Press Releases

International passenger car markets show varying developments in October

Berlin, 15 November 2018

Europe and China have falls in October – US equals last year’s level – Brazil, India and Russia expand

The international automotive markets showed varying developments in October. Whereas light vehicle sales in the US equaled last year’s level, Europe (EU-28 + EFTA) and China recorded falling figures. Japan and Brazil both enjoyed double-digit sales growth, while Russia and India also expanded.

In October the European passenger car market continued feeling the effects of the switch to WLTP. Despite one additional working day compared with October last year, new registrations lost more than 7 percent and slumped to 1.1 million units. The five largest national markets all contracted: sales in Germany, Spain and Italy fell by 7 percent. The shrinkage came to 3 percent in the UK and 2 percent in France. During the first ten months of the current year a total of 13.4 million passenger cars were newly registered in Europe, which equates to growth of just over 1 percent.

The US light vehicle market (passenger cars and light trucks) continued its shift toward light trucks. Their share of the light vehicle market rose to nearly 70 percent. In October 940,700 light trucks were sold (+6 percent). The light trucks include pick-ups and vans, SUVs and CUVs. So far this year, the German group brands have grown in this segment more than three times as strongly (+28 percent) as the light truck market as a whole (+8 percent).

By contrast, passenger car sales lost ground in October, reaching only 411,300 units (-10 percent). In all, almost 1.4 million light vehicles were sold, equaling the result from the same month last year. This year the US market has so far accumulated a volume of 14.2 million light vehicles (±0 percent).

In October the Chinese passenger car market recorded its fourth contraction in succession, with 2.0 million vehicles sold (-13 percent). During the first ten months of this year 18.9 million new cars were sold in China, i.e. 1 percent less than in the same period last year.

Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), stressed, “Despite the difficult situation, the German group brands increased their sales in China by 6 percent to 3.7 million units from January to September and therefore developed much better than the overall market. Exports of passenger cars from Germany to China rose by 8 percent during the same period.”

The weaker demand in China is tangible. In view of the trade dispute with the US, many Chinese customers are currently tending to hold back when it comes to buying a new car. Market growth is taking a breather. For 2018 as a whole the VDA expects a slight one percent fall to 23.8 million units.

In India the passenger car market developed well in October. The sales volume grew by almost 2 percent to 284,200 units. Since January 2018, the market volume has totaled 2.9 million units – a rise of more than 6 percent.

The Japanese new vehicle business also returned good figures in October: with 346,900 passenger cars sold, the market volume was 12 percent up on last year’s level, which was the largest increase for over a year. The year-to-date total is now 3.7 million vehicles (±0 percent).

The Russian light vehicle market expanded once again last month. Domestic sales added 8 percent to reach 160,400 vehicles. Since the beginning of this year nearly 1.5 million new vehicles have been sold, which is a year-on-year rise of 14 percent.

The Brazilian light vehicle market picked up speed again in October. A total of 245,200 new light vehicles were registered (+24 percent). This was the best monthly sales result during the last three years. Year-to-date sales have also climbed to 2.0 million new vehicles – which represents growth of 14 percent.

Oct 18

+/- in %

Jan.-Oct. 2018

+/- in %

Europe (EU28+EFTA)* 1)





European Union (EU-28)* 1)





Western Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1)





New EU Countries (EU13)* 1)





Russia** 2)





USA** 3)





Japan 4)





Brazil** 5)





India 6)





China 7)





Sources: 1) ACEA  2) AEB  3) WardsAuto  4) JAMA  5) ANFAVEA  6) SIAM  7) 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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