August 2018: Car sales were sharply higher in Europe, strong in Russia, Brazil and Japan but flat in the USA and weaker in China and India.
January to August 2018: China remained the largest single car market in the world but car sales increased the most in Russia, Brazil and India. New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union were strong throughout the year while the US market remained mostly flat. The Japanese new car market was slightly weaker over the first eight months of 2018 but was markedly stronger in recent months.
Worldwide Car Sales in 2018 (January to August)
New passenger vehicle registrations in various major markets monitored by the VDA were as follows in August 2018 and the period January to August 2018:
|Region||Aug 2018||% Change||Jan-Aug 2018||% Change|
Europe – Record Car Sales in August 2018
In August 2018, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA countries were the highest for an August in 20 years. August is traditionally the weakest month of the year for car sales in Europe and August 2018 was the first time in two decades that August car sales exceeded a million vehicles.
The spike in new car registrations in Europe was largely due to manufacturers lowering prices on older models to sell cars without WLTP certification that is required from September 2018. Car sales are likely to be significantly lower in September and October due to consumers bringing purchases forward and manufacturers being unable to supply some models until certification has been completed.
The five largest car markets in Europa all experienced very strong growth in August 2018: Germany (+25%), France (+40%), Spain (+49%), UK (+23%), and Italy (+9%). The exceptionally strong performance in Spain had the Spanish market bigger than the British new car market for the month.
Year-to-date 2018, car sales in the EU and EFTA expanded by 6% to just over 11 million cars – weaker numbers are likely for the next couple of months but the overall new car market in Europe remains robust.
Brazil – Strong Car Sales in August 2018
The Brazilian new car market continued to increase strongly in August 2018 with sales up 14% to 239,600 cars.
Thus far in 2018, light vehicle sales in Brazil increased by 14.1% to 1,557,800 cars – only the Russian new car market expanded faster.
Russia – Strong Sales in August 2018
In August 2018, new light vehicle sales in Russia increased by 11% to 147,400 cars. This was the 18th consecutive month of expansion and the 16th consecutive month of double-digit growth.
The Russian new car market thus remained the fastest growing in the world with sales up 16% thus far in 2018.
Japan – Stronger Car Sales in August 2018
In August 2018, new passenger vehicle registrations in Japan increase by 4% to 302,300 cars – the second consecutive month of growth and only the third month thus far this year with stronger sales.
During the first eight months of 2018, the Japanese new car market contracted by 1.1% to just less than three million cars.
USA – Flat Car Sales in August 2018
The US new light vehicle market remained flat in August 2018 with sales of 1,473,900 vehicles. As before, traditional passenger car sales continued to contract with SUV sales for the first time taking 70% of the new light vehicle market.
Thus far in 2018, light vehicle sales in the USA were down by 1.1% to 11,410,900 vehicles. Light truck and SUV sales increased by 9% to 7.8 million vehicles while traditional passenger car sales were down 13% to 3.6 million cars.
India – Weaker Car Sales in August 2018
Although the Indian new car market contracted by 2.5% to 273,200 vehicles, the overall market remained robust with further growth expected. The decrease in sales was largely due to the exceptional high numbers in 2017 when a change in tax rates led to high sales in July and August 2017.
Year-to-date 2018, the Indian new car market expanded by 8.8% to 2,313,200 cars – after two weaker months, the market is likely to grow again in September.
China – Weaker Car Sales in August 2018
The Chinese new car market contracted for the second consecutive month in August 2018 when sales were down 4.7%. However, the Chinese car market remained by far the largest in world with 1,758,000 sales.
During the first eight months of 2018, the Chinese new car market expanded by 3.2% to just less than 15 million vehicles – still around 3.5 million bigger than the US and European new car markets.