Press Releases

International passenger car markets: US and Europe stable in May

Berlin, 18 June 2019

Brazil and Japan expand – India, China and Russia contract

The international automotive markets returned varying results in May. Europe (EU-28 and EFTA) and the US roughly maintained their 2018 levels. Brazil and Japan both enjoyed growth, while China and India recorded double-digit falls. The Russian market also contracted.

In Europe (EU-28 and EFTA), 1.4 million passenger cars were newly registered in May, which equaled the figure from May last year. Germany was the most dynamic of the five largest national markets (+9 percent). New registrations rose slightly in France (+1 percent), whereas Italy narrowly failed to match its result from May 2018 (-1 percent). The markets also contracted in the United Kingdom (-5 percent) and Spain (-7 percent). In the first five months of this year, a total of 6.9 million passenger cars were newly registered in Europe, which equates to a modest fall of 2 percent.

The US light vehicle market (light trucks and passenger cars) hovered around the level from May last year, totaling 1.6 million new vehicles sold. The light truck segment that accounts for more than two thirds of the US light vehicle market added 5 percent, while passenger car sales fell by 12 percent. The year-to-date total comes to 6.9 million light vehicles, which is 2 percent down on last year’s result for the same period.

In China 1.5 million passenger cars were sold last month, 17 percent less than in May last year. Since the beginning of 2019 the Chinese passenger car market has lost 15 percent and shrunk to 8.2 million new vehicles. In this difficult environment the German OEMs have fared much better than the average, but were unable to avoid the general trend altogether. From January to April, they sold 6 percent fewer new vehicles. The market as a whole continues to demonstrate uncertainty due to the smoldering trade dispute between the United States and China. Passenger car sales on the world’s largest individual market have been falling for eleven months now. The VDA therefore now expects China to reach a market volume of 22.3 million new vehicles over the current year (-4 percent). Until now the expectation was that sales would stay around last year’s level. In the medium term, the VDA expects that the Chinese passenger car market will return to a path of growth, as the country still offers great potential.

In India 239,300 passenger cars were sold last month. The year-on-year fall of 21 percent was partly due to the very strong result in May last year. Since the beginning of 2019, the Indian market has accumulated sales of 1.3 million units (-9 percent).

The Japanese passenger car market grew by 6 percent last month and achieved a volume of 327,400 new vehicles. In the first five months of this year, a total of 1.9 million cars were newly registered in Japan (±0 percent).

The Russian light vehicle market was 7 percent down compared with May last year and recorded sales of 137,600 light vehicles. During the year to date, 677,600 new light vehicles have been sold in Russia, i.e. 2 percent less than in the same period last year.

Sales of light vehicles in Brazil soared to 234,600 units (+20 percent). However, the high growth rate is mainly due to the low level in 2018. Last summer a strike by long-distance truck drivers severely distorted Brazil’s economy and its automotive market. So far, 1.0 million vehicles have been sold in Brazil this year – 11 percent more than in the same period last year.

New registrations/sales of passenger cars

  May 2019 January - May 2019
  Units Change
19/18 in %
Units Change
19/18 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)*1)


0.0 6,935,000 -2.0
  European Union (EU-28)*1) 1,400,500 0.1 6,737,500 -2.1
  Western Europe (EU15+EFTA)1) 1,305,500 -0.6 6,312,100 -2.4
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 1) 138,200 6.2 622,900 2.4
Russia**2) 137,600 -6.7 677,600 -2.2
USA**3) 1,579,200 -0.5 6,886,800 -2.1
Japan 4) 327,400 6.4 1,918,700 0.1
Brazil** 5) 234,600 20.1 1,037,800 0.1
India 6) 239,300 -20.5 1,331,100 -8.9
China 7) 1,534,800 -16.6 8,233,000 -15.2
* without Malta
** Light Vehicles
Quellen: 1) ACEA 2) AEB 3) WardsAuto 4) JAMA 5) ANFAVEA 6) SIAM 7) CAAM
Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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