2019 (January & February) International: Worldwide Car Sales

February 2019: Car sales were stronger in Brazil, flat in Europe, Japan and India, and weaker in the USA, Russia and China.

Bugatti La Voiture Noire at the Geneva Auto Show 2019

January & February 2019: new passenger car sales in major regions of the world were lower at the start of 2019. The Brazilian new car market continued to expand and the Japanese car market was flat. Car sales in Europe, Russia, the USA and India were weaker during the first two months of 2019. In China, the new car market contracted by 17% during January and February 2019.

Worldwide Car Sales in 2019 (January & February)

New car sales in various regions of the world as monitored by the VDA were as follows in January and February 2019:

RegionJan-Feb 2019% ChangeFeb 2019% ChangeJan 2019% Change
Europe (EU+EFTA)2,475,000-2.91,148,000-0.91,226,400-4.6
*Light vehicles
Source: VDA

Strong Car Sales in Brazil in 2019

Brazil was the only large car market to have experienced significant growth in passenger car sales at the start of 2019. New car sales increased by 8.7% in January 2019 and a huge 25% in February 2019. The Brazilian new car market expanded almost without interruption for the past two years but is still smaller than the record sales registered in 2013 and 2014.

Flat Car Sales in Japan in 2019

New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan were flat but positive during the first two months of 2019. New car sales in Japan increased by 0.9% in January but was 0.1% weaker in February for an increase of 0.3% for the first two months of 2019.

Flat Car Sales in India in 2019

New car sales in India contracted in February 2019 for the fourth consecutive month. However, the decline in car sales in India in February 2019 was a modest 1.1% after a 1.9% contraction in January 2019. Thus far in 2019, the Indian new car market is 1.5% smaller than a year ago.

Weaker Vehicle Sales in Russia in 2019

After expanding for nearly two years, new light vehicle sales in Russia were weaker in February 2019 after flat sales in January. During the first two months of 2019, the Russian new light vehicle market contracted by a moderate 1.8%.

Weaker Vehicle Sales in the USA in 2019

The US new light vehicle market contracted by 2% during the first two months of 2019. Vehicle sales were down 2.1% in January and down 2.4% in February.

The trend away from traditional passenger cars continued in the US: sales were down 11% while light trucks and SUV sales increased by 2%

Weaker Car Sales in Europe in 2019

New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe were sharply down in January 2019 (-4.6%) but only moderately so in February 2019 (-0.9%) for a 3% contraction during the first two months of 2019.

The European new car market was helped by some recovery in three of the largest car markets in February 2019: sales increased by 3% in Germany, 2% in France and 1% in Britain.

Lower Car Sales in China in 2019

New car sales in China were sharply down at the start of 2019 with new passenger vehicle registrations more than 17% lower in both January and February 2019.

Although China remained by far the largest single country market for cars in the world, nearly 675,000 fewer cars were sold here during the first two months of 2019 compared to a year ago.

Worldwide New Car Sales Statistics

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.