The global light vehicle market is forecast by LMC Automotive to hit 83.5m units in 2013, around 3% ahead of last year's total.

However, the market picture varies considerably across the world's regions, with growth in North America and China more than compensating for weak demand elsewhere.

“The picture remains very positive in North America, with recovery still on track to take the US light vehicle market this year towards 16m,” said LMC analyst Pete Kelly. “And China's car market is continuing to grow   quite strongly this year and has enough momentum to achieve double-digit growth and a market in excess of 21m units.”

Elsewhere around the world, problems persist in Europe and some emerging markets are also looking less buoyant as global markets have reacted to the possibility of higher interest rates in the US.

“Western Europe looks like it has bottomed, but will be around 3% down for the calendar year,” says Kelly. “But central and eastern Europe have cooled off a bit. Russia has turned down and demand has eased in Brazil and India, too.”

Kelly maintains that the global economy is seeing short-term issues that are negatively impacting emerging markets generally and India in particular.

"Investors are taking a negative view of India's growth prospects at the moment - with the economy set to slow to around 5% annual growth from over 7% - and there are undeniably structural issues for the Indian economy that need to be addressed - such as investment in infrastructure," he says.

"But the longer-term outlook for India's vehicle market is still very good as incomes rise. It's a question of how long this soft patch for the economy may last and how it impacts the automotive sector." 

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