That legacy auto industry is just fine, thank you ever so much

Source: LMC Automotive

Should you – what with all the talk of “peak car” and imminent disruption – be worried about the long-term health of the auto industry, then there’s a simple cure. All you need to take is a global view, and a look into LMC Automotive’s monthly global review.

One look at their chart shows you that neither Uber nor robot cars can convince global auto sales to head downwards. Even the carpocalypse of 2008/2009 could not throw the graph off its secular trend. Two years after the sky dropped, the global sales plot snapped right back into its steady growth pattern.

In September, global light vehicle sales, up 4.1% year-on-year, continued to grow at their steady clip. Growth drivers were a hurricane-ravaged America, and China, which just doesn’t want to roll over, despite all the predictions for the last two decades. Europe’s sales were down slightly in September.

A closer look at the regions shows why global automakers need to be truly global. As always, some markets go up, some go down. Sure, Americans bought 1.8% fewer cars year-to-date, but in other regions, there is a sudden run on car dealerships. Brazil/Argentina, given up for dead a few years ago, suddenly increase their car consumption at double digit rates. Russia (not evident in this table) also is coming back sharply. Remember the “demographic time bomb” that would destroy Japan’s auto sales? They don’t seem to have received the memo, and Japan’s car sales are up 7.5% year-to-date.

The huge tectonic shifts we hear about are nowhere to be seen on this chart. All we see is boring, long-term growth. For LMC’s full September release, click here.