2012 New Car Sales Break Records in the Middle East
In the past few weeks, my email box has been bombarded with press releases of how well the car brands have done in terms of new car sales in 2012 as compared to the previous year.
While the world is still coming to terms with the effects of the economic slaughter that the Americans injected into the global economy a few years back, Middle East seems to be dancing on a different tune all together.
Despite civil unrest in many countries in the Middle East, almost every carmaker worth its weight has reported sales growth in double digits. The question is not who has grown, but who has not grown sales?
The luxury car marquee Bentley logged a 44% increase in regional sales as against 22% increase in its global sales. The new Bentley Continental GT V8 contributed significantly to the sales increase in the region and accounted for as much as 20% of it sales. Globally, the carmaker delivered 8510 cars, inclusive of 815 cars delivered in the Middle East.
Jaguar and Land Rover regional office clocked strong sales performance in 2012 with Jaguar cars registering an increase of 27%. Sales of its Land Rover brand were up by 34% in 2012. Jaguar XF and Land Rover LR2 were star performers in the region. The announcement echoes Jaguar Land Rover’s recently announced global retail sales growth of 30% in 2012, the best global sales performance in the company’s history.
The story is not just limited to premium car brands. New car sales of the industry giant Toyota grew by 23% globally. Talking numbers, the Japanese carmaker sold 8.72 million units in 2012. In the Middle East, sales of Toyota stood at 660,285 units commanding an impressive 43% share of the GCC new car market. The regional year on year sales increase stood at 31%. With the new Toyota 86, RAV4 and soon to be launched Avalon, the onslaught continues in 2013 as well. An impressive achievement for Toyota was crossing the sales mark of 1 million units of its hybrid cars on the global canvas. We see other brands going green (envy).
Volkswagen, the people’s carmaker, announced that 2012 was its most successful year to date in terms of regional sales that increased by 22% in 2012. The German brand delivered over 13,000 vehicles to customers across 12 Middle East markets. In 2012, Volkswagen’s Jetta was the highest selling model followed closely by the Tiguan and Touareg. Also bolstering figures were the new Passat and Polo Sedan, which arrived in 2012 and contributed to Volkswagen’s strong sales growth. Recently launched 2013 VW Golf continues the product onslaught in the region. Looking at the larger picture, the Volkswagen Group delivered 9.07 million cars globally between January and December 2012; a year on year increase of 11.2%.
Another German, the premium carmaker Audi delivered 9155 vehicles to customers across the Middle East, of which 41% were sold in UAE. Talking numbers once again, Audi registered 16.4% year on year growth. This makes it the fastest growing German premium brand in the Middle East. The brand with the four rings launched several new models in 2012 including the new A4, A5, Q3 as well as the S models. As expected, the A6 and A8L were major contributors to its sales in the region.
With 21,134 BMW and MINI vehicles delivered across 13 countries in the Middle East, BMW Group reaffirmed its dominant position in the region. 2012 was the most successful year in its history in terms of regional sales that registered a 14% increase on 2011 figures. UAE remained its biggest market with 47% share of total regional sales.
The brand with the three pointed star declared 2012 as the best sales year on record, attributing the results to the resounding success of its two pronged ‘Year of the SUV’ and ‘Year of the AMG’ regional strategy. With 2012 regional sales up 16.7% on 2011, Mercedes-Benz smashed its existing best sales year record set in 2008 and closed the year with an astounding 15 consecutive months of double-digit growth. Its SUV sales increased by 38% on 2011 driven by the new M-Class and the seven-seater GL, while sales of its high performance AMG cars were up by an astronomical 80% on 2011.
Even Volvo Middle East hit record-breaking sales in 2012 with an increase of 40% on top of 23% growth in 2011. The Volvo XC60 followed by the Volvo S60 mainly drove its sales in 2012.
The French carmaker Renault achieved its record sales ever in the region with 12,092 vehicles sold in 2012, progressing by 27% compared to 2011. KSA lead the sales story for Renault with over 7,000 units sold in the Kingdom. Dubai, on the other hand, was the fastest growing market with 67% growth over 2011. The launch of the ‘shockingly affordable’ Renault Duster in may 2012 contributed significantly to the sharp rise in sales.
While most car brands are basking in the glory of their sales achievements for 2012, Renault’s alliance partner Nissan is in a bit of a soft spot. The carmakers financial year runs from April to March. Reports of its third quarter performance show that the Japanese auto giant has recorded a decline of 34.6% on its net income. Its operating profits are down by 47.4% compared to the same period last year and its global sales decreased by 3.8% compared to the previous year. Sad story in the third quarter for Nissan!
A bit of saving grace comes form the year’s overall performance till date where the brand recorded 6% increase in global sales for April – December 2012. Nissan remains bullish and confident of achieving its annual forecast for the full fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 though. In lack of any information on sales performance from its Middle East regional office, we are unable to bring this information to you.
Ford and Lincoln sales in the Middle East closed 2012 on a high note, breaking the 75,000 unit barrier – a 10 per cent year over year growth. Sales of Ford trucks and SUVs led the uptick with 67 per cent growth while passenger car sales went up by 38 per cent. Ford sales in UAE registered an impressive 55 per cent growth in 2012 over previous year.
Last but not the least in the sales tally report, Porsche lovers will be glad to know that the sales of Porsche vehicles in Africa and Middle East markets grew by 15% over 2011. At the close of the year a record 9,171 vehicles were delivered to customers across the region compared to 7,945 in 2011. The highlight of this record-breaking year was December with a total of 1,099 vehicles sold, the highest monthly deliveries of Porsche cars in the region in its history.
The popularity of the Cayenne continues to rise in the region with a 19 per cent year on year sales increase. It contributed more than 60 per cent of the overall sales figures for 2012.