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2016 (January to August) International: Worldwide Car Sales

by Henk Bekker

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August 2016: New passenger car sales in China, India, Europe and Japan increased while vehicle registrations were down in the US, Russia and Brazil. The Chinese new car market expanded by nearly 30% in August 2016 with year-to-date sales up 16% to 14 million cars. New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe and India were also up while Japan had a rare positive month. In the USA, light vehicle sales were slightly weaker while the decline in the Russian and Brazilian markets continued. The VDA predicts that worldwide car sales in 2016 will increase by 3% to 80.4 million cars.

McLaren 675 LT at Geneva 2016

Worldwide Car Sales in 2016 (January to August)

New light vehicle registrations in various major regions of the world were as follows according to car sales statistics analyzed by the VDA:

Region

August 2016

% Change

Jan – Aug 2016

% Change

Europe (EU+EFTA)

855,500

9.5

10,110,700

7.8

Russia*

113,700

-18.0

895,400

-14.9

USA*

1,505,900

-3.4

11,615,100

0.5

Japan

279,400

2.9

2,760,200

-4.1

Brazil*

178,300

-10.9

1,305,600

-22.8

India

258,700

16.7

1,938,700

7.5

China

1,750,700

29.7

13,928,400

15.8

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Note: *USA, Brazil and Russia include light vehicles (trucks). % Change refers to same period the previous year.

Continued Boom in Car Sales in China in 2016

In August 2016, the Chinese new car market was again the biggest and fastest growing in the world. Sales were up by nearly 30% to 1,750,700 cars – more than double the size of the European Union market, which traditionally has very low sales in August.

During the first eight months of 2016 the Chinese car market expanded by 15.8% – more than double the growth rate in Europe or Indian – to nearly 14 million cars. The growth is above expectations and the VDA increased its prediction of growth for the full year from 8% to a still fairly conservative 10% or 22 million cars.

Strong Growth in European Car Sales in 2016

New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA countries increased in August 2016 by 9.5% to 855,500. In July 2016, car sales in Europe were down 2.3% – after 34 consecutive months of growth – mainly due to fewer working days.

Car sales growth was strong in the five major European car markets in August 2016: sales increased in Italy by 20%, Spain by 15%, Germany by 8%, France by 7% and Britain by 3%. However, volumes are relatively low with August traditionally the weakest month of the year for car sales in Europe.

During the first eight months of 2016, the European new passenger vehicle market expanded by 7.8% to 10,110,700 cars.

Weaker Car Sales in the USA in August 2016

New light vehicle sales in the USA were down by 3.4% in August 2016 to 1,505,900 vehicles. The decline is largely blamed on the calendar – August 2015 had one sales weekend more.

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Year-to-date, light vehicle sales in the USA have been flat with a moderate increase of 0.5% to 11,615,100 vehicles. While truck and SUV sales have increased by 8% to 6.9 million units, cars sales in the USA have contracted in 2016 by 9% to 4.7 million cars.

The VDA is slightly pessimistic about the USA market in coming months and predicts a contraction of 2% to 17.1 million cars for the full year 2016.

Continued Growth in the Indian Car Market in August 2016

New car sales in India grew again strongly in August 2016 with the Indian market expanding by 16.7% to 258,700 cars.

Year-to-date, the Indian new car market has grown by 7.5% to nearly 2 million cars.

Stronger Car Sales in Japan in August 2016

In Japan, new passenger vehicle registration increased in August 2016 by 2.9% to 279,400 cars. This was only the second positive month this year.

During the first eight months of 2016, the Japanese new car market contracted by 4.1% to 2,760,200 cars.

Weaker Car Sales in Russia in August 2016

Light vehicle sales in Russia contracted by 18% in August 2016 to 113,700 vehicles. Thus far in 2016, the Russian vehicle market declined by nearly 15% to less than 900,000 vehicles.

Continued Weak Car Sales in Brazil in 2016

In Brazil, new light vehicle sales contracted by 11% to 178,300 during August 2016. However, there are some signs of improvement in the Brazilian economy with car sales in August contracting significantly less than the 22.8% decline recorded during the past eight months.

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