June 2020: new car sales in China increased but other global markets including the USA, Europe, Brazil, Japan, and Russia were weaker.
First Half Year 2020: car sales worldwide were much weaker with sharp contractions in all major global new car markets. During the first half of 2020, new passenger vehicle registration in Japan contracted by a fifth — the best performance of any major car market. In China, Russia and the USA, new light vehicle sales were down by nearly a quarter while sales in Brazil and Europe were down by nearly 40%. The VDA predicted a slight recovery in car sales during the second half of 2020 with a forecast of a 17% contraction to 66 million cars sold worldwide in global markets for the full calendar year 2020.
Worldwide Car Sales in 2020 (Half Year)
According to global car sales data released by the VDA for major international car markets, new car sales were as follows in June 2020 and first half 2020:
|Region||Jun 2020||% Change||1-6/2020||1-6/2019||% Change|
|*Light vehicles |
Global Car Sales Prediction Full-Year 2020 (June)
The Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA) — a major German automotive industry body — predicted that worldwide car sales for the full calendar year 2020 will contract by 17% to only 65.9 million cars. This compares to global car sales of 79.5 million in 2019.
The VDA forecasts that the contraction in car sales in 2020 will be particularly strong in Europe where a decline of 24% is predicted. In Germany, the VDA expects that new passenger vehicle registrations will contract by 23% in 2020 to only 2.8 million cars. German car production is likely to contract by 25% to only 3.5 million cars.
The VDA predicts that light vehicle sales in the USA will contract by 18% in 2020 while the Chinese market will be only 10% smaller in 2020.
Higher Car Sales in China in June 2020
In June 2020, for the second consecutive month, the new passenger car market in China expanded. Although the increase in car sales was a moderate 1.4%, it does point at a recovery in the market after the lockdowns and special measures that restricted the market earlier in the year.
During the first half of 2020, car sales in China were 22.5% down — of all major global markets, only the Japanese market performed better. The Chinese new car market in China during the first semester of 2020 was 2.2 million cars weaker than during the first half of 2019, which was 14% down on sales in 2018.
Japan — Strongest Global Car Market in 2020 (First Half)
New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan in June 2020 contracted by 22.6% — of the major global car markets, only China performed better.
However, year-to-date 2020, Japan is the best-performing large car market worldwide with sales down by only a fifth. The Coronavirus had a smaller effect in Japan thus far than in other major markets.
USA – Car Sales Down by a Quarter in 2020 (Half Year)
In the USA, new light vehicle sales were down 26.9% in June 2020 and 23.5% during the first six months of 2020. Light trucks (including SUVs) now have a three quarter share of the market and seemed more resilient with sales down by only 18% while traditional passenger car sales contracted by 36%.
The American new car market recovered faster than Europe but it remains uncertain whether the recovery could continue given the continued prevalence of the coronavirus in many American regions.
Russia — Car Sales Contracted by a Quarter in 2020 (First Half)
Sales of light vehicles in Russia contracted by 23.3% to 636,000 cars during the first six months of 2020.
Europe — Weak Car Sales in 2020 (First Semester)
The European new car market contracted sharply during the second quarter of 2020 with most markets completely closed for several weeks. During the first half of 2020, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU), EFTA and UK contracted by 39.5%. Car sales were lower in all countries with the major British, Italian, and Spanish new car market halved, the French market down 39%, and the German new car market 34.5% weaker than a year ago. The French market was bigger than the British market.