September 2018: Car sales were higher in Russia and Brazil but weaker in Japan, India, the USA and China and much lower in Europe.
Q1 – Q3 / 2018: New passenger vehicle registrations in all major regions of the world, with the exception of Japan, increased during the first nine months of 2018 despite mostly weak performances in September 2018. In the two largest new car markets in the world – China and the USA – growth in light passenger vehicle sales thus far this year was very weak with sales in Europe not much stronger. However, all three of these markets remained at or near record highs. Russia and Brazil were again the fastest growing new car markets with sales up by double digits. Car sales were also stronger in India while Japan remained the only major new car market contracting thus far this year.
Worldwide Car Sales in 2018 (January to September)
New light passenger vehicle registrations in various major market of the world monitored by the VDA were as follows in September 2018 and the first three quarters of 2018:
|Region||Sep 2018||% Change||Q1-3/2018||% Change|
Russia – Stronger Car Sales in September 2018
In September 2018, Russia was again the fastest growing new car market in the world. Sales increased by 6.2% to 157,400 cars. September 2018 was the 19th consecutive months of expansion in the Russian new car market but the first month of growth being below 10% after 16 months of double-digit increases.
During the first three quarters of 2018, Russia was also the fastest expanding new car market in the world with 15% growth.
Brazil – Stronger Growth in Car Sales in September 2018
In September 2018, Brazil was the only other major new car market apart from Russia to record growth at the end of Q3/2018. Light vehicle sales increased by 6% to just over 200,000 units.
Year-to-date 2018, the Brazilian new car market grew by a strong 13% – only Russia grew faster.
Japan – Weaker Car Sales in September 2018
New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan contracted by 3.3% in September 2018 to just over 400,000 cars. Thus far in 2018, the Japanese new car market contracted by a modest 1.3%.
India – Weaker Car Sales in September 2018
The Indian new car market contracted for the third consecutive month in September 2018. However, the lower sales were largely due to exceptional high numbers recorded last year when a tax regime change encouraged purchases.
Thus far in 2018, the Indian new car market grew by a solid 7% – only Russia and Brazil grew faster.
USA – Weaker Light Vehicle Sales in September 2018
In the USA, new light vehicle sales contracted by 6% in September 2018 – partly due to one sales day fewer than a year ago. As before, the popularity of traditional passenger cars declined by 21% while SUV sales were up by 2%.
During the first three quarters of 2018, the US light vehicle market was flat with only a modest 0.3% increase in sales to 12,841,700 vehicles.
China – Weaker Car Sales in September 2018
Q3/2018: New car sales in China were weaker all three months of the third quarter of 2018. In September 2018, new car sales in China were down 12% – by far the weakest monthly performance in years. However, China remained by far the largest new car market in the world with sales of just over 2 million units.
Thus far in 2018, the Chinese new car market expanded by a modest 1.1% to just below 17 million units.
Europe – Car Sales Collapse in September 2018
As expected, in September 2018 new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA were sharply down. After a 30% expansion in August 2018, the European new car market contracted by nearly a quarter. The extreme movement in new car sales in Europe was largely due to the introduction of new emission and consumption test regulations (WLTP) from September that left several European carmakers unable to register new cars due to the lack of compliance testing.
The Volkswagen Group was particularly hard hit with the German new car market contracting by 31%. The Italian market was down by a quarter and the British down by a fifth, in what is traditionally one of the most important months of the year for UK car registrations.
During the first three quarters of 2018, new passenger vehicle registrations in the EU and EFTA expanded by 2.3% to 12,304,700 cars – the fastest growing of the three largest car markets. The European market is likely to stabilize in coming months as the WLTP compliance is finalized.