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2016 (Jan to Oct) International: Worldwide Car Sales

by Henk Bekker

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Quant Quantino at Geneva 2016

October 2016: New passenger vehicle registrations increased in China and India while car sales were down in Europe, Japan, the USA, Brazil and Russia. For the second consecutive month, the Chinese new car market exceeded two million cars with growth in October 2016 up by more than a fifth from a year ago. India was the only other major car market with new passenger vehicle registrations increasing in October 2016. In Europe and Japan, new car sales were flat while the Russian and US markets were slightly weaker. In Brazil, light vehicle sales continued to contract in October 2016.

Worldwide Car Sales in October 2016

New light vehicle registrations in various major car markets monitored by the VDA were as follows thus far in 2016:

Region

October 2016

% Change

Jan – Oct 2016

% Change

Europe (EU+EFTA)

1,140,700

-0.3

12,748,700

6.9

Russia*

126,700

-2.6

1,147,700

-13.3

USA*

1,364,300

-5.7

14,409,300

-0.2

Japan

314,700

-0.2

3,471,800

-3.4

Brazil*

155,000

-16.4

1,615,600

-22.0

India

280,700

4.5

2,497,800

8.4

China

2,298,300

22.2

18,487,700

18.2

*Light vehicles

Source: VDA

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Strong Car Sales in China in October 2016

In October 2016, car sales in China increased by 22% to 2,298,300 vehicles. New passenger vehicle registrations in China thus exceeded two million vehicles for the second consecutive month. Speculation that tax breaks for smaller engine cars may be cut soon is helping to bring purchases forward.

In October 2016, the Chinese new car market was just more than twice the size of the European Union and EFTA countries.

Year to date, the Chinese car market grew by 18.2% to 18,487,700 cars – over 4 million cars more than were sold in the USA thus far in 2016.

Further Growth in the Indian Car Market in October 2016

The Indian new car market was the only other major country with an increase in car sales during October 2016. New car sales in India increased by 4.5% to 280,700 vehicles in October. This increase was less than in recent months with the Indian car market expanding by 8.5% to just below 2.5 million vehicles sold thus far in 2016.

Weaker Car Sales in Europe in October 2016

In October 2016, car sales in the European Union (EU) and EFTA countries were down 0.3% to 1,140,700 cars. This slight contraction was largely blamed on many European countries having one sales day less in October 2016 than a year ago.

However, the European new car market is clearly less buoyant than a few months ago. While car sales in Italy grew by 10% in October 2016 and in Spain by 5%, the increase in Britain was only 1% while new vehicle registrations in France were down 4% and in Germany down 6%.

Year-to-date, the European car market has expanded by nearly 7% to 12,747,700 new passenger vehicle registrations.

Weaker Vehicle Sales in the USA in October 2016

New light vehicle sales in the USA were down by 5.7% in October 2016 to 1,364,300 vehicles. The contraction is partly blamed on two selling days less than a year ago but it was the third consecutive months with weaker sales in the USA.

Thus far in 2016, the US new light vehicle market has been flat with sales down 0.2% to 14,409,300 vehicles.

Car Sales Flat in Japan in October 2016

New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan were slightly weaker in October 2016 – a contraction of 0.2% to 314,700 cars. Thus far in 2016, the Japanese new car market has shrunk by 3.4% to 3,741,800 vehicles.

Slightly Weaker Car Sales in Russia in October 2016

In Russia, new light vehicle registrations were down 2.6% to 126,700 vehicles in October 2016. This was the best performance for the Russian market thus far in 2016. During the first ten months of 2016, the Russian light vehicle market contracted by 13.1% to 1,147,700 vehicles.

Continued Weakness in Brazilian Car Sales in October 2016

In October 2016, the Brazilian car market shrunk by another 16.4% to 155,000 vehicles. Although this was a slightly better performance than the average this year, there are hardly any signs of an improvement in the Brazilian vehicle market. Light vehicle sales in Brazil thus far in 2016 are down by more than a fifth to 1,615,600 vehicles.

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