2017 (January to December) International: Car Sales Worldwide

December 2017: car sales increased in Russia, Brazil and India but were weaker in China, Japan, Europe and the USA. In full year 2017, the USA was the only major car market with weaker car sales.

Lamborghini Huracan

In 2017, China was again the world’s largest car market followed by the USA and the European Union. The USA was the only major car market with weaker light vehicle sales in 2017. Russia was the fastest growing car market while car sales were also strong in Brazil, India and Japan. In December 2017, car sales were weaker in Europe and the USA, flat in China and Japan but stronger in Brazil, India and especially Russia.

Worldwide Car Sales in 2017 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations in major car markets around the world monitored by the VDA were as follows in December and full year 2017:

RegionDec 2017% ChangeJan-Dec 2017% Change
Europe (EU+EFTA)1,136,600-4.815,631,7003.3
*Light vehicles
Source: VDA

Worldwide Car Sales 2013 to 2017

Car sales in the major car markets of the world were as follows in recent years:

Europe (EU+EFTA)15,631,70015,131,70014,201,90013,006,50012,308,200
*Light vehicles
Source: VDA

Strong Car Sales in China in 2017

China remained by far the world’s largest single-country car market in 2017. Car sales in China increased by 2% to 24,171,400 cars – German luxury carmakers generally increased sales by higher margins.

In December 2017, new car sales in China were slightly weaker than in December 2016, which was an exceptionally good month for car sales.

USA – Weaker Car Sales in 2017

In 2017, the USA was the only major car market with weaker sales. However, the 1.9% contraction still kept the US market near historic high levels with just over 17 million vehicles sold.

In December 2017, the US car market contracted by 5.1% to 1,6 million vehicles. As in Europe, the US market was affected in December by Christmas holidays meaning at least one business day less than in 2016. Traditional saloon car sales contracted by 18% while light truck and SUV sales increased by 2%.

Europe – Stronger Car Sales in 2017

In 2017, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA countries increased by 3.3% to 15,631,700 cars. In the EU, sales of 15,137,700 were above 15 million for the first time since 2007.

In December 2017, new car sales in Europe contracted by 4.8% to 1,136,600 cars with the timing of the Christmas holidays limiting the number of sales days to a larger extend than in 2016.

Japan – Stronger Car Sales in 2017

In Japan, new passenger vehicle registrations in 2017 increased by 5.8% to 4,386,400 cars – the highest level in three years.

However, car sales in Japan have been weaker during the final quarter of the year and were also slightly weaker in December 2017.

India – Strong Car Sales in 2017

The Indian new car market expanded by 8.8% in 2017 tot 3,229,100 cars. The VDA recently predicted that the Indian new car market would surpass the German market during 2018.

In December 2017, car sales in India increased by 5.2% to 239,700 cars.

Brazil – Strong Recovery in Car Sales in 2017

The Brazilian new light vehicle market experienced a strong recovery in 2017 when sales increased by 9.4% to 2,176,000 vehicles. However, the growth came from a low base and sales were still significantly lower than the levela achieved in 2014 and 2013.

December 2017 was the twelfth consecutive month of car sales increased in Brazil. The Brazilian new car market grew by 3.1% to 205,300 vehicles.

Russia – Continued Strong Recovery in Car Sales in 2017

Russia was the fastest large car market in 2017 with sales expanding by 11.9% to 1,595,700 vehicles – near 2015 levels but still significantly lower than 2014 and 2013.

In December 2017, the Russian new car market expanded by 14% to 166,000 – the highest monthly total since December 2014. This was the tenth consecutive month of growth and the seventh consecutive month of double-digit expansion in Russian 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.