Press Releases

International automotive business produces solid results in 2018

Berlin, 16 January 2019

US and Europe stable – Contraction in China – Double-digit growth in Brazil and Russia

The automotive markets developed differently around the world in 2018. The European passenger car market (EU28+EFTA) maintained the high level from 2017, while the US actually recorded a slender increase. The markets in Brazil and Russia demonstrated strong growth. India also expanded. China recorded its first market contraction, although the volume remains very large.

In Europe, a total of 15.6 million passenger cars were newly registered in 2018, equaling the number in the previous year. In December car sales in Europe just exceeded 1.0 million units, which was a loss of 9 percent. In many countries December had fewer working days than it had in 2017. There were increases in the year’s accumulated figures on the large volume markets in France (+3 percent) and Spain (+7 percent), while Germany matched its 2017 level. Results were down in Italy (-3 percent) and the United Kingdom (-7 percent).

The US market for light vehicles finished last year on 17.2 million units sold, which was 78,800 more than in 2017 (±0 percent). Here the sales of passenger cars contracted by 13 percent while the light truck segment added 8 percent. In December 1.6 million light vehicles were sold (+1 percent).

In China the passenger car market lost almost 4 percent of its volume in 2018, falling to 23.3 million new vehicles. This was the first decrease for decades. The main factor behind the slump was the trade conflict with the US. In December the sales volume came to 2.4 million units, i.e. around 16 percent below the previous year’s level.

In India the total sales volume for 2018 increased by 5 percent. In all, 3.4 million units were sold. Last month the market matched the figure from December 2017 (238,700 units).

In Japan, business in new vehicles showed solid development in 2018. The 4.4 million passenger cars sold equaled the previous year’s result. December sales came to 319,700 newly registered passenger cars – a 3 percent fall.

The market in Russia continued to recover last year and totaled 1.8 million new vehicles, which was 13 percent up on the volume in 2017. Sales of light vehicles in December expanded by 6 percent to 175,200.

The Brazilian market for light vehicles recorded keen growth for 2018 as a whole. Sales of new vehicles rose by 14 percent to nearly 2.5 million. In December the increase amounted to 10 percent (225,400 vehicles) and resulted in the twentieth month of growth in succession.

New registrations/sales of passenger cars

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


-8.7 15,624,500 0.0
  European Union (EU-28)* 998,500 -8.4 15,158,900 0.1
  Western Europe (EU15+EFTA) 940,100 -8.6 14,210,900 -0.8
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 98,900 -9.9 1,413,600 8.0
Russia** 175,200 5.6 1,800,600 12.8
USA** 1,619,600 1.5 17,215,200 0.5
Japan 319,700 -3.2 4,391,200 0.1
Brazil** 225,400 9.8 2,475,400 13.8
India 238,700 -0.4 3,394,700 5.1
China 2,366,300 -15.8 23,256,300 -3.8
* 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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