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TROY, Michigan (Reuters) - Global automakers must look beyond China, India, Russia and Brazil to other clusters of emerging countries if they want to get their share of growth worldwide, a consulting firm said on Tuesday.
The countries beyond the four large markets known collectively as the BRICs, a name derived from the first letters of each nation, will account for one-fifth of global new-vehicle sales by 2020, according to a report released by Boston Consulting Group.
Vehicle sales growth in the "Beyond BRIC" markets, which have more than 40 percent of the world's population, will run at 6 percent annually through 2020, the report said. That would be four times as fast as the rate in traditional established markets in North America, Europe and Japan.
For the BRICs, growth is projected at 10 percent in India, 6 percent in China, 5 percent in Brazil and 4 percent in Russia.
"When we look at the Beyond BRIC markets, it is obviously the last frontier for the automotive industry to grow," said Boston Consulting senior partner Nikolaus Lang, a co-author of the report. "There is no other region, I always say jokingly, except the moon."
Automakers should tailor their marketing to regional clusters, he added. "A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work."
Boston Consulting broke the most promising markets into four regional clusters: the ASEAN nations in Southeast Asia, the emerging Mideast, the Andean countries in South America and the North African belt.
Each regional cluster differs in size, trends and customer preferences, and few carmakers have managed to dominate any of them, Boston Consulting said.
None of the 88 auto markets studied can generate sales equal to those of any single BRIC country. For instance, the Beyond BRIC auto market collectively is not quite the size of China, the world's largest.
Indonesia will be the biggest Beyond BRIC market by 2020, with 1.7 million new-car sales, according to the report. It is part of the ASEAN cluster that also includes Malaysia and Thailand, and the group's projected annual sales of 4.6 million vehicles would rank it above Russia's 4.4 million.
The ASEAN cluster, described as the most developed and dynamic of the four regions in the report, is dominated by Japanese automakers, especially Toyota Motor Corp, and different customer preferences mean strategies should vary by country. For example, Indonesian buyers want higher ground clearance on their multipurpose vehicles because of the heavy flooding there, while affordable sedans are the focus in Malaysia, and pickup trucks in Thailand.
That kind of variety is found in each cluster.
The Mideast cluster includes Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey; the Andean nations include Argentina, Chile and Colombia; and the North African belt includes Algeria, Egypt and Morocco, according to the report.
The expected annual sales growth rates for the clusters through 2020 are 4.7 percent for Southeast Asia, 4.6 percent for the Mideast, 5.4 percent for the Andean region and 4.2 percent for North Africa, Boston Consulting said. All four will be benefiting from growing local economies and the larger middle class, Lang said.
Most of the clusters remain competitive markets, but any automaker that can dominate a region like Toyota does in Southeast Asia can generate huge profits, said Xavier Mosquet, global leader of Boston Consulting's automotive practice.
For the purposes of the study, Boston Consulting excluded South Korea, Mexico and South Africa, which it deemed mature and well-developed car markets, as well as the former Soviet Republics known as the Commonwealth of Independent States and sub-Saharan Africa, which it concluded were promising but fragmented.
Reporting by Ben Klayman in Troy, Michigan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn