Press Releases

Varying trends on international passenger car markets in April

Berlin, 16 May 2017

Sales down in Europe, US and China. India and Japan enjoy double-digit growth. Russia now recovering.

Following a strong March result, the world’s passenger car markets showed varying trends in April. Europe, the US and China took a breather and Brazil was also still in reverse. Russia, on the other hand, continued its recovery.

In April the European automotive market eased off for the first time this year. The loss of 7 percent (1.2 million units) was mainly due to the fact that in Europe April usually has about three working days less than it had in 2016. Of the five major individual markets, only Spain expanded (+1 percent). New registrations showed single-digit falls in Italy (-5 percent), France (-6 percent) and Germany (-8 percent). In the United Kingdom, after the record result in March, sales were down by one fifth. Alongside the missing working days, the greatest effect on demand came from changes in the British motor vehicle tax. The European vehicle market includes not only the 28 EU Member States but also the EFTA countries Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Following the first four months of this year, the European passenger car market still shows a positive balance: almost all the individual markets have expanded since the beginning of the year. With more than 5.5 million new registrations, the market is currently up by 4 percent.

The US market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) contracted in April for the fourth month in succession. The sales volume shrank by 5 percent to 1.4 million new vehicles. However, in 2017 April had one trading day less than it had last year. The trend toward light trucks continued: while sales of classical passenger cars fell markedly (-12 percent), sales of pick-ups and other light trucks remained stable (±0 percent). Since January a total of 5.4 million vehicles have been sold – a reduction of 2 percent.

The Chinese passenger car market took a breather in April, easing off from the especially strong figures in April 2016. The sales volume came to around 1.7 million new cars – a year-on-year fall of 2 percent. Since January passenger car sales have risen by nearly 4 percent, with 7.4 million vehicles sold in total.

The volume of new registrations in Japan increased once again in April – by a whole 10 percent, to 297,300 units. This means that the market has now been growing for exactly six months. In the first four months of 2017, vehicle sales in Japan added 8 percent to over 1.6 million new cars.

India’s passenger car market picked up more speed last month. Its 15 percent rise was the strongest growth since September 2016. In all, 277,600 new cars were sold. Accumulated sales for this year now come to 1.1 million vehicles, which is also double-digit growth compared with the same period last year (+12 percent).

In April the Russian light vehicle market continued the uptick seen in March. Climbing by around 7 percent, sales reached 129,500 units. Growth during the period from January to April was 3 percent, with total sales now on 451,900 new vehicles.

In Brazil the light vehicle market was unable to build on the positive trend seen in April: the 152,600 new vehicles sold represented a year-on-year fall of 3 percent. So far this year the market volume has lost 2 percent and thus contracted to 613,200 units.

New Passenger Car Registrations/Sales

  April 2017 January - April 2017
  Units Change 17/16 in % Units Change 17/16 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)* 1.230.200 -6,8 5.487.700 4,5
  European Union (EU-28)* 1.191.000 -6,6 5.332.900 4,7
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1.123.700 -8,0 5.062.600 3,6
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 106.500 8,2 425.100 15,5
Russia** 129.500 6.9 451.900 2,6
USA** 1.417.400 -4,9 5.426.800 -2,4
Japan 297.300 10,4 1.637.800 8,3
Brazil** 152.600 -3,3 613.200 -1,6
India 277.600 14,7 1.080.800 12,0
China 1.666.100 -2,2 7.445.000 3,7

* 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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