Worldwide sales of new vehicles rose 3.0 percent in 2000. Sales in the world's seven major regions reached 57.6 million, up from 55.9 million in 1999.
The Middle East, which commands only 2.9 percent of the world's sales, had the biggest percentage increase, up 19.9 percent. North America, which accounts for more than one-third of the world's sales, had the smallest increase, 3.6 percent.
The only regions to post declines were European. Sales in Western Europe fell 1.4 percent from 1999 levels, and sales in Central/Eastern Europe dropped 5.5 percent.
Most of the world's 10 largest automakers reported sales increases last year. The exceptions were General Motors, down 2.2 percent; and DaimlerChrysler, down 2.4 percent. Volkswagen surpassed DaimlerChrysler to reclaim its rank as the world's fourth largest seller of vehicles. DaimlerChrysler had surpassed VW to rank number four in 1999.
In addition, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA overtook Fiat S.p.A. to rank number six.