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India recently overtook Japan to take the third rank in the list of world's largest automotive markets. In an extremely volatile auto sector which is continuing to face challenges on multiple fronts, the big winners and the even bigger losers are both digging in heels to shift to a higher gear. Is it working or will it?
While China remains the world's largest automotive market by far, US has slipped a bit even if it managed to retain its No. 2 spot in 2022 in terms of volumes of all vehicles sold. Both countries have a mammoth lead over India in terms of vehicle units sold last year but India has registered the biggest growth. In 2022, 26 million vehicles were sold in China while 13.8 million were sold in the US. In India, around 4.36 million were sold, followed by 4.16 million in Japan - a five per cent year-on-year decline.
Almost every other country in the top-10 list saw vehicle sales fall in 2022 compared to respective figures in 2021. Germany is in fifth spot while Brazil has pipped the UK and France. South Korea and Canada complete the top-10 list. One of the biggest fall was suffered by Italy which has traditionally been a permanent part of the top-10 list. And the Russian invasion of Ukraine which led to many global manufacturers packing up and shipping out has meant sales fell by a sharp 59 per cent. Just 677,000 new vehicles were sold in the country, allowing the likes of Turkey, Thailand Australia and Mexico passing ahead.
On the flipside, markets in South-East Asia have been gaining momentum. The likes of Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand are fertile grounds for vehicle makers.
Expect the top-10 list to fluctuate in 2023 even if the top three are expected to hold on to the respective positions. Demand in markets like Japan are likely to remain muted this year while shortage in parts - although easing - is still likely to play havoc to manufacturers' plans in several markets.
(Note: The data above is based on preliminary sales numbers as compiled by Jato Dynamics)