May 2020: Car sales increased in China but worldwide deliveries were sharply down in all major markets including Brazil, Europe, Japan, and the USA.
In May 2020, most major car markets around the world contracted sharply with the exception of China where car sales increased for the first time in two years. In Brazil, new car sales were down by three quarters, while sales halved in Europe and Japan. Light vehicle sales in the USA were down by nearly a third. Year-to-date 2020, Japan is the best-performing market with sales down by only a fifth.
Worldwide Car Sales in May 2020
New car sales in various major car markets monitored by the VDA were as follows in May 2020 and year-to-date 2020:
|Region||May 2020||% Change||1-5/2020||% Change|
Stronger Car Sales in China in May 2020
Car sales in China increased by 6% in May 2020 for the first month of year-on-year car market expansion in nearly two years. May was the second consecutive month with car sales in China at over 1.5 million vehicles but year-to-date sales of just less than 6 million vehicles are 27.4% below sales achieved during the first five months of 2019, or just over 2 million fewer cars.
Weaker Car Sales in the USA in May 2020
In the USA, light vehicle sales contracted by 29.5% in May 2020 to 1,114,900 vehicles. Passenger car sales were down 44% while light vehicle sales (including SUVs) fell by 24%.
Although the US new car market contracted by 23% thus far in 2020, only the Japanese market performed better.
Japan — Weak Car Sales in May 2020
New passenger vehicle registrations in Japan contracted by 47% in May 2020 to only 174,400 cars. This was the lowest monthly sales volume in Japan for nine years.
During the first five months of 2020, the Japanese new car market contracted by nearly a fifth — the best performance of the top car markets in the world.
Europe — Car Sales Halved in May 2020
In Europe — European Union, EFTA, UK — new passenger vehicle registrations in May 2020 contracted by 57%. This was an improvement over the 75% contraction in sales in April 2020.
All countries in Europe registered double-digit contractions in car sales in May 2020 with the best-performing small markets down by around a third. In Germany, Italy, and France, new car sales were halved. The worst-performing market was Britain were sales collapsed by nearly 90%.
Thus far in 2020, new car sales in Europe are down 43% to just less than four million vehicles — over three million fewer cars than were sold during the first five months of 2019.
Brazil — Car Sales Collapsed in May 2020
In May 2020, for the second consecutive month, new car sales in Brazil were down by three quarters. Thus far in 2002, new car sales in Brazil contracted by 38.1%.