October 2018: Car sales increased strongly in Brazil, Japan and Russia, were slightly higher in the USA and India but much weaker in Europe and China.
January to October 2018: New passenger vehicle registrations in Brazil and Russia increased by more than 14% thus far this year, as the fastest growing major car markets in the world. Car sales in India remained firm throughout the year. In the European Union car sales increased moderately during 2018 but the chaos of the introduction of WLTP regulations weighed heavily on the market in September and October 2018. The US market remained flat but narrowly positive while weakness in the Chinese new car market led to a small decrease in car sales thus far in 2018. However, both the world’s largest two single country car markets remained near record levels. Car sales in Japan remained flat.
Worldwide Car Sales in 2018 (January to October)
New light vehicle registrations in various major regions of the worlds monitored by the VDA showed car sales as follows in October 2018 and the first ten months of 2018:
|Region||Oct 2018||% Change||1-10/2018||% Change|
Brazil – Car Sales Increase by a Quarter in October 2018
Brazil was by far the fastest growing major car market in the world in October 2018 when new light vehicle sales increased by 24.5% to 245,200 cars. This was the highest monthly sales volume in Brazil in three years.
As a result of the strong October sales, Brazil also took the lead away from Russia as the fastest growing large car market in the world. During the first ten months of 2018, the Brazilian new car market expanded by 14.4% to just over two million cars.
Japan – Strong Car Sales in October 2018
New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan increased by 12% in October 2018 – the strongest monthly growth in more than a year. As a result, new car sales in Japan are now only 0.2% lower than during the first ten months of 2017.
Japan was hit by several natural disasters in recent weeks, which often have a negative effect on the economy but necessitate the unplanned replacement of cars that were damaged by especially flooding.
Russia – Continued Strong Car Sales in October 2018
In October 2018, new light vehicle sales in Russia increased by 8.2% to 160,400 cars. This was the 20th consecutive month of expansion of the Russian new car market.
The strong performance in Brazil pushed Russia into “only” the second fastest large new car market in the world. Thus far in 2018, new light vehicle sales in Russia increased by 14.1% to nearly 1.5 million cars.
India – Continued Growth in the New Car Market in October 2018
After three months of contractions, the Indian new car market expanded again in October 2018 by a moderate 1.6%. The Indian new car market remained at record levels with the lower numbers during the previous months largely due to exceptionally high sales in 2017 when a tax regime change saw a sharp increase in sales.
Thus far in 2018, the Indian new car market expanded by 6.4% to 2,890,100 cars – only 36,000 fewer cars than the important German new passenger vehicle market.
USA – Strong SUV Sales in October 2018
In October 2018, the US new light vehicle market expanded by a moderate 0.2% to 1,352,00 vehicles. As before, the trend was towards trucks, which include SUVs, vans and CUVs, that took a 70% market share. Light truck sales in October 2018 in the US increased by 6% to 940,700 vehicles. As a German automobile industry trade body, the VDA was keen to point out that thus far in 2018, German SUV sales in the USA grew by 28% compared to the 8% growth registered by the broader market.
In contrast to SUVs, traditional passenger car sales in the USA contracted by 10% in October to only 411,300 cars.
Thus far in 2018, the US new light vehicle market expanded by a small 0.6% to just over 12 million vehicles.
Europe – Weak Car Sales in October 2018
October 2018 was another weak month for new passenger car registrations in the European Union and EFTA due to continued problems with the new WLTP regulations. Registrations were down 7.4% with growth registered only in three small European markets.
In Germany, new car sales in October 2018 were down by 7.4%, in France down 1.5%, in Britain down 3%, in Italy down 7.4% and in Spain down 6.6%.
Some carmakers seemed to cope significantly better with the changes than others. For example, Porsche sales were down 62%, Audi down 53%, Renault down 23% and Volkswagen down 15% while other saw an increase in registrations: BMW up 12%, Mercedes Benz up 8%, Citroen up 4% and Peugeot up 2%.
During the first ten months of 2018, new passenger vehicle registrations in the EU and EFTA increased by 1.4% to 13,424,400 cars. The outlook remains positive with car sales likely to increase with new cars increasingly complying with the new WLTP regulations.
China – Lower Car Sales in 2018
Car sales in China were lower in October 2018 for the fourth consecutive month. The 13% contraction to just over two million cars meant that the Chinese new car market over the first ten months of 2018 contracted by 0.6% to just less than 19 million cars.
The VDA expects the Chinese new car market to contract by around 1% over the full calendar year 2018 to 23.8 million cars, which of course would still be the largest single-country car market in the world and near record highs. The VDA blamed the trade spat with the USA for the pause in new car sales growth in China due to customer uncertainty about the final price of vehicles and possible changes in prices in future.
The VDA also pointed out that during the first three quarters of 2018, German carmakers increased sales in China by 6% with cars exported from Germany to China increasing by an even stronger 8%.