2018 (January to November) International: Worldwide Car Sales

November 2018: Car sales increased in Brazil, Russia and Japan but vehicle sales were flat in the USA and India and much weaker in Europe and China.

January to November 2018: New passenger vehicle registrations in Brazil and Russia increased by 14% thus far this year. The Indian new car market also expanded by a solid 5.5%. Despite weak sales the past three months, car sales in the European Union remained narrowly positive in 2018 while growth was equally flat in the USA. In contrast, strong new passenger vehicle registrations in Japan in recent months turned the overall market positive. Very weak car sales in China in recent months pulled the market down by 2.4% over the first eleven months of 2018.

Worldwide Car Sales in 2018 (January to November)

New light passenger vehicle sales in various major regions of the world monitored by the VDA were as follows in November 2018 and the period January to November 2018:

RegionNov 2018% Change1-11/2018% Change
Europe (EU+EFTA)1,158,300-8.114,585,4000.6
*Light vehicles
Source: VDA

Brazil – Strong Light Vehicle Sales in November 2018 

Brazil was again the fastest growing major car market in the world in November 2018 when car sales increased by 12.2% to 221,800 cars. This followed on very strong sales in October 2018 when sales volumes reached the highest level in three years.

Thus far in 2018, Brazil was also the fastest growing market with sales up 14.1% to 2,249,900 cars.

Russia – Strong Car Sales in November 2018

In November 2018, the Russian new car market expanded for the 21st consecutive month when sales increased by 10% to 167,500 vehicles.

Year-to-date 2018, the Russian new light vehicle market grew by 13.7% to 1,624,400 cars.

Japan – Strong Car Sales in November 2018

In November 2018, the Japanese new car market expanded for the second consecutive month with sales up 7.4% to 357,300 cars.

Following these two months of strong sales in Japan, new passenger vehicle registrations turned positive for the first time in 2018 with sales up 0.4% to 4,071,500 cars thus far this year.

India – Weaker Car Sales in November 2018

In India, car sales were slightly weaker in November 2018 – down 3.4% to 266,000 cars. 

Thus far in 2018, the Indian new car market expanded by 5.5% to a record 3,156,100 cars – now only 30,000 cars smaller than the German new car market.

USA – Lower Car Sales in November 2018

New light vehicle sales in the USA were slightly lower in November 2018. As in previous months, light truck and SUV sales increased by 6% while traditional passenger car sales slumped by 14%. Truck sales took 71.2% market share.

During the period January to November 2018, the US new light vehicle market was flat with sales increasing by 0.3% to 15,586,600 vehicles – around a million more than were sold in Europe but 5.5 million smaller than China.

Europe – Weak Car Sales in November 2018

In November 2018, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA declined for the third consecutive month with sales down 8.1% to 1,158,300 cars. The effect of the WLTP continued. Poland (+2.1%) was the only significant European new car market in November 2018 with sale increases. All five largest markets contracted in November 2018: Germany (-10%), Britain (-3%), France (-5%), Italy (-6%) and Spain (-13%).

After the three months of contraction, car sales in Europe were flat over the course of 2018 with sales increasing by only 0.6% to 14,585,400 cars.

China – Strong Contraction in Car Sales in November 2018

The Chinese new car market contracted for the fifth consecutive month in November 2018. The strong 16% decline in car sales in China in November 2018 was the weakest performance and pulled the sales numbers for 2018 down by 2.4% to just over 21 million cars. However, China remained by far the largest new car market in the world.