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World car sales should grow 3% this year

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Global sales of cars, buses, utility vehicles and trucks are expected to grow three percent this year, down from five percent in 2012, according to a forecast published Wednesday.

The growth forecast, presented by the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) at the Geneva Motor Show, is based on figures provided by the national car federations in three quarters of OICA member countries.

The world's leading car market China was meanwhile expected to see sales swell seven percent to 20.6 million vehicles.

And the world's second-largest car purchaser, the United States, was expected to post a six-percent increase to 15.7 million units, according to the forecast.

Japan however will likely see car sales slump 12 percent to 4.7 million due to a backlash following the economic stimulus programme following the 2011 tsunami, which led to a spike in car sales last year.

The German market was also expected to slip two percent to 3.3 million cars sold, Britain to see sales fall one percent to 2.3 million, while those in France were forecast to shrink a full five percent to 2.2 million units.

In 2012, global vehicle sales grew five percent year-on-year to 81.7 million units, according to OICA.

Production last year followed the same curve, with carmakers pumping out 84.1 million vehicles, up five percent from 2011.

"Europe is obviously slowing in term of volumes," head of the organisation Patrick Blain told reporters at the Geneva show.

Between 2011 and 2012, all the large regions of the world saw sales rise, except South and Central America and of course crisis-hit Europe, whose share of global sales dwindled from 20 to 18 percent.

"I don't think anybody is optimistic about Europe coming back with a positive evolution before a few years," Blain said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130306/world-car-sales-should-grow-3-year