2019 (Q3) International: Worldwide Car Sales

Q1-Q3 2019: Brazil and Japan were the only major car markets to expand with car sales lower in the USA, Russia, China, Europe, and India.

January to September 2019: During the first three quarters of 2019, car sales were lower in all major car markets in the world with the exception of Brazil where sales increased by 8% and Japan where new passenger vehicle registrations increased by 2.2%. The Russian market contracted by around 2% while the US and European markets remained at relatively high levels despite a small contraction in sales. The Chinese new car market contracted by 12% (or two million cars) while the Indian market is down by a sharp 16%

Car Sales Worldwide in 2019 (Q-Q3)

New light and passenger vehicle registrations in various major markets in the world monitored by the VDA were as follows during the first nine months of 2019:

Region Q1-3/2019 Q1-3/2018 % Change
Europe (EU+EFTA) 12,115,900 12,304,700 -1.6
Russia* 1,271,400 1,297,400 -2.0
USA* 12,709,100 12,841,700 -1.1
Japan 3,441,200 3,367,300 2.2
Brazil* 1,940,200 1,783,000 8.8
India 2,177,500 2,605,800 -16.4
China 14,963,000 16,922,600 -11.6
*Light vehicles
Source: VDA

Continued Expansion of the Brazilian Car Market in 2019 (Q3)

Light vehicle registrations in Brazil increased by 8.8% during the first three quarters of 2019. Brazil remained the only major car market in the world with strong growth in sales, although the market is still significantly smaller than it was a few years ago.

Japan – Higher Car Sales in 2019 (Q3)

New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan were flat during the first half of 2019 but an increase in sales taxes in October 2019 brought many purchases forward resulting in a 2.2% increase for the first three quarters of 2019. Although Japan was after Brazil the only major car market with higher sales thus far in 2019, the outlook for the final quarter is decisively negative as the sharp increase during the third quarter was purely for tax reasons.

USA – Weaker Car Sales in 2019 (Q3)

Light vehicle sales in the USA contracted by 1.1% during the first nine months of 2019. Despite weaker sales, the US market remained close to record highs. As before, light truck sales increased at the expense of traditional passenger cars to increase market share to 73%

Russia – Weaker Car Sales in 2019 (Q3)

Light truck sales in Russia were 2% lower during the first three quarters of 2019 compared to the first nine months of 2018. However, this represents only a decrease of 25,000 cars.

Europe – Weak Car Sales in 2019

During the first three quarters of 2019, the European new car market contracted by 1.6%. However, the European new car market remains near record highs with the large German market expanding.

The full-year outlook for new passenger vehicle registrations in the EU and EFTA remains positive, as the final four months of 2018 were very weak due to the unpreparedness of many carmakers for new WLTP emission regulations introduced in September 2018.

India – Weak Car Sales in 2019

The sharp contraction in the Indian new car market continued into the third quarter with sales down by 16.4% thus far in 2019. The problems in the Indian new car market is partly due to a crisis in the financing of car purchases.

China – Weak Car Sales in 2019 (Q1-Q3)

China remained by far the largest single-country car market in the world despite sales contracting by 11.6% thus far this year, or around two million fewer cars sold than during the first nine months of 2018. The Chinese new car market was heavily influenced by uncertainty over import tariffs with the USA and general economic weakness. New car sales in China for the first nine months of a year is currently at its weakest since 2015.

Worldwide New Car Sales Statistics

  • 2019 – January, February, March (Q1), April, May, Half Year, Latest
  • 2018 – Full Year