Press Releases

Worldwide passenger car sales stabilize after unprecedented collapse in first half-year

Berlin, 18 August 2020

Western Europe slightly down on 2019 – US and Japan have double-digit losses – China records third growth month

After an unprecedented collapse in the first six months of this year, the international automotive markets stabilized as the second half-year commenced. The Western European market (EU-14, EFTA and UK) shrank slightly in July. The US and Japan both recorded double-digit contraction, while India experienced a single digit drop in sales. The figures in Brazil once again showed a massive slump. By contrast, sales in China rose for the third consecutive month. The reasons for this include the purchases now being made that were put off during lockdown, and the government’s extensive measures to boost sales.

The number of new passenger car registrations in Western Europe fell in July to close to 1.2 million (-2 percent), with varying developments on the five largest national markets. Car sales added 11 percent in the United Kingdom, and also increased slightly in France (+4 percent) and Spain (+1 percent). However, the losses continued in Germany (-5 percent) and Italy (-11 percent). From January to July, a total of almost 5.8 million new vehicles were sold on the Western European market, which was 35 percent less than in the same period last year.

The US light vehicle market (passenger cars and light trucks) recorded a year-on-year loss of 12 percent last month and totaled 1.2 million new vehicles. Since the beginning of this year the market has lost 22 percent and is now just under 7.7 million vehicles. In the light truck segment, which accounts for three quarters of the overall market, sales were down by 17 percent. The passenger car segment lost more than 34 percent.

China’s passenger car market grew for the third month in succession. The last similar period of growth in the People’s Republic occurred in the second quarter of 2018. Sales in China came to 1.6 million vehicles, i.e. almost 9 percent higher than in July 2019. However, the year-to-date total continues to show a clear fall of 18 percent (9.3 million cars).

On the Indian passenger car market, 182,800 vehicles were sold in July (-4 percent). Sales since the beginning of the year have fallen by 43 percent to 993,800 vehicles.

The vehicle business in Japan contracted by 13 percent in July (on 330,800 passenger cars). Passenger car sales on the Japanese market since January now amount to nearly 2.2 million, which is 19 percent below last year’s level.

As the second half-year kicked off, the Brazilian light vehicle market was 30 percent down, on 163,400 units. In the first seven months of this year 928,700 vehicles were registered in Brazil – 37 percent less than in the same period last year.

  July 2020 Jan. - July 2020
  Units Change
20/19 in %
Units Change
20/19 in %
Western Europe (EU14+EFTA+UK) 1) 1,161,900 -2,2 5,756,200 -35,0
USA** 2) 1,227,100 -12,1 7,656,600 -21,9
Japan 3) 330,800 -12,8 2,156,800 -19.1
Brazil** 4) 163,400 -29,8 928,700 -37,4
India 5) 182,800 -3,9 993,800 -43,1
China 6) 1,630,000 8,5 9,343,000 -18,5

Source: 1) National Authorities  2) Wards Intelligence  3) JAMA  4) ANFAVEA  5) SIAM  6) CAAM
* without Malta
** Light Vehicles

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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