Press Releases

European automotive market expands again in February

Berlin, 15 March 2018

China with two-month increase – US market contracts slightly – Brazil and Russia show double-digit growth

The international automotive markets showed varying developments in February. While Europe (EU28+EFTA), Russia, Brazil and India expanded – in some cases with double-digit growth rates – new vehicle sales in the US, Japan and China failed to match 2017 levels. In China the unusual effects of the Chinese New Year celebrations in February should be taken into consideration; if the first two months of the current year are viewed together, the world’s greatest passenger car market still shows gains.

On the European passenger car market, new registrations added 4 percent in February to reach 1.2 million units. Sales on the largest individual markets developed in different ways. Spain once again achieved a double-digit rise (+13 percent), while Germany also markedly increased its passenger car sales (+7 percent). Growth was also seen in France (+4 percent). However, the figures fell in Italy (-1 percent) and the UK (-3 percent). In the first two months of this year, 2.4 million new vehicles were registered in Europe, equating to a rise of a good 5 percent.

The US light vehicle market continued its trend of recent months. Light trucks remain popular with customers and 872,200 units were sold last month (+4 percent). Sales of passenger cars, on the other hand, were still falling in February and reached a volume of 421,300 units (-13 percent). In all, the light vehicle market totaled almost 1.3 million units, which did not match the high level from the previous year (-2 percent). This year so far the US market has an accumulated volume of 2.4 million light vehicles (-1 percent).

The Chinese New Year celebrations mostly took place in February this year. This affected passenger car sales. Following the strong growth in January (+12 percent), February sales came to 1.4 million vehicles, which was 9 percent down on the same month one year ago. It is therefore more informative to look at sales since the beginning of the year: in the first two months, the Chinese market grew by 3 percent to reach 3.9 million passenger cars.

In India, the passenger car market also expanded in February. The sales volume grew by around 8 percent as compared with the same month in 2017, reaching 275,300 cars. After the first two months the Indian passenger car market shows growth of around 8 percent (560,800 units), which puts it on course for a new record.

In February Japan’s automotive business remained below its 2017 result, recording 401,800 passenger cars (-3 percent). It was the fifth month in succession with a year-on-year fall. So far this year the Japanese passenger car market amounts to 741,400 vehicles – a reduction of 2 percent.

The upturn on the Russian light vehicle market obviously continued in February. At 133,200 vehicles, sales were 25 percent up on the same month last year. In January and February a total of 235,600 vehicles were sold, i.e. 27 percent more than in the first two months of the year.

Light vehicle sales in Brazil also maintained their momentum from the beginning of the year. In February the market volume rose to 152,000 light vehicles by expanding 15 percent over the previous year’s level. In the current year 327,900 new vehicles have been sold, which is 19 percent more than in the same period last year.

New Passenger Car Registrations/Sales

  February 2018 January - February 2018
  Volume Change
18/17 in %
Volume Change
18/17 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)*


4,0 2.445.100 5,5
  European Union (EU-28)* 1.125.400 4,3 2.379.000 5,8
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1.052.300 3,6 2.220.100 4,5
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 106.700 7,8 225.000 15,8
Russia** 133.200 24,7 235.600 27,5
USA** 1.293.500 -2,3 2.443.400 -0,8
Japan 401.800 -2,8 741.400 -2,0
Brazil** 152.000 14,6 327.900 18,6
India 275.3000 7,8 560.800 7,7
China 1.449.800 -8,8 3.870.200 3,0
* 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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