Containers of auto parts imported through U.S. ports in the first quarter of 2013 were up year-over-year for a 14thstraight quarter.
Although the rate inched up from 8.1 percent in fourth quarter 2012 to 8.3 percent in first quarter 2013, the rate of growth has formed an overall trend of deceleration, from a 46 percent increase in the second quarter of 2010 to single-digit increases the past two quarters.
Auto imports rose from 192,580 20-foot containers in the first quarter of 2012 to 208,550 TEUs in 2013, according to preliminary data from PIERS, a JOC sister company. It also rose 1.5 percent quarter-to-quarter.
In a recent podcast, JOC economist Mario Moreno said “motor vehicles sales are at 93 percent of their pre-recession peak of 2007, so there’s more room for growth, which is perfect for the inbound trade of auto parts because robust demand for motor vehicles prompts manufactures to order more parts, many of which come from abroad.”
Mainland China retained its top spot in the source countries rankings in the first quarter of 2013, accounting for 25.2 percent of the sourcing market, up 0.5 percentage points over first quarter 2012. Other top countries of origin for U.S. auto parts imports in the first quarter were Japan, with 22.6 percent, up 0.7 percentage point; South Korea, 15.7 percent, up 1.8 percentage points; and Germany, 10.9 percent, down 0.8 percentage point.
Auto parts imported from India and Brazil declined in the first quarter. Auto parts imports from India fell 15 percent to 3,708 TEUs, while those from Brazil dropped 19 percent to 3,391 TEUs. Both countries managed to hold on to their spots as the sixth and seventh top sources, respectively, for auto parts imports to the U.S.