2016 (January to April) International: Worldwide Car Sales

Mansory Luxury Cars at Geneva Auto Show 2016April 2016: Car sales increased strongly in India, Europe and China, moderately up in the USA and Japan while sales in Russia and Brazil were lower. India was the fastest growing major new passenger vehicle market in the world in April 2016 with registrations increasing by 11%. China remained the world’s largest new car market with sales up 8.4% in April 2016 with more than 7 million new cars registered in China thus far in 2016. Europe enjoyed its 32nd consecutive month of car sales growth while the Japanese had its first positive figures in 15 months. Market weakness continued in both Brazil and Russia.

Worldwide Car Sales in 2016 (January to April)

New passenger vehicle registrations in various major regions of the world monitored by the VDA were as follows during April 2016:

Region April 2016 % Change Jan-Apr 2016 % Change
Europe (EU+EFTA) 1,318,800 9.0 5,251,800 8.3
Russia* 121,300 -8.5 440,600 -14.7
USA* 1,497,200 3.4 5,559,400 3.2
Japan 269,300 2.2 1,512,800 -5.9
Brazil* 157,800 -25.6 623,300 -27.7
India 242,100 11.0 965,200 4.4
China 1,694,200 8.4 7,144,900 9.1

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

Strong Car Sales in India in April 2016

Of all the major car markets in the world, India grew the fastest in April 2016. New passenger vehicle registrations in India increased by 11% in April 2016 to 242,100 cars.

During the first four months of 2016, new car sales in India increased by 4.4% to just less than a million cars. The Indian new car market is helped by positive economic conditions. However, the Indian car market remained only a fraction of the size of neighboring China.

China – Still the Largest Car Market in the World in 2016

China remained the world’s largest car market both in April 2016 and over the first four months of 2016. The Chinese new car market continued to grow in April 2016 and expanded by 8.4% to nearly 1.7 million cars.

New passenger vehicle registrations in China increased by 9.1% during the first four months of 2016 to 7,144,9000 cars.

Europe – 32 Months of Car Sales Growth

In April 2016, the European Union and EFTA car market expanded for the 32nd consecutive month. New passenger vehicle registrations were up 9% in April 2016 for the highest sales numbers since 2008.

All European Union countries registered positive figures in April 2016 with Switzerland (-1%) the only EFTA member contracting. Car sales in April 2016 were helped by Easter being in March this year compared to April in 2015.

New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe during the first four months of 2016 increased by 8.3% to 5,251,800 cars. Once again the growth was spread throughout the continent with The Netherlands (-7.6%) and Switzerland (-0.6%) the only weaker markets.

USA – Further Expansion in Vehicle Sales in April 2016

In the USA, registrations of new light vehicles (cars, light trucks and SUVs) increased by 3.4% in April 2016. As in recent months, passenger car sales were down 6% to 609,000 cars while light trucks (including SUV) sales expanded by 11% to 887,300 vehicles.

Light vehicle sales in the USA increased by 3.2% during the first four months of 2016 to 5,559,400 vehicles.

Japan – Higher Car Sales in April 2016

The Japanese car market expanded for the first time in 15 months in April 2016. Car sales were up 2.2% to 269,300 vehicles in April 2016.

Year-to-date in 2016, car sales in Japan were down 5.9% to 1,512,800 new passenger vehicle registrations.

Russia – Continued Weakness in Car Sales

The car market in Russia continued to contract in April 2016 but the decline in April was less severe than during the first quarter of 2016. In Russia, light vehicle sales were down 8.5% in April 2016 while the contraction for the first four months of 2016 was near 15% to 440,600 vehicles – the lowest figures for more than a decade.

Brazil – Further Weakness in Car Sales

In Brazil, the new light vehicle market contracted by another quarter in 2016 to 157,800 vehicles. During the first four months of 2016, light vehicle sales in Brazil were down 27.7% to 623,300 vehicles.

Given the economic and political struggles in Brazil, the outlook for the rest of the year remains very negative with growing unemployment, inflation and higher interest rates having a direct negative influence on car sales.

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.