The pandemic hit the automotive industry hard. It's a line we've heard so many times this year. But now that production for most is in full swing again, perhaps it's time to ask this question: Which automakers are bouncing back?
Let's first take a look at the biggest Japanese automakers, namely Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Honda. For Toyota and Honda, it's good news because production is up for both, according to their September tally. For Toyota, worldwide production went up by 11.7 percent, and that result continues their streak of double-digit growth. As for Honda, they're up by 9.9 percent when it comes to vehicle production. But the good news doesn't stop there. When it comes to sales, Toyota's September total is up by 1.9 percent from last year, while Honda's year-on-year September result rose by 1.1 percent.
What about Nissan and Mitsubishi? For Nissan's September figures, production is down by 20 percent compared to September 2019. As for Mitsubishi, it's a whopping 40 percent. Nissan's September year-on-year sales are also down, this time, by 13.1 percent. Mitsubishi did not post their global sales for September, but domestic (Japan) sales and exports are lower than the same time last year. There is some good news, though, as both brands will introduce refreshed and all-new models within the next few years. That means there's a good chance their sales and production will steadily climb soon.
From Japan, let's jump to Germany and see how the biggest automakers there are doing. In this case, we're looking at the Volkswagen Group, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Volkswagen Group is Europe's biggest automaker, and they say they are back to profitability with sales climbing since reactivating production lines worldwide. According to them, their third-quarter 2020 sales are just 1.1 percent behind the 2019 third-quarter sales. That translates to over 2.6 million deliveries in the last three months alone.
On to BMW Group, global sales are up by 8.6 percent thanks to an expanded model range and strong sales in China. As for Mercedes-Benz, growth is steady, with a 3.9 percent increase year-on-year.
What about the Americans? For Ford, it's good news, and the switch to crossovers and SUVs from traditional sedans seems to have paid off for them. They report an upswing in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. It also seems that many can't stop buying Rangers and Everests because Ford Asia-Pacific recorded a year-on-year growth of 22 percent. As for General Motors, they have the all-new Suburban and Tahoe to thank because sales are up by the slimmest of margins.
But the biggest surprise has to be the South Koreans. For Hyundai, sales in their home market soared by double digits in the past couple of months. Year-on-year sales for September are up by a staggering 33.8 percent. Perhaps it's the launch of several new models in 2020 that's helped them rise above a tough year. Global sales are still down though, but just by 5.3 percent. Kia saw even more growth, with domestic sales rising by 21.9 percent and worldwide sales by 7.7 percent.
As a whole, the auto industry is slowly recovering from the pandemic. Yes, there are still some brands that need a big boost, but things are looking brighter for most. 2020's sales and production figures are not exactly comparable to last year given the lockdowns worldwide. But to see some markets matching 2019's numbers indicate more people are ready to go out and buy cars again. If anything, the latter part of 2020 is a good indicator for 2021, and the outlook seems good.