International automotive markets under pressure in first quarter

    Berlin, April 20, 2022

    Europe and USA down in double digits – China slightly above previous year's level

    In the first quarter of this year, most of the international automobile markets had to record significant declines. Furthermore, restrictions along the automotive value chains determine the supply situation on the automotive markets. The current situation is also aggravated by the war of aggression in Ukraine initiated by Russia. While the Chinese market recorded small growth after the first three months, sales in Europe (EU27, EFTA & UK) and in the USA both fell by double digits. Significant declines were also recorded in Japan and Brazil. India ended the first quarter just under the previous year's level. In Russia, after the start of the war, sales of new vehicles plummeted from the end of February.

    More than 2.8mn new vehicles were registered on the European passenger car market in the period from January to March, around 11% fewer than in the previous year. The five large individual European markets were all in the red: while the United Kingdom (–2%) and Germany (–5%) posted single-digit declines, the discounts were more clearly in Spain (–2%), France (–17%) and in Italy (–24%) more clearly. In March, 1.1mn brand-new cars were registered in Europe, almost 19% fewer than in the same month last year.

    In the US light vehicle market (passenger cars and light trucks), 16% fewer vehicles were sold in the first quarter than in the previous year. Sales of light trucks (–14%) developed somewhat less weakly than sales of passenger cars (–22%). In March, the market volume was 1.2mn light vehicles -- 22% less than in March of the previous year.

    Contrary to the international trend, the Chinese passenger car market grew slightly in the first three months of the year: 5.5mn new vehicles sold mean an increase of almost 9%. In March, however, sales fell by a good 1% to 1.8mn cars as a result of renewed corona lockdowns.

    In Japan, sales of brand-new passenger cars have fallen by a good 17% to a volume of 1.0mn vehicles in the year to date. In March, sales of 426,400 passenger cars were 16% below the previous year's level -- it was the ninth month in a row with a negative growth rate.

    The Russian light vehicle market collapsed in the first quarter: 277,300 vehicles sold mean a drop of 29% compared to the same period last year. Sales have fallen significantly, particularly since the Russian attack on Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions and uncertainties.

    Sales on the Indian passenger car market in the first three months of the year were slightly below the previous year's level (–1%). A total of 920,700 passenger cars were sold in India. In March, sales fell by 4% to 279,500 cars.

    375,500 vehicles were newly registered in the Brazilian light vehicle market (passenger cars and light duty) in the first quarter, almost 25% fewer than in the previous year. Last month, 135,400 light vehicles were delivered to customers, down 24% from March last year.

    In view of a large number of different influencing factors, the coming months also are likely to have an impact on the international automotive markets. In addition to bottlenecks in primary products and tense logistics and supply chains, these include possible new and additional corona lockdowns in China and the further course of the war in Ukraine. The outlook therefore remains subject to major uncertainties.

    März 2022 Januar–März 2022
    Anzahl Veränderung
    21/20 in %
    Anzahl Veränderung
    21/20 in %
    Europa (EU27,EFTA & UK)* 1)

    1.127.100

    -18,8 2.753.300 -10,6
      Europäische Union (EU27)* 1) 844.200 -20,5 2.246.000 -12,3
        Westeuropa (EU14,EFTA & UK) 1) 1.023.200 -19,6 2.479.400 -11,2
        Neue EU-Länder (EU13)* 1) 103.900 -10,2 273.800 -4,8
    USA** 2) 1.246.300 -22,0 3.281.200 -15,8
    China 3) 1.819.800 -1,2 5.455.400 8,6
    Japan 4) 426.400 -16,5 988.700 -17,4
    Russland** 5) - - 277.300 -29,0
    Indien 6) 279.500 -3,9 920.700 -1,4
    Brasilien** 7) 135.400 -23,7 375.500 -24,7

    Quellen: 1) ACEA 2) Wards Intellingence 3) 

    CAAM 4) JAMA 5) 

    AEB 6) SIAM 7) ANFAVEA

    * ohne Malta

    ** Light Vehicles

    Eva Siegfried
    Press Office

    Eva Siegfried

    Speaker with focus on economics