The table below gives information about the number of cars made between 2003 and 2009 in Argentina, Australia and Thailand
The data provided compares how many vehicles were manufactured in three different countries in three separate years, starting in 2003. Interestingly, each of these countries experienced a different trend during the period under discussion.
In 2003, the start of the period, the country making the most cars was Thailand. The number produced subsequently shot up by around 450,000 after the first three years; however, following this, it dropped by roughly 200,000. Despite this fall, it retained its position as leading car manufacturer at the end of the period.
In contrast to Thailand, the quantity of vehicles made in Australia went down steadily throughout the whole period. By the end of the period, it had fallen by nearly 200,000. The only country to witness a continual increase was Argentina. There was a surge in the first three years, when the number more than doubled. Growth in the latter three years was significantly lower though. Nevertheless, despite being the lowest car manufacturing country in 2003, by 2009 it had overtaken Australia to finish in second place.
retained = kept
leading = number 1
a surge = a big and fast increase
Look at the parts underlined and highlighted in bold and note how the past perfect has been used. This is an easy tense to use, but one that will impress the IELTS examiner. If you write 'by xxxx' and have a time in the past, you can then use the past perfect to say that something had happened by that time.
For more examples, watch this video