2023 (Q1-Q3): new car sales increased worldwide in all major global vehicle markets with growth strongest in Mexico, Japan, and Europe.
Global car sales continued to increase during the first three quarters of 2023. All major car markets worldwide expanded during the first three quarters of 2023 but the growth was unevenly distributed. Growth was the fastest in Mexico, Japan, Europe, and the USA but China remained by far the largest single-country car market in the world. Car sales in India were 40% higher during the first nine months of 2023 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The Chinese and Mexican car markets recovered to higher sales than in 2019 too but sales in Japan, the USA, Europe, and Brazil were still significantly lower.
Worldwide Car Sales in the Largest Country Markets in 2023 (Q1-Q3)
New passenger vehicle registrations in major global markets worldwide were as follows during the first nine months of 2023 according to the VDA:
|Region||Jan-Sep 2023||% Change|
Strong Car Sales in Europe in 2023 (Q3)
New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe (EU, UK, EFTA countries) increased by a strong 17% to 9,684,900 cars. Of the three largest global new car markets, Europe grew the fastest thus far in 2023 but in contrast to the larger American and Chinese markets, car sales in Europe remained well below pre-pandemic levels of 2019 (20%) — during the first three quarters of 2019, over 12 million cars were sold in Europe.
Thus far in 2023 (Q3), car sales increased in all European countries except Hungary and Norway. Growth was fast in the five largest markets with Italy (+20.5%), the UK (+20.2%), Spain (+18.5%), France (+15.9%), and Germany (+14.5%). However, there is uncertainty in the market with several manufacturers reducing production due to a decline in demand, especially as back orders following the semiconductor and other component shortages of recent years are now mostly filled. Also, the transition to battery-electric cars is struggling with consumers either unconvinced or unable to afford the high prices demanded.
China — Largest Car Market Worldwide in 2023 (Q3)
China remained by far the largest new car market in the world with sales increasing by 7.1% to almost 18 million vehicles during the first nine months of 2023. The Chinese new car market already exceeded pre-pandemic levels in 2022 with sales currently a fifth higher than in 2019, which was a relatively weak year for car sales in China.
In September 2023, nearly 2.5 million cars were sold in China — an increase in sales of 7% but the highest volume ever for September.
USA — Continued Growth in Car Sales in 2023
Light vehicle sales in the US, including SUVs, light trucks, and passenger cars, increased by 14% during the first three quarters of 2023 to 11.6 million vehicles. The US car market was still 9% weaker than in 2019. In September 2023, sales increased by 18% with further growth expected for the final quarter of 2023.
Mexico — Fastest Growing Large Global Car Market in 2023 (Q3)
In Mexico, light vehicle sales increased by just over a quarter during the first three quarters of 2023 — the fastest growth of any major new car market in the world. The Mexican new car market is 2% larger thus far this year compared to sales in 2019.
Japan — Strong Growth in Car Sales in 2023 (Q1-Q3)
New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan increased by a strong 17.7% thus far in 2023 with sales of just over three million cars. The Japanese new car market remains around 12% weaker than in 2019.
India — Weakening Growth in Car Sales
The Indian new car market expanded by 8.1% thus far in 2023 but growth was slower than in recent quarters. However, sales volume was again slightly higher than in Japan. The Indian new car market was 40% larger during the first three quarters of 2023 than in 2019.
Brazil — Continued Growth in Vehicle Sales
New light vehicle sales in Brazil increased by almost 10% to just over 1.5 million cars during the first nine months of 2023. However, the Brazilian new car market is still 21% smaller than in 2019.