October 2020: Worldwide car sales increased with higher sales in major global markets including China, the USA, Japan, and India. New passenger vehicle registrations were lower in Europe and Brazil.
January to October 2020: thus far in 2020, despite stronger sales in October, all major global car markets were weaker with car sales lower worldwide. China, which had several growth months in succession, performed best with sales down by only 10%. New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan were down by 15% thus far this year while the US market was down 17%. Car sales in India were down by a quarter, in Europe down 27%, and in Brazil down by nearly a third.
Global Worldwide Car Sales in 2020 (Jan to October)
According to global car sales data released by the VDA for major international car markets, new car sales were as follows in October 2020 and the first ten months of 2020:
|Region||Oct 2020||% Change||1-10/2020||% Change|
Strong Car Sales in Japan in October 2020
In October 2020, new passenger vehicle registrations in Japan increased by 31% to 339,900 cars. This increase of nearly a third was by far the best performance by any major global new car market. However, this increase was not a sudden boom in sales but rather a reflection on the very low car sales recorded in October 2019 following an increase in sales taxes.
Thus far in 2020, the Japanese new car market contracted by 15% — only China performed better.
Strong Car Sales in India in October 2020
Car sales in India increased by 14% in October 2020. The increase in sales was mostly attributed to discounts and special deals being offered in the run up to the Diwali festival of lights.
During the first ten months of 2020, the Indian new car market contracted by nearly a quarter.
Again Strong Car Sales in China in October 2020
In October 2020, China was again the world’s largest car market by far. Car sales in China increased by 9% — the fourth consecutive month of higher sales.
Although car sales contracted by 10% thus far in 2020, China remained by far the largest car market with sales of over 15 million vehicles.
USA: Flat Light Vehicle Sales in October 2020
Light vehicle sales in the US increased by 0.9% in October 2020 — given the state of the market in 2020, flat sales are considered good news. Despite two consecutive months of increases, car sales during the first ten months contracted by 17%.
The trend away from traditional passenger cars in the US continued in October 2020. Light trucks (including SUVs) increased sales by 5% to take a 76% share of the US market, while passenger car sales were 10% weaker.
Europe: Weaker Car Sales in October 2020
New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe (EU, EFTA, and UK) contracted by 7.1% in October 2020. Of the five largest markets, Spain (-21%) had the weakest performance. In the other four largest markets, coronavirus measures were implemented only later during the months and sales were down 9% in France, 4% in Germany, 2% in the UK, and flat in Italy.
Thus far in 2020, the European new car market contracted by just more than a quarter. The outlook for the rest of 2020 is decisively negative although lower sales will give many carmakers an opportunity to avoid CO2 emission fines by increasing the share of low emission vehicles offered in the market.
Brazil — Weak Vehicle Sales in 2020
Brazil remained the worst-performing major new car market in the world in 2020 with light vehicle sales down 15% in October 2020. Year-to-date, the Brazilian new car market contracted by 31%.