The Scotiabank global economic research report said worldwide vehicle sales grew 3 per cent year over year in April – but down from a 5-per-cent growth rate in the first quarter.
The report says global auto sales will also continue to accelerate, but at a slower pace than in the first quarter due to ongoing market weakness in western Europe and a recent slowdown in Brazil.
A total of 1.45m new cars were sold in March in the European Union, 7pc down on the same month last year and the sixth successive monthly decline.
Canadian sales softened to an annualized 1.65 million units last month, from a first-quarter average of 1.71 million. Purchases increased in Western Canada by 3 per cent, compared with a 2 per cent decline in the rest of Canada.
Vehicle sales in China, the world’s largest auto market, rose in April but are down for the year amid tighter credit and slower economic growth.
The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Wednesday that April’s total sales rose 5 percent from a year earlier to 1.62 million vehicles. Sales for January-April, at 6.4 million vehicles, were down 1.3 percent.
In Brazil, auto sales fell 10.8 percent in April from the year before. Economists are doubtful Brazil can spend its way back to faster growth, and in a central bank survey this week cut their forecast for 2012 growth to below 3 percent for the first time.
However – U.S. new-car sales look set to rise almost 30% in May, the biggest gain in more than a year but helped by a favorable comparison to weak results a year ago, according to research firms Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com.
The expected sales of 1,378,000 vehicles in May would translate to an annual selling rate of 14.2 million vehicles, matching January for the lowest pace of the year, Kelley Blue Book said.