2015 (January to June) International: Worldwide Car Sales

Mercedes Maybach S600 Pullman
Mercedes Maybach S600 Pullman – © Daimler AG

June 2015: New passenger vehicle registrations increased in Europa and the USA but new car sales were down in Russia, Brazil, Japan, India and China. During the first half of 2015, China and the USA remained the largest single-country car markets but growth was the fastest in the European Union. Car markets expanded in the January to June 2015 six-month period in Europa, the USA, China and India but were weaker in Japan and very weak in both Brazil and Russia.

Worldwide Car Markets in 2015 (January to June)

New vehicle registrations in various major regions of the world monitored by the VDA were as follows during June and the first half of 2015:

Region June 2015 % Change Jan – Jun 2015 % Change
Europe (EU+EFTA) 1,413,900 14.8 7,415,000 8.2
Russia* 140,200 -29.7 782,100 -36.4
USA* 1,470,600 3.9 8,485,500 4.4
Japan 364,900 -3.8 2,251,800 -12.3
Brazil* 204,900 -18.4 1,272,000 -19.7
India 217,600 -0.5 1,359,500 5.3
China 1,420,400 -1.8 9,466,800 6.9
Source: VDA

Note: * US, Brazil and Russia include light vehicles (trucks)

Weaker Car Sales in China in June 2015

The Chinese new car market has shown some weakness in recent months but it was only in June 2015 that fewer cars were sold in a single month this year compared to the same month in 2014. New passenger vehicle registrations in China in June 2015 were 1.8% weaker than a year ago. For the first time in months, the Chinese car market was smaller than the US market in a single month.

However, due to strong sales during the first months of 2015, the Chinese new car market remained in positive territory for the first half of 2015. Although first half of 2015 growth of 6.9% was weaker than in Europe, the Chinese car market remained the largest in the world selling nearly a million more cars than in the US and over two million more than in the European Union.

Strong Car Sales in the European Union in June 2015

In the European Union (EU and EFTA), car sales continue to improve strongly with a nearly 15% increase in new passenger vehicle registrations in June 2015. For the first time in many months, the European car market in a single month was nearly as large as the Chinese market.

The volume and growth were particularly helped by strong growth in the five largest European markets in June 2015: Germany and Britain up 13%, France and Italy around 15% while the Spanish car market expanded by 23%. Car sales were only negative in the relatively small Irish and Finnish car markets. In many European countries, June 2015 also has two working days more than June 2014.

During the first six months of 2015, the European car market expanded by 8.2% to 7,415,000 cars. The European new car market thus grew faster than any of the other major regions of the world, although total volume is still somewhat off the US and Chinese numbers.

Steady Growth in the US Vehicle Market in 2015 (June)

In June 2015, the US light vehicle market continued to expand at a fairly leisurely pace of 3.9%. This allowed the US market to overtake the Chinese car market again with higher sales in a single month. Over the whole first half of 2015, growth and volume have been stronger in China.

Sales of light trucks in the USA in June 2015 expanded by 11% to 811,000 vehicles while car sales declined by 4% to 659,600 cars. It was a familiar story: during the first half of 2015, light truck sales in the USA increased by 10% to 4.6 million vehicles while car sales declined by 1% to 3.8 million cars.

Continued Weakness in the Japanese Car Market in 2015 (June)

Car sales in Japan continued to decline in June 2015 but the month was the strongest thus far this year. In June, the Japanese car market contracted by 3.8% to 364,000 cars.

During the first half of 2015, the Japanese car market shrunk by 12.3%. However, the outlook has improved after a very weak start to the year.

Mixed Car Sales in India in 2015 (June)

The Indian car market was marginally weaker in June 2015 with a contraction of half a percentage point to 217,600 cars. During the first six months of 2015, car sales in India improved by 5.3%.

However, even in its weakest growth month thus far in 2015, the Chinese car market was larger in June 2015 alone compared to the total first half of 2015 for India.

Continued Weakness in Brazil and Russia

The Brazilian new car market continued to contract strongly in June 2015. During the first half of 2015, the Brazilian light vehicle market shrunk by nearly a fifth.

Light vehicle sales in Russia declined by a further 30% in June 2015, however, this was actually the second strongest month in Russia thus far in 2015. During the first six months of 2015, the Russian car market shrunk by more than a third.