Press Releases

International automotive industry has good annual results for 2017

Berlin, 17 January 2018

Growth in Europe and China, slight contraction in US – Recovery in Brazil and Russia

Worldwide, the automotive business developed positively in 2017. The market expanded again in China. Vehicle sales in Europe (EU28+EFTA) reached their highest level since 2007. On the Japanese passenger car market far more vehicles were sold in 2017 than in the previous year. India also recorded a strong rise. The markets in Brazil and Russia returned good growth rates over the past year. Only in the US did sales ease off slightly, although they are still at a high level.

Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), said, “In sum, 2017 was a good automotive year. In 2018 we expect the global passenger car market to expand by 1 per cent to 86 million units.”

In Europe, a total of 15.6 million units were sold during 2017, which was around 3 percent more than in the previous year. December sales of passenger cars in Europe came to around 1.1 million units – a year-on-year fall of 5 percent. However, last month had fewer working days than December 2016. Among the large volume markets only Spain expanded (+6 percent), while the markets contracted in France (-1 percent), Germany (-1 percent) and Italy (-3 percent). Sales in the UK again slumped severely
(-14 percent).

Wissmann commented: “In Europe the economic situation is improving – including the passenger car markets. However, The UK cannot maintain the high level of recent years. Here there are obvious uncertainties because of the Brexit discussion.”

In the US, the light vehicle market (passenger cars and light trucks) increased over 2017 as a whole by almost 2 percent to 17.1 million new vehicles. In December 1.6 million vehicles were sold (-5 percent). Here sales of passenger cars fell by 18 percent, whereas sales in the light truck segment rose by 2 percent.

The market in China finished the year on 24.2 million passenger cars, i.e. 2 percent more than in 2016. Last month’s sales came to 2.6 million new cars and thus equaled the very high level from December 2016.

In India, the 2017 sales volume rose by 9 percent. In all, 3.2 million units were sold. In December the market was 5 percent up on the same month in 2016 (239,700 passenger cars).

The Japanese passenger car market recorded keen growth for the year as a whole. Sales of new cars rose by 6 percent to 4.4 million vehicles. Last month the automotive business sold 330,300 vehicles, just below the previous year’s level (-1 percent).

The market in Russia recovered in 2017, but at a low level. Over the year the market volume amounted to 1.6 million new vehicles sold – a year-on-year rise of 12 percent. December sales added 14 percent and reached the figure of 166,000 light vehicles.

The Brazilian light vehicle market climbed to 2.2 million units last year, 9 percent above the 2016 result. December brought an increase of 3 percent (205,300 vehicles) and was therefore the eighth month in succession with growth.

New Passenger Car Registrations/Sales

  December 2017 January - Dec. 2017
  Volume Change 17/16 in % Volume Change 17/16 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)*


-4,8 15.631.700 3,3
  European Union (EU-28)* 1.088.500 -4,9 15.137.700 3,4
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1.028.100 -5,3 14.323.100 2,5
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 108.400 0,0 1.308.600 12,8
Russia** 166.000 14,0 1.595.700 11,9
USA** 1.595.800 -5,1 17.134.700 -1,9
Japan 330.300 -0,8 4.386.400 5,8
Brazil** 205.300 3,1 2.176.000 9,4
India 239.700 5,2 3.229.100 8,8
China 2.601.300 -0,3 24.171.400 2,0
* 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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