Global Auto Sales Continue to Strengthen in 2017
March 16, 2017—Global auto sales continued to improve in the first month of 2017, according to a recent report by international banker ScotiaBank. Global purchases advanced 3 percent above a year earlier, as volumes in developing markets (excluding China) began 2017 with the strongest gain in nearly four years.
The upward trend has occurred despite the fact many automakers reported lower sales in China due to an increase in the sales tax applicable on small vehicles with 1.6L or smaller engines.
In the U.S., car and light truck sales totaled an annualized 17.5 million units in February, in line with the prior month’s showing. Retail activity continues to improve, even as fleet volumes have weakened. Automakers will ramp up production to record highs in the second quarter, according to the ScotiaBank report. Rising vehicle assemblies are estimated to add an annualized 0.6 percentage points to economic growth in the April-June period, helping to improve overall U.S. growth to 2.3 percent in 2017, up from 1.6 percent in 2016.
During January, sales in developing countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America accelerated to 6 percent year-over-year, the best performance since May 2013.