Although the global vehicle market is in recovery in 2021, the month of May was a reminder of ongoing demand fragility, according to the latest analysis by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Calum MacRae, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Global light vehicle sales increased 36.2% in May versus last year, but in the recovery phase an eye on the underlying demand picture – shown by the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of sales (SAAR) – is far more important.”
Despite positive year-on-year gains, May was largely a disappointing month for sales. The SAAR for most regions – excluding North America – slipped back markedly in May demonstrating the fragility of the recovery in most markets. In Asia, the decline in SAAR was unsurprisingly most obvious in India as the country battled its 2nd wave of infections.
MacRae continues: “The perilous state of many economies, COVID-19 infection rates, the progression of new variants and the stringency of lockdown measures all affect light vehicle sales. In key West European markets, a direct correlation was apparent between lockdown stringency and sales in May.
“In general, May’s market finished below GlobalData’s expectations for the month.”
GlobalData’s West Europe forecast assumption centered around ‘markets that lost most, would gain most’ and that has been derailed by both the Alpha variant of COVID-19 and the initial slow vaccination rollout in mainland Europe. Since January’s forecast this has meant a 1.2 million units, or 8.1%, downward revision to GlobalData’s West Europe forecast.
MacRae concludes: “On the back of May’s sales, GlobalData’s forecast for the year has been downgraded to 85.5 million light vehicle sales, a 13% increase on 2020 but 4% lower than 2019’s total.
“The pandemic is far from over and neither is disruption to economies and markets.”