New cars
European vehicle sales might be expected to be flat or down slightly over 2011, but a report by global automotive market intelligence firm Polk suggests that worldwide new vehicle sales this year are expected to rise 6.7%.

The firm believes that consumers will return to showrooms around the world in 2012, despite the current European sovereign debt crisis.

Of all the countries, China is expected to show the largest increase in new vehicle sales, with an anticipated 16% increase over 2011 figures.

This seems to be backed up by Audi releasing details that it sold 300,000 models in China alone last year, becoming its largest sales market.

Single digit growth is also expected in the U.S, this is mainly down to relatively strong sales in 2011, but the weak economy is expected to continue to have an impact on new vehicle demand throughout 2012.

Polk predict that the segment that will show the largest area of growth will be the luxury sector at 14%. With the market not expected to recover to pre-recession levels until 2012.

Commenting on the survey, Anthony Pratt, director of forecasting for the Americas at Polk said: "More affluent buyers are returning to the market for new vehicles, after three years of spending reductions.

The luxury segment also offers a wide variety of product options for consumers across all segments, ranging from small cars to SUVs."