August 2020: car sales increased in China and India but worldwide sales were lower with markets sharply down in the US, Europe, Japan, and Brazil.
January to August 2020: Global car sales remained weak worldwide with contractions in all major markets. Although there are some signs of recovery, all the largest new car markets are weaker thus far this year. China remained the world’s largest car market and performed best with sales only 15% lower thus far in 2020. In Japan and the USA, car sales are around a fifth lower than during the first eight months of last year, while the Europea, Brazilian, and Indian markets are down by more than a third.
Worldwide Car Sales in August 2020
According to global car sales data released by the VDA for major international car markets, new car sales were as follows in August 2020 and the first eight months of 2020:
|Region||Aug 2020||% Change||1-8/2020||% Change|
|*Light vehicles |
India — Stronger Car Sales in August 2020
In August 2020, the Indian new car market expanded by 14.2% to 215,900 cars — the best performance of any major car market worldwide for the month. August was the first month of expansion of the Indian new car market in 2020.
However, the growth in car sales in India in August failed to compensate for sales lost earlier in the year. Year-to-date 2020, the Indian new car market contracted by 37.5% — the weakest performance of any major car market in the world.
China — Growth in the World’s Largest Car in August 2020
Car sales in China expanded for the fourth consecutive month in August 2020 when sales increased by 5.8% to 1,720,000 cars.
Thus far in 2020, the Chinese new car market contracted by 15.5%. The Chinese new car market thus was the best performing major new car market in the world and comfortably remained the largest single-country car market in the world with sales of just over 11 million cars.
Japan — Weaker Car Sales in August 2020
In Japan, new passenger vehicle registrations in August 2020 contracted by 14.8% to 270,300 cars. During the first eight months of 2020, the Japanese new car market shrunk by 18.6% to 2,427,100 vehicles — only the Chinese market performed stronger.
Europe — Weaker Car Sales in August 2020
In August 2020, the European new car market (including the EU, EFTA, and the UK) contracted by 17.6%. Although this was a slight disappointment after the market was only 4% down in July 2020, it should be born in mind that the European new car market was uncharacteristically strong in August 2019 in anticipation of the new WLTP regulations that came into effect in September 2019.
In August 2020, new car sales were down by a fifth in Germany and France, a tenth in Spain, 6% in the UK and flat in Italy.
Year-to-date 2020, new passenger vehicle registrations in Europe contracted by a third to 7,267,600 cars.
USA — Market Contracted Further in August 2020
In the USA, light vehicle sales (including cars, SUVs, and light trucks) were down by 19.1% in August 2020. This was only slightly better than the 21.5% contraction during the first eight months of the year. Thus far in 2020, the US market is around 2 million cars smaller than the Chinese new car market and around the same number bigger than the European market.
Brazil — Very Weak Car Market in 2020
In August 2020, the Brazilian car market contracted by a quarter to only 173,800 cars — the weakest performance of any major car market worldwide. Thus far this year, car sales in Brazil contracted by 35.8% to only 1.1 million vehicles — only the Indian market performed worse.