2014 (January to May) International: Worldwide Car Sales

In May 2014, new passenger vehicle registrations increased in China, the USA, Europe and India while car sales were down in Russia, Brazil and Japan.

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Car sales in the largest vehicle markets in the world mostly increased during May 2014. The USA was the largest new light vehicle market in the world in May 2014 although China remains the largest new car market overall thus far this year. Both China and the USA had double-digit growth in May 2014 but year to date the strongest performing markets have been China and Japan. New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased for the ninth consecutive month. The Russian, Brazilian and Japanese markets contracted in May 2014 but the Indian market was positive for the first time in eight months.

Worldwide Car Sales in 2014 (January to May)

New passenger and light vehicle registrations in the major car markets of the world as monitored by the VDAwere as follows during the first five months of 2014:

Region  Jan – May 2014  % Change  May 2014  % Change  April 2014
Europe (EU+EFTA)  5’619’300 6.6  1’333’700 4.3  1’129’800
Russia  1’030’500 -5.6  201’500 -12.2  226’500
USA  6’708’800 4.8  1’600’400 11.2  1’383’900
Japan  2’187’300 13.2  304’400 -1.3  292’800
Brazil  1’333’900 -5.2  278’400 -7.5  280’100
India  1’072’100 -5.7  208’000 2.8  188’500
China  7’408’700 14.6  1’458’200 16.4  1’478’900
Source: VDA  5’384’600  4’980’500

* USA, Brazil and Russia include light vehicles (trucks). % Change refers to same period the previous year.

USA Biggest Car Market in the World in May 2014

After a slow start to the year largely due to severe winter weather, the US vehicle market finally showed promise with May 2014 the strongest single month in nine years. In May 2014, new light vehicle registrations in the USA increased by 11.2% to 1,600,400 vehicles to overtake China as the largest car market in the world.

For a change, passenger vehicle registrations in the USA saw strong growth in May with the market expanding by 9% to 773,900 cars sold. Year-to-date, passenger car sales in the USA have been flat at 3.2 million cars.

Light truck sales grew in May 2014 by double-digit figures for the third consecutive month – up 13% to 826,500 trucks. During the first five months of 2014, light truck sales increased by 10% to 3.5 million vehicles.

In contrast to the strong growth in the USA, car sales in Brazil contracted a further 7.5% in May 2014 to 278,400 vehicles. Thus far in 2014, the Brazilian light vehicle market has shrunk by 5.2%.

Car Sales in Asia in May 2014

Car sales in China continued to grow strongly in May 2014 – up 16.4% to 1,458,200 new passenger vehicle registrations. During the first five months of 2014, new car sales growth of near 15% still makes China easily the world’s largest single-country car market at 7,408,7000 new passenger vehicle registrations. German carmakers continue to do very well in China taking a 23% market share – up 2% from a year ago.

During the first five months of 2014, the increase of 13% in new passenger vehicle registrations in Japan has been equally spectacular. An increase in sales tax in Japan in April saw car sales shrink by 5% in April but only 1.3% in May 2014 – a post tax-hike decline far smaller than was feared earlier in the year.

May 2014 was a positive month for car sales in India after eight months of declines. During the first five months of 2014, the Indian car market shrank by 5.7%.

Positive Growth in the European Car Markets in May 2014

Car sales in the European Union and EFTA expanded for the ninth consecutive month in May 2014. Car sales increased by 4.3% with year-to-date figures at 6.6%. In May 2014, car sales increased in the largest single country markets in Europe – Germany (5%) and the UK (8%). Sales were flat in France and declined by 4% in Italy. Some smaller markets showed spectacular growth – Rumania (+46%), Greece (+42%) and Portugal (+36%).

Car sales in Russia were again weak in May 2014 – down 12.2%. Thus far in 2014, the Russian car market has shrunk by 5.6%.

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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.