2017 (January to August) International: Worldwide Car Sales

August 2017: new car sales increased strongly in Russia, Brazil and India with registrations also up in Europa, Japan and China but negative in the USA.

Lexus LC500 at Geneva 2017

In August 2017, new passenger vehicle registrations increased by double-digit percentages in Brazil, Russia and India. New car sales growth was also up by around 5% in China, Japan and the European Union. The only major vehicle market in the world with weaker sales was again the USA where new light vehicle registrations contracted by a further 2%. Developments in new car sales for the first eight months of 2017 followed a similar trend with the USA the only market with weaker car sales thus far in 2017.

Car Sales Worldwide in 2017 (January to August)

New light passenger vehicle registrations in various major regions of the world monitored by the VDA were as follows in August 2017:

Region Aug 2017 % Change Jan-Aug 2017 % Change
Europe (EU+EFTA) 903,100 5.5 10,559,500 4.4
Russia* 132,700 16.7 980,900 9.6
USA* 1,475,000 -2.1 11,285,600 -2.8
Japan 290,800 4.1 2,994,700 8.5
Brazil* 210,100 17.9 1,382,300 5.9
India 294,300 13.8 2,124,200 9.6
China 1,844,900 5.0 14,432,900 3.3
*Light vehicles
Source: VDA

Brazil – Strong Car Sales in August 2017

In August 2017, new light vehicle registrations in Brazil increased for the fourth consecutive month with the 18% increase the strongest improvement thus far this year.

Thus far in 2017, the Brazilian new car market expanded by a solid 6% to 1,382,300 vehicles.

Russia – Strong Car Sales in August 2017

The recovery of the Russian car market continued in August 2017 with a 17% increase in new light vehicle sales. This was the sixth consecutive month of an improvement in car sales in Russia.

Year-to-date 2017, the Russian new light vehicle market expanded by nearly 10% to 980,900 vehicles.

India – Strong Car Sales in August 2017

In India, car sales continued to increase again in August when sales were up 14% to 294,300 cars.

Apart from an 11% contraction in June 2017 due to a tax regime change, the Indian car market has been expanding solidly in 2017 with a nearly 10% increase in sales thus far this year. The Indian and Russian markets are the fastest growing new car markets thus far in 2017.

Europe – Higher Car Sales in August 2017

New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU) and EFTA countries continued to increase with a 5.5% expansion in August 2017, although volumes were low, as is usual in August in Europe. With the exception of the UK (-6%) all the major European car markets expanded in August 2017: Italy (16%), Spain (13%), France (9%) and Germany (4%).

During the first eight months of 2017, the European new car market grew by 4.4% to 10,559,500 new passenger vehicle registrations.

China – Still the World’s Largest Car Market

In August 2017, China easily remained the world’s largest single country car market with new passenger vehicle registrations increasing by 5% to 1,844,900 cars. This was the third consecutive month of growth in the new car market in China.

During the first eight months of 2017, the Chinese new car market expanded by a more modest 3.3% to 14,432,900 cars – by far the largest car market in the world.

Japan – Continued Expansion in Car Sales in August 2017

New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan increased in August 2017 for the tenth consecutive month. Car sales were up 4.1% to 290,800 vehicles.

Year-to-date 2017, the Japanese new car market expanded by 8.5% to just below 3 million passenger vehicles – only the smaller Russian and Brazilian markets grew faster.

USA – Lower Car Sales in August 2017

New light vehicle sales in the USA were down 2.1% in August 2017 for the eighth consecutive month of weaker sales.

During the first eight months of 2017, the USA car market contracted by 2.8% to 11,285,600 vehicles – still the second largest car market in the world behind China. Traditional passenger car sales were down around 12% to 4.1 million cars while light truck and SUV sales contracted by a more moderate 3% to 7.2 million units.