After a strong December, the US light vehicle market totalled 15.6 million units in 2023, up 13% on the previous year. General Motors was top the OEM by sales for the year, at 234k – just 8k ahead of Toyota. GlobalData’s 2024 US light vehicle market forecast is 16.1 million units, some 4% ahead of 2023.
There was a general sales rebound through 2023 as supply shortages caused by the chips crisis eased. The US market also benefitted from a stronger than expected economy.
The UK’s economy has been less buoyant, but the sales rebound caused by improved availability was also evident – especially in fleet sales. A 1.9 million new car market in the UK – with sales up almost 18% – is of course welcome for the industry, but demand from private buyers looks weak (they are also avoiding electric cars, which is a concern).
Ford’s Puma got the top sales spot for the year, but it certainly seems odd not to see Fiesta or Focus in the top ten. Another sign of the times: Tesla’s Model Y is quietly pulling in a lot of sales in the UK market (see data tables at the bottom of the article): UK new car market hits 1.9m in 2023
Talking of electric vehicles, BYD is a company that has been in the news this week.
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The annual sales numbers for BYD in recent years show a quite stunning rise in volume. Strong growth in China’s domestic market and well-received models at attractive price points have been key factors in the company’s growth over the past two years. In China, BYD and rival Tesla have been involved in a price war that has supported market and volume growth. BYD hit 3 million units in 2023 after 1.88 units in 2022.
BYD is also doing well in developing exports, too: Europe is next, with a European manufacturing strategy rapidly evolving, too (new plant in Hungary). It is little wonder that some European OEMs are concerned.
China is sure to be prominent in the global automotive sector’s news this year. Besides the established and rapidly growing Chinese OEMs, there are the relative newcomers to keep an eye on, too.
There are some question-marks on the market outlook in China, but the latest data from the market there has been pretty strong.
When it comes to BEVs, it is going to be interesting to see how supply chains develop. We published a thoughtful comment piece from an external supply chain expert on this subject: EV makers must secure mission-critical suppliers to scale successfully.
There were a couple of interesting company-coming-togethers this week. Hyundai–Kia and Samsung caught my eye. The two Korean giants are working together to break the boundaries between living spaces and mobility spaces: Hyundai, Samsung sign connected services partnership. In Japan, a group of major automotive OEMs are combining R&D work on System-on-Chip (SOC) semiconductors – emerging as a critical component tech for future advanced vehicle systems.
Also, this week, Valeo announced an interesting sounding digital twin partnership focussed on simulations as part of ADAS development work: Valeo and Applied Intuition Partner to provide digital twin tech for ADAS simulation.
When people think of Rivian, the first picture to pop in the head may well be a nicely styled all-electric pickup. There’s a bit more to what Rivian’s business is about though: Rivian CFO: Pilot EDV fleets to be rolled out post-Amazon deal.
Have a nice weekend (and year!).
Dave Leggett, Editor, Just Auto