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A majority of the worldwide growth (5.1%) last month was generated in the US and in China, although two Western European markets, Spain and Germany, did finish the year strong. Even the Russian market, which has been in freefall in recent months, was able to manage a gain in December. In all, global new registrations came to almost 79 million units in 2014 (up 4.6%).
Sales in the Asia/Pacific region were up significantly once again in December (up 9.4%). That region posted the strongest growth last year (7.9%). Growth was driven primarily by the growth of the Chinese market (2014: up 12.8%).
Low-cost financing and end-of-year sales campaigns, as well as the low price of oil, boosted demand sharply in December in the NAFTA region as well. New registrations in this region were up a total of 5.8% from the year before in 2014.
Sales in Latin America were down by double digits once again (down 12.8% in December and 9.4% YTD). Sales in the region’s two largest markets, Argentina and especially Brazil were down sharply from the year before once again.
Sales in Western Europe were up by 3.0% in December, and by around 4.9% in 2014 as strong demand in Spain (incentives) and Germany more than made up for losses in France and the Netherlands. Russian sales were up in December (up 2.4%) thanks to a sales incentives program, as well as fears that prices will continue to rise. This gain mitigated the slump in Eastern Europe (down 0.6% in December, down 7.7% in 2014).
Global new registrations in 2015 will be up about 2.2% from 2014. This will mark yet another record high, although the rate of growth will go down.
The forecast for the NAFTA region has been raised, while the outlook for Russia has been cut by a significant amount.
New registrations in the NAFTA region are expected to climb once again, to around 19.7 million units (up 2.6%). Sales in the Latin American markets, on the other hand, will decrease to a total of about 5.3 million units (down 1.4%).
In Eastern Europe, sales will actually be down by double digits (down 12.9%), as the region’s key market, Russia, will continue to suffer from the effects of the Crimean crisis (flight of capital out of the country, sanctions), a weak currency and the low price of oil.