2015 (January) International: Worldwide Car Sales

January 2015: New passenger vehicle registrations increased in the USA, China, Europe, and India while new car sales were down in Japan, Brazil, and Russia.

January 2015: New passenger vehicle registrations increased in the USA, China, Europe, and India while new car sales were down in Japan, Brazil, and Russia.

 China was by far the largest single-country new car market in the world while the USA showed the most growth during January 2015. Car sales increased slightly in the European Union and India. However, new car sales were much weaker in Brazil, Japan, and Russia.

Worldwide Car Sales in 2015 (January)

New passenger vehicle registrations in various regions of the world monitored by the VDA were as follows in January 2015:

Region January 2015 % Change January 2014 Jan-Dec 2014
Europe (EU+EFTA) 1,028,800 6.2 967,800 13,006,500
Russia* 115,400 -24.4 152,700 2,491,400
USA* 1,145,900 13.7 1,008,600 16,435,300
Japan 344,000 -20.7 433,600 4,699,600
Brazil* 244,300 -18.6 300,100 3,333,400
India 230,600 3.2 219,800 2,570,500
China 1,934,700 13.1 1,710,400 18,368,900
Source: VDA        

Note: USA, Brazil, and Russia figures include cars and light trucks. EU figures exclude Malta.

Strong Car Sales in the USA in January 2015

New light-vehicle registrations in the USA increased by 13.7% during January 2015 compared to a year ago. The growth in car sales in the USA was partly due to January 2014 being a weak month due to extreme winter weather but economic strength and low fuel prices also contributed to making January 2015 the strongest first month of a calendar year for American car sales since 2001.

As usual, light truck sales in the USA were stronger than passenger car sales. Light truck sales increased by 19% to 631,700 new vehicle registrations. Passenger car sales increased by 8% to 514,200 cars.

In Brazil, the light vehicle market contracted by nearly a fifth. The Brazilian car market and the broader economy have been in decline since the second quarter of 2014.

Continued Car Sales Growth in China in January 2015

China remained the strongest single-country car market by far in January 2015. New passenger vehicle registrations increased in China by 13.1% to more than 1.9 million cars. Although the percentage increase was just less than the USA, the Chinese car market was nearly 800,000 cars bigger than the US during January 2015.

In Japan, car sales were down by a fifth – this was largely expected as the first three months of 2014 showed strong growth, as buyers rushed to market to avoid a sales tax increase on April 1, 2014.

In India, the market expanded slightly but the total Indian new car market remains relatively small given its population.

Stronger Car Sales in Europe in January 2015

The European car market continued to recover although at a far slower pace than in the US and China. Car sales in the European Union (EU) and EFTA increased by 6.2% – the 17th consecutive monthly increase.

Car sales were stronger in all of Europe’s five strongest car markets: Germany (3%), Britain (7%), France (6%), Italy (11%), and Spain (27%). Growth in Spain was helped by buying incentives while the strong growth in Italy was less predicted and mostly due to car buying by businesses.

In Russia, the light vehicle market contracted by nearly a quarter. This is due to a weakening currency and struggling economy, in part due to the fall in the export prices of natural gas and other petroleum-related products.

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.