Rebound in global light vehicle sales is well under way

Since hitting a bottom in April, car sales have seen a V-shaped recovery as economies reopen following easing of lockdowns, resulting in major car makers scrambling to ramp up production and boost weak inventories at dealerships.
Since hitting a bottom in April, car sales have seen a V-shaped recovery as economies reopen following easing of lockdowns, resulting in major car makers scrambling to ramp up production and boost weak inventories at dealerships.
Image: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

Auto consultant LMC Automotive on Monday cut its estimate for a decline in full-year global light vehicle sales, citing a speedy recovery for the sector hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Global light vehicle sales are expected to fall about 16.7% to about 75 million units this year, improving from a prior estimate of a drop of about 19%, the company said in a recent report.

"Light vehicle sales were just over 90 million units in 2019, so the selling rate in July shows a market running at almost 97% of last year's total," it said. 

Since hitting a bottom in April, car sales have seen a V-shaped recovery as economies reopen following easing of lockdowns, resulting in major car makers scrambling to ramp up production and boost weak inventories at dealerships.

China has been among the strongest markets to recover, the auto consultant said, with the US seeing a tempered rebound amid a renewed surge in Covid-19 cases.

Western Europe produced a "normal" market level in July, while India and Brazil, though slow to recover, were now gaining traction, the firm said.

LMC remains concerned, however, about whether the pace of sales in July can be sustained through the rest of the year, as pent-up demand slows and government incentives expire.

"When job and business support schemes end, or are tapered, a renewed macroeconomic slump could emerge, damaging underlying vehicle demand," it said.


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