the best ranking progression in the Top 10 and 2nd best percentage increase after China: up 2 ranks and 10% year-on-year to #7 at 1,296,800 units! Reversely, India is down 2 spots and 9% to #8 and France is down one and 11% to #9.

Bangkok-Thailand-2012The Thai new car market is up 29% year-on-year so far in 2013.

Outside the Top 10, Thailand and South Korea both leapfrog Italy to rank #11 and #12 respectively, with Thailand delivering the biggest percentage gain in the Top 20 at +29% to a record 758,507 units. 3 additional Top 20 countries hit record sales figures over the period. Indonesia is up 2 ranks and 12% to #14 with 601,952 registrations, Australia is up 5% to a best-ever 573,711 units, a very impressive achievement for a mature market that is already buying 25 new cars per thousand inhabitants – the highest rate in the Top 20, equal with the USA and Canada, and Argentina is up 8% to 498,620 but will struggle to hit one million annual sales for the first time in history as traditionally the 2nd half of the year is weaker there.

Saudi Arabia. Picture courtesy of Businessinsider.comSaudi Arabia is now one of the Top 20 biggest car markets in the world.

Mexico should be able to pass that milestone for the first time since 2008: with its half-year result just above 500,000 (501,987) and a second half generally strong, we are looking at around 1.08 million in the full year for this country. Lastly, notice Iran (-45%) dropping out of the Top 20, replaced by Saudi Arabia at #19 with an estimated 10% year-on-year growth.

Full 6 months 2013 Top 20 worldwide biggest car markets below.

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