2014 (Jan & Feb) International: Worldwide Car Sales

In February 2014, new vehicle registrations grew strongly in China, Japan, Brazil and Europe while car sales were weaker in the USA, Russia and India.

Bugatti Veyron Rembrandt at Geneva Auto Show 2014

February 2014 (very much as in January) saw strong increases in car sales in China, Japan, Europe and Brazil. Similarly, the US light vehicle market was relatively flat for a second month due to extreme winter weather while India and Russia saw a further contraction in car sales. New passenger vehicle registrations in China in February 2014 were up by more than a fifth. Car sales remained strong in Japan while the European market showed its sixth consecutive month of growth. The Russian and Indian car markets remain weak thus far in 2014.

Worldwide Car Sales in 2014 (January & February)

New passenger vehicle registrations in various regions of the world monitored by the VDA were as follows in February 2014:

Region  Jan & Feb 2014 % Change  February 2014 % Change  January 2014
Europe (EU+EFTA)  1’862’600 6.3  894’700 7.6  967’800
Russia*  359’100 -3.6  206’500 -2  152’700
USA*  2’197’100 -1.5  1’188’600 -0.1  1’008’600
Japan  924’100 24.1  490’500 18.8  433’600
Brazil*  546’200 5.1  246’100 10.5  300’100
India  437’600 -6.7  217’700 -3.9  219’800
China  2’912’400 15.2  1’202’000 22  1’710’400
Source: VDA  4’446’100  4’793’000

* USA, Brazil & Russia include light vehicles (trucks). % Change refers to same period a year previously.

Strong Car Sales in China and Japan in 2014 (January & February)

Thus far in 2014, China has easily remained both the world’s biggest single-country market as well as the fastest growing major car market. In February, new passenger vehicle registrations in China increased by 22%. The Chinese car market grew by 15% during the first two months of 2014 – an increase of nearly 400,000 vehicles compared to the first two months of 2013.

The Japanese car market also remained buoyant with car sales up by a quarter compared to the first two months of a year ago. Japanese car sales were up by nearly a third in January 2014 and nearly a fifth in February. Strong car sales are also expected for March before a sales tax increase in April will begin to put these spectacular monthly figures in true perspective.

In India, the car market contracted by 3.9% in February 2014 after a strong downturn in January (-9.3%). The Indian market is unlikely to recover with elections due in the next two months.

Car Sales Recovery in Europe in 2014 (January & February)

In February 2014, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA increased for the sixth consecutive month. New car sales in the EU & EFTA increased by 6.3% during January and February 2014. However, these were still the second weakest overall numbers for the start of a year in over a decade.

The 7.6% increased in car sales in Europe in February 2014 is largely attributed to the increased in car sales in the major markets: Germany (4.3%), the UK (3%), Italy (8.6%) and Spain (17.8%). France (-1.4%) was the only major European car market showing a contraction in February 2014.

The Russian market shrunk by 2% in February 2014, which was significantly less than the decline of nearly 6% in January. The Russian market is down 3.6% year-to-date.

Mixed Vehicle Sales in the Americas in 2014 (January & February)

Light vehicle sales (passenger cars and light trucks) in the USA were flat in February 2014. As in January (-3%) the weakness in the American market is largely attributed to extreme winter weather.

Year-to-date, the American light vehicle market is down 1.5% but it is expected to recover in coming months. Light trucks and SUV sales increased in February 2014 by 6% to 623,900 vehicles while car sales were down to 564,700.

Light vehicle sales in Brazil increased by 10.5% in February 2014. After flat numbers in January, year-to-date sales in Brazil are up by 5.1%.

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About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.