April 2015: New passenger vehicle registrations increased in Europe, China, the USA and India but car sales were sharply weaker in Russia, Brazil and Japan. For a change, India with a car market expansion of 16% was the strongest major growth region in the world followed by Europe with a 7% increase in car sales. China remains the world’s largest new car market in April 2015 with growth continuing at a fairly low 5.5% while growth in the USA was only slightly weaker at 5%. New light vehicle registrations in Russia were sharply down at minus 42% while the Brazilian market contracted by a quarter and Japan was 10% weaker than a year ago.
Car Sales Worldwide in 2015 (Jan to April)
New light vehicle registrations in various major regions of the world in April 2015 according to car sales monitored by the VDA were as follows:
|Region||April 2015||% Change||Jan – Apr 2015||% Change|
Note: * US, Brazil and Russia include light vehicles (trucks)
Mixed Car Sales in China and Asia in April 2015
In China, the world’s largest single-country car market, new passenger vehicle registrations increased by nearly 6% in April 2015. Although the growth figure was relatively weak by recent Chinese standards, it still increased car sales for the first time ever in an April to above 1.5 million new registrations. Chinese new car sales year-to-date have increased by just less than 10% making China still the fastest expanding new car market in the world.
In India, car sales expanded by 15.8% in April 2015 – the fastest growth for the month in any major region. However, the Indian car market remained less than a seventh the size of neighboring China. Car sales in India increased by 7% during the first four months of 2015.
In stark contrast, car sales in Japan were again down in April 2015. The contraction of 10% was less than in recent months. The Japanese car market shrank by 15% during the first four months of 2015. However, the figures were skewed by the strong first quarter of 2014 when car buyers brought purchases forwards to avoid a sales tax increase on April 1, 2014. Car sales during the first four months of 2015 in Japan were only 17,000 less than during the same period in 2013.
Strong Car Sales Growth in Europe in April 2015
The expansion of the European car market continued in April 2015 with an increase of 7% in new passenger vehicle registrations – the strongest growth of the top three car markets in the world. Year-to-date, car sales in the European Union (EU) and EFTA increased by 8%.
In April 2015, car sales were again positive in all five of the largest single-country markets in Europa. In Italy, car sales were up by a quarter. In Spain, the large increases of recent months came to an end with the ending of government incentives. Car sales in Greece were up by 43% – in stark contrast to the general strength of the Greek economy.
The Russian light vehicle market continued its collapse. Car sales were down a further 42% in April for a 37% contraction thus far in 2015.
Positive Vehicle Sales in the USA in April 2015
In the USA, light vehicle registrations in April 2015 increased by 5%. Once again, the increase was largely due to the popularity of trucks and SUV – up 11% while passenger car sales were down by 1%.
After flat sales in March, the Brazilian new light vehicle market was again much weaker with sales down by a quarter in April 2015. Car sales in Brazil were down by nearly a quarter thus far in 2015 – only Russia suffered a stronger decline.