2016 (January to September) International: Worldwide Car Sales

Ferrari 488 GTB at Geneva 2016September 2016: New vehicle registrations increased sharply in China, India and Europe, were flat in the USA and Japan but weaker in Russia and Brazil. Car sales in China increased by a third while the Indian new car market expanded by a fifth. During the first three quarters of 2016, the Chinese car market grew by 18% while sales in India were up 9% and in Europe nearly 8%. The US vehicle market is flat and may end up weaker in 2016.

Worldwide Car Sales in 2016 (Q1-Q3)

Car sales in various major regions of the world monitored by the VDA were as follows during September and the first three quarters of 2016:

RegionSep 2016% ChangeJan – Sep 2016% Change
Europe (EU+EFTA)1,496,2007.311,607,3007.7

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

Continued Boom in the Chinese Car Market in September 2016

China remained the largest and fastest single country car market in the world during September 2016, as well as for the first nine months of the year. In September 2016, new passenger vehicle registrations in China increased by 31.6% to 2,219,800 cars – 2,600 more cars in one month alone than were sold in India during the first nine months of 2016.

During the first three quarters of 2016, the Chinese new car market expanded by 17.7% to 16,189,500 cars.

Germany luxury car brands continued to sell very well in China and worldwide.

Strong Car Sales in India in September 2016

The Indian new car market grew by a strong 20% during September 2016 to 278,400 cars – the highest monthly total thus far this year.

During the first nine months of 2016, the Indian new car market expanded by 9% to 2,217,200 cars – slightly less than were sold in China in September alone.

Strong Car Sales in Europe in 2016

In the European Union and EFTA, new passenger vehicle registrations in September 2016 grew by 7.3% to 1,496,200 cars – the highest September sales ever.

The European new car market grew during the first three quarters of 2016 by 7.7% to 11,607,000 cars. The Netherlands and Switzerland were the only European Union and EFTA countries with weaker sales thus far in 2016.

Weaker Vehicle Sales in the USA in September 2016

In September 2016, new light vehicle sales in the USA were slightly down for the second consecutive month in a row. Light vehicle sales contracted 0.7% to 1,427,800 vehicles. Once again, passenger car sales were down 7% to 554,200 cars while light truck (and SUV) sales were up 4% to 873,600 vehicles.

During the first nine months of 2016, the US light vehicle market expanded by only 0.4% to 13 million vehicles. In August 2016, the VDA predicted that the US market would contract by 2% to 17 million vehicles for the full 2016.

Weaker Car Sales in Japan in September 2016

After a positive August, the Japanese new passenger car market again contracted in September 2016. However, new passenger vehicle registrations in September 2016 were down only 0.7% to 396,900 cars.

During the first nine months of 2016, the Japanese new car market declined by 3.7% to 5,157,100 cars.

Weaker Vehicle Sales in Russia September 2016

Light vehicle sales in Russia contracted by 11% in September 2016 to 125,600 vehicles. However, this contraction was less severe than in recent months. During the first three quarters of 2016, the Russian new vehicle market shrunk by 14.1% to just more than a million vehicles.

Continued Collapse in the Brazilian Vehicle Market in 2016

The collapse in the Brazilian new vehicle market continued in September 2016 with light vehicle sales down another 20% to 155,100 vehicles. The Brazilian light vehicle market contracted by 22.5% during the first three quarters of 2015 to just 1,460,600 vehicles – more cars were sold in Europe during September 2016 alone.

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.