2016 (January) International: Worldwide Car Sales

Lamborghini Centenario at Auto Salon Geneva 2016January 2016: Car sales increased in China, Europe and India but light vehicle sales were weaker in the USA, Japan, Russia and Brazil. New passenger vehicle registrations in China in January 2016 were almost the same total as car sales in Europe and the USA combined. Light vehicle sales in the USA were flat while the Russian and Brazilian car markets continue to weaken sharply.

Worldwide Car Sales in 2016 (January)

New light vehicle registrations in various major regions of the world monitored by the VDA were as follows in January 2016:

Region Janu 2016 % Change
Europe (EU+EFTA) 1,093,600 6.3
Russia* 81,800 -29.1
USA* 1,142,200 -0.4
Japan 329,000 -4.4
Brazil* 149,800 -38.7
India 232,000 0.6
China 2,165,300 12.0
Source: VDA

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

China – Largest and Fastest Growing Car Market

The Chinese new car market grew by 12% to 2,165,300 new passenger vehicle registrations in January 2016. This was the first time the Chinese car market exceeded two million units in a January month.

In January 2016, the Chinese new car market was not only the largest single-country market in the world but also nearly as large as the European Union and US markets combined.

Continued Growth in the European Car Market

Car sales in the European Union and EFTA countries increased for the 29th consecutive month in January 2016. Sales were up by 6% for 1,093,6000 new passenger vehicle registrations.

The largest markets all registered growth: Germany and Britain up by 3%, France up by 4% with Italy up 17% and Spain up 12%. Italy overtook France as the third largest European single-country car market in January 2016.

Flat Car Sales in the USA in January 2016

In the USA, new light vehicle sales were flat during January 2016 with 0.6% fewer registrations than a year ago. Car sales were down 8% to 471,800 passenger vehicle registrations while light truck and SUV sales were up 6% to 670,300 vehicles.

Lower Car Sales in Japan in January 2016

In Japan, new passenger vehicle registrations were down 4.4% to 329,000 cars. The market is somewhat skewed by the influence of a tax change on Kei-cars (mini cars) in April 2015. In this category, sales in January 2016 were down 13% to 119,000 cars compared to strong sales in 2015 in anticipation of tax increases.

Stronger Car Sales in India

In India, new car sales were flat but positive with an increased of only 0.6% in January 2016 to 232,000 cars.

Continued Weakening in Russia and Brazil

In January 2016, the Russian light vehicle market shrank another 29% to 81,800 cars – almost half of the January 2014 figure.

In Brazil, the new light vehicle market contracted in January 2016 by nearly 40% to just below 150,000 cars – less than half the January 2014 figure.