North American auto industry in “high gear”: Scotiabank
Global car sales regained momentum in September 2015, a new report from Scotiabank said, climbing 3% above a year ago — the strongest performance since March.
According to Scotiabank’s latest Global Auto Report, the improvement was led by double-digit year-over-year advances in North America and Western Europe, as well as a rebound in China after three consecutive months of declining volumes. In contrast, Scotiabank said, activity continues to weaken in Brazil and Russia, undercut by deteriorating economic conditions. However, excluding Russia, vehicle sales in Central and Eastern Europe have gained momentum since the spring, and advanced 8% year-over-year in September alongside solid employment growth.
More recent data for North America indicate a further acceleration during October, Scotiabank said. “Purchases in the U.S. jumped 14% year-over-year last month to a higher-than-expected annual rate of 18.1 million units — the second consecutive month above 18 million units,” the report said. “The September/October results represent the best back-to-back monthly performance since early 2000, when the global economy was still in the midst of the ‘tech boom’”.
Crossover utility vehicles led the way, surging 32% above a year earlier and garnering a record 31% of the U.S. passenger vehicle market. In Canada, purchases climbed to an all-time high of 2.01 million units in October, up from an average of 1.88 million through September. Imported brands led the way, with crossover volumes surging 26% year-over-year. “This robust performance prompted us to increase our full-year Canadian sales forecast to 1.88 million units,” Scotiabank said.
North American auto industry exports are outpacing the increase in overall global automotive exports, the report also noted. “The industry is in a much stronger competitive position than during the previous decade when it consistently lagged its global peers,” it said. “As a result, auto sector employment across the entire NAFTA region has increased by 6% over the past year. Mexico is leading the way, but payroll growth has also exceeded 5% year-over-year in both Canada and the U.S. in recent months. In fact, the pace of job growth in the Canadian industry is the highest since the new millennium, with hiring buoyed by double-digit export gains.”