July 2020: Car sales increased in China and although still lower in other major global markets some recovery was seen worldwide.
January to July 2020: new passenger vehicle registrations thus far this year were down around a fifth in China, Japan, and the USA, and weaker by more than a third in Europe, India, and Brazil. However, in July 2020, there were clear signs of some recovery in the major car markets in the world. In China, new car sales increased for the third consecutive month. In Europe, the USA, Japan, and India, new car sales were still weaker but the markets were noticeably stronger than during previous months. The Brazilian new car market remained very weak.
Worldwide Car Sales in July 2020
According to global car sales data released by the VDA for major international car markets, new car sales were as follows in July 2020 and the first seven months of 2020:
|Region||Jul 2020||% Change||1-7/2020||% Change|
|*Light vehicles |
**Western Europe (EU14+EFTA+UK)
Stronger Car Sales in China in July 2020
In July 2020, new car sales in China increased by 8.5% to 1,630,000 vehicles. This was the third consecutive month of car sales growth in China — the first time that car sales increased for three months in a row since early 2018. The world’s largest single-country new car market was helped by government incentives as well as pent-up demand.
Year-to-date 2020, the Chinese new car market contracted by 18.5% — the strongest performance by any major global car market.
Stable Car Sales in Europe in July 2020
New passenger vehicle registrations in Western Europe in July 2020 were only 2.2% weaker than a year ago — the best performance of the European new car market thus far this year. There seemed to have been some stabilization in the market but as July is traditionally a relatively weak month for car sales, it was somewhat disappointing that pent-up demand failed to push the market into positive territory.
In July 2020, new car sales in the UK increased by 11%, in France by 4%, and in Spain by 1%. The German new car market was 5% weaker, while sales were down 11% in Italy.
During the first seven months of 2020, new car sales in Europe were down by 35%. The general expectation is that sales will recover during the final months of the year but fail to make up for the loss in sales during the second quarter of the year.
Stable Car Sales in India in July 2020
In July 2020, new car sales in India were only 3.9% weaker than a year ago. Thus far in 2020, new car sales in India contracted by 43% to 993,800 cars — just over a tenth of the market size of neighboring China. More cars were sold in India during July 2020 than during the combined three months of the second quarter of 2020.
Weaker Car Sales in the USA in July 2020
In the USA, light vehicle sales in the USA contracted by 12.1% to 1,227,100 cars. Although sales were weak, the market was significantly stronger than in recent months. Thus far this year new light-vehicle sales in the US were down 21.9% to 7,656,600.
During the first seven months of 2020, trucks and SUVs took a nearly three-quarter share of the US new car market. SUV sales were 17% lower while the popularity of traditional passenger cars continued to wane with sales down by more than a third.
Lower Car Sales in Japan in July 2020
New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan contracted by 12.8% in July 2020 to 330,800 cars. The contraction was less severe than the numbers for the first seven months of 2020 during which the Japanese new car market shrunk by 19.1% to 2,156,800.
Very Weak Car Sales in Brazil in July 2020
Car sales were again very weak in Brazil in July 2020 with sales down by 30% to 163,400 cars. During the first seven months of 2020, the Brazilian new car market contracted by just over a third to just 928,700 vehicles — only the Indian market performed worse.