According to the latest data from TrendForce, car sales across 37 regional markets (as indicated in the notes under the table below) in August totaled 5.55 million vehicles, representing an increase of nearly 1% compared with July. This modest growth can be attributed to the upcoming launch of new vehicle models by automakers for the fall season. Some consumers were anticipating price reductions on existing models, while others were waiting for the release of new ones. Therefore, it is expected that car sales will be concentrated in the month of September.
The rankings of the top 10 car brands for August remained the same compared with July. The top three brands, in order, were Toyota, Volkswagen, and Honda. In August, the Japanese car market experienced a seasonal slowdown, leading to a drop in sales for most Japanese automakers. Compared with the previous month, Toyota posted a decline of 2.6%, whereas Honda posted a slight increase of 0.8%.
Chinese automaker BYD surpassed Ford to become the fourth-largest global car brand in terms of car sales for August. Despite the weakening demand in the domestic car market, BYD was not significantly affected as all of its offerings are new energy vehicles. BYD saw a 5% increase in car sales compared with July and was just 0.1 percentage point behind Honda in market share, which held the third position. Japanese automakers can still rely on demand from regional markets such as Southeast Asia to drive their vehicle sales. Therefore, accelerating the pace of overseas expansion is a key challenge for BYD if it seeks to surpass Honda on a global scale.
As for Ford, its performance in August showed a contraction in sales in Europe and the US. With a decline of 6.7% compared with the previous month, Ford dropped to sixth place.
While the launch of new vehicle models this fall is expected to boost new car sales, several factors continue to influence regional markets. These factors include the ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers in the US and Russia’s announcement on September 21st regarding restrictions on the exportation of gasoline and diesel. Russia’s actions could once again impact Europe’s energy supply and lead to a surge in oil prices. Such development could also disrupt governments’ efforts to ease inflation. If inflation heats up again, the consumer market might weaken further, and central banks could be compelled to raise interest rates once more.
China is currently stimulating domestic demand through various policies, but abnormal weather conditions in various parts of the country since the summer have affected local sales. In general, TrendForce believes that as the fourth quarter approaches, automakers will do their utmost to ensure smooth production, meet orders promptly, and spur sales during the year-end holiday season. They will strive to minimize the impact of the reduction in demand visibility caused by the latest economic turbulence.
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