March 2018: Car sales increased in the USA, China, India, Brazil and Russia but were weaker in Europe and Japan. During the first quarter of 2018, car sales were at record highs in Europe, the USA and China.
During the first quarter of 2018, car markets reached new record highs in the USA, Europe and China while car sales grew fastest in Russia, Brazil and India. Japan was the only major car market in the world with weaker car sales during the first three months of 2018. In March 2018, the USA new light vehicle market surprised with the best sales since 2001. In Europe, car sales were weaker after record sales in March 2017.
Worldwide Car Sales in 2018 (January to March)
New light vehicle registrations in various major regions of the world as monitored by the VDA were as following in March 2018 and year-to-date 2018:
|Region||Mar 2018||% Change||2018 (Q1)||% Change|
USA – Strong Car Sales in March 2018
The US new light vehicle market surprised with a strong increase in sales in March 2018 that led to the strongest first quarter since 2001. After weaker sales in January and February, March 2018 sales allowed the US light vehicle market to expand by 2.1% to 4,093,100 vehicles sold during the first three months of 2018.
New light vehicle sales in the USA in March increased by 6.4% to 1,647,300 vehicles. The trend away from traditional passenger cars continued: passenger car sales were down 9% while light trucks and SUV sales increased by 16%.
China – World’s Largest Country Market in 2018
China remained the world’s largest single country market in both March 2018 and the first quarter of 2018. In March 2018, the new car market in China grew by 5.1% to 2,124,100 cars. Thus far in 2018, the Chinese car market expanded by 3.7% to a new high of 5,994,100 cars.
Europe – Record Car Sales in 2018 (Q1)
New car sales in the European Union and EFTA contracted by 5.2% to 1,837,000 cars in March 2018. However, March 2017 was the best single month for car sales in Europe ever. Easter holidays somewhat influenced car sales in some European countries where the month had two working days fewer than in 2017.
Despite the weaker March sales, the first quarter of 2018 was the best start to the year on record for new car sales in Europe. New passenger vehicle registrations in the EU and EFTA increased by 0.6% during the first quarter of 2018 to 4,282,100 cars.
Japan – Weaker Car Sales in 2018 (Q1)
New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan contracted in March 2018 for the sixth consecutive month. New car sales in Japan were down 3.6% to 562,500 passenger car sales. Thus far in 2018, the Japanese new car market contracted by 2.7% to 1,303,900 cars.
India – Stronger Car Sales in March 2018
In India, new car sales increased in March 2018 by 6.4% to 300,700 cars. After exceeding the German car market in size during January and February, the Indian new car market was less than 20,000 cars smaller than in Germany during the first quarter of 2018. During the first quarter of 2018, the Indian new car market grew by 7.2% to 861,500 cars.
Brazil – Further Growth in Car Sales in March 2018
In Brazil, new light vehicle sales increased by 8.8% to 200,400 vehicles in March 2018 – the eleventh consecutive month of expansion. Thus far in 2018, the Brazilian new car market grew by 14.7% to 528,200 vehicles.
Russia – Continued Strong Growth in Car Sales in 2018
The Russian car market was again the fastest growing major car market in the world in March 2018 and the first quarter of 2018. In March 2018, new light vehicle sales in Russia increased by 13.9% to 157,300 cars – the tenth consecutive month of double-digit growth. The Russian new light vehicle market expanded for the previous 13 months.
During the first quarter of 2018, new light vehicle sales in Russia increased by 21.7% to 392,900 cars.