2023 (Half Year) International: Global Worldwide Car Sales

Half Year 2023: worldwide new car sales increased in all major global markets with growth particularly strong in Japan, Europe, and the USA.

Half Year 2023: worldwide new car sales increased in all major global markets with growth particularly strong in Japan, Europe, and the USA.
Volkswagen Taigun in India © Volkswagen AG

During the first semester of 2023, car sales increased in all major global markets but only China and India have thus far exceeded prepandemic sales levels. New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan expanded by a fifth while the European new car market grew 18%. Sales in the USA were up by 13% and increased by 10% in Brazil and India. China remained by far the largest single country new car market globally. The VDA predicts new car sales worldwide will increase by 6% to 75.7 million cars in full-year 2023.

Latest Worldwide Car Sales: 2023Q1, Half Year, Q3, Full Year; 2022 — Q1, Full Year; 2021 — Q1, Half Year, Full Year; 2020 — Full Year

Worldwide Car Sales in the Largest Country Markets in 2023 (First Half)

New passenger vehicle registrations in major global markets worldwide were as follows during the first semester of 2023 according to the VDA:

RegionJan-Jun 2023% Change
Europe**6,588,90017.6
USA*7,658,20012.9
Japan2,047,70019.5
Brazil*934,7009.6
India2,014,40010.0
China11,143,0009.2
*Light vehicles
**(EU+EFTA+UK)
Source: VDA

Worldwide car sales increased in all major country markets in the world during the first half of 2023. The growth followed low car sales and production numbers in 2022 due to component shortages, the influence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the last COVID lockdown measures in China. The result was full order books at the start of 2023 but the VDA expects that growth will slow down during the second half of 2023, as orders are being fulfilled and demand for new cars slow down.

The VDA increased its earlier prediction for car sales worldwide in full-year 2023 from 4% to 6% or 75.7 million cars.

Strong Growth in Car Sales in Europe in 2023 (Half Year)

Of the three largest new car markets worldwide , sales in Europe increased the fastest during the first half of 2023. New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe (EU, EFTA, UK) increased by 17.6% to 6,588,900 cars during the first semester of 2023. However, the total European new car market is still around 22% lower than in 2019.

For full-year 2023, the VDA predicts that the European new car market will grow by 9% to around 12.3 million vehicles. The prediction earlier in the year was a more modest 7% growth to 12 million cars.

China — Largest Car Market Worldwide in 2023 (First Half)

China remained by far the largest single-country vehicle market worldwide with car sales during the first half of 2023 increasing by 9.2% to 11,143,000 cars. Of the three largest global car markets, only China has thus far exceeded sales levels of 2019 but sales remain below the 11.5 million cars sold during the first half of 2018.

Car sales in China were strong during the second half of 2022 and the VDA therefore predicts that growth during the second half of 2023 will be slower with full-year sales of around 23.9 million cars (+3%).

USA — Higher Light Vehicle Sales in 2023 (First Semester)

In the USA, first semester 2023 light vehicle sales increased by 12.9% to 7,658,200 passenger cars and light duty vehicles (e.g. SUVs). Sales were around 9% lower as during the first half of 2019.

The VDA increased its predicted growth for the USA market for the full-year 2023 from +4% to +7% and a total sales volume of 14.7 million light vehicles.

Japan — Fastest Growing Major Car Market Worldwide in 2023 (Half Year)

Japan was the fastest-growing major new car market during the first half of 2023 but the 19.5% increase in sales was flattered by low numbers at the start of 2022. New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan totaled 2,047,000 cars — still around 10% lower than in 2019.

The VDA also increased its predicted growth for car sales in Japan in full-year 2023 from 9% to +13% or 3.9 million vehicles.

India — Strong Growth in Car Sales in 2023

The Indian new car market expanded by 10% in 2023 (first half) to 2,014,400 cars — only 33,000 fewer than were sold in Japan and 27% more than during the first half of 2019.

The VDA predicts that the Indian new car market will expand by 6% to 4 million vehicles in 2023 to end the year higher than Japan.

Brazil — Higher Car Sales in 2023 (First Half)

Although the Brazilian new light vehicle market expanded by 9.6% during the first half of 2023, sales of 934,700 were still a quarter lower than in 2019.

The VDA predicts 5% growth in the Brazilian market for 2023 to 2.1 million vehicles.

Latest Worldwide Car Sales: 2023Q1, Half Year, Q3, Full Year; 2022 — Q1, Full Year; 2021 — Q1, Half Year, Full Year; 2020 — Full Year