The chill in the global automotive world, acutely being felt at the Geneva motor show — Europe's showpiece motoring event — is likely to worsen this year with the International Organization of Motor Vehicle manufacturers (OICA) predicting a 3% growth this year. Sales had grown by 5% in 2012 as China, US and Japan combined to offset the declines in Europe.
What's worse is that India, touted as one of the fastest growing car markets for the last few years, is likely to join Europe in suffering a sales dip this year. In 2012, sales in India grew by 4.9%, a far cry from the near 30% growth rates in 2010. It was the sixth fastest growing country during the year, behind China, US, Japan, Brazil, Germany and South Korea.
"The long term demand for cars in India is expected to remain strong but there are short term concerns," said Patrick Blain, president, OICA. "It is clear that India does not need a car like the Nano and that is the message from the consumers. It needs something more than that but nothing exciting's on offer. It is more a question of lack of right products. Once it gets that, sales would zoom."
India's fall contrasts the rise in other developing markets. China is expected to grow at 7% to 20.7 million units this year while South Africa, Brazil and Russia are slated to grow by 10%, 4% and 5% respectively. The US is tipped to grow by 6% this year while Europe will endure another torrid year.
"Europe is slowing while the rest of the world is accelerating," Blain added. "Nobody is optimistic about a revival in Europe this year. It will definitely take more than a year, possibly over two and perhaps more than three."
(The writer is in Geneva on invitation from Skoda Auto)