2013 (Q1) International Car Sales Worldwide

First quarter 2013 worldwide car sales show a mixed picture with strong growth in China and the USA but a decline in sales elsewhere.

Pininfarina Sergio at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show

March 2013 saw a decline in new passenger vehicle registrations in most parts of the world. New car sales in China increased by a quarter to expand the Chinese light vehicle market to larger than the also growing US market. Sales in Europe, Japan and India were down during the first three months of 2013, while the Brazilian and Russian market showed weak growth. Car sales in March 2013 were weaker than for the quarter as a whole in all major regions of the world.

International Regional Car Sales in 2013 (Q1)

New passenger vehicle registrations during the first three months of 2013 according to the German Verband der Automobilindustrie ( VDA) were:

Region  Sales March 2013 % Change  Q1/2013 % Change
Europe (EU+EFTA)  1,346,900 -10.3  3,096,300 -9.7
Russia  244,000 -3.6  616,800 0.3
USA  1,447,700 3.4  3,675,100 6.3
Japan  570,700 -11  1,315,600 -9.2
Brazil  268,600 -5.4  788,500 2.1
India  257,000 -13  725,900 -11.7
China  1,390,600 20.2  3,919,500 25.4
Source: VDA

Worldwide Car Sales in 2013 (Q1)

Worldwide, the new passenger vehicle market seems to be contracting with weakness in all regions during March 2013. Even China’s expansion of the car market by a quarter during the first three months of 2013 saw “only” 20% growth in March compared to 28% in February and 59% in January 2013.

For all regions, growth in March 2013 was lower than for the quarter as a whole. Car sales in Japan, India, and the European Union continue to be weak. New passenger vehicle registrations in the EU were down for the eighteenth consecutive month in March 2013 with the British car market the only large market showing positive growth.

Growth in the American and Chinese Car Markets in 2013 (Q1)

The United States and China remain the two largest car markets in the world. Both showed growth during the first quarter of 2013 with the Chinese market continuing to grow rapidly.

The Chinese new vehicle market was the largest single national market in the world during the first quarter of 2013 with just fewer than four million car sales. However, the American automobile market was again the largest during March and February 2013. Growth in both markets slowed during March compared to the rapid expansion in February and January 2013.

Car sales in Russia and Brazil contracted in March but not sufficiently to turn overall figurers for the first quarter of 2013 negative.

German carmakers continue to do well worldwide. According to calculations by the VDA, German car manufacturers have a 22% share of the Chinese and 8.1% of the American car markets during the first quarter of 2013. Even in Europe, so-called premium and luxury manufacturers Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz outperformed the overall market. (I130425)