Passenger car market: VDA adjusts forecasts

    Berlin, May 01, 2023

    Adjusted forecasts for the German and European passenger car markets – markets still well below pre-crisis levels

    In the first quarter of 2023, the global passenger car market continued its recovery from the effects of the COVID pandemic. The supply situation in the supply chains in particular has eased noticeably, and the extraordinarily high order backlog has been slightly reduced. As a result, a somewhat more positive development can be observed in Europe than was previously assumed in the forecasts of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). For Germany, we are now assuming that the market will grow by 4% to 2.8mn cars (previously: +2% to 2.7mn cars). This is 24% below the pre-crisis level of 2019. At that time, 3.6mn cars were sold in Germany. In Europe (EU, EFTA & UK), we expect growth of 7% to 12.0mn new vehicles in 2023 (previously: +5% to 11.8mn). The European market (EU, EFTA & UK) is still 24% below the pre-crisis level of 2019. At that time, 15.8mn cars were sold.

    VDA President Hildegard Müller: "The car markets in Germany and Europe are developing a little better than expected, which is of course good news. But you have to see the whole picture. The reality is that the markets are still well below the pre-crisis level. Although the situation is slowly improving, the restrictions on primary and intermediate products and the high energy and raw material prices are dampening the necessary recovery. Berlin and Brussels must secure our supply of raw materials with partnerships in order to make Germany and Europe more independent and supply chains more resilient." The high energy prices, especially the price of electricity, also remained an issue, Müller continued. "Energy costs have to go down, a reduction in electricity tax to the European minimum is long overdue. All these points remain an important political task. We need more speed and determination here."

    In the other major passenger car markets in China and the USA, the first quarter confirmed the VDA assessment: the US light vehicle market is likely to increase by 4% to 14.3mn light vehicles in 2023. China, where the market was already at a high level in 2022, is only likely to grow slightly by 3% to 23.9mn passenger cars in 2023. Overall, we assume growth of 4% for the global market and a global market volume of 74.9mn passenger cars (previously: +4% to 74.6mn).

    The VDA recently adjusted its forecast for car production in Germany and is currently assuming 3.79mn cars (+9%). Domestic production would thus remain 19% below the pre-crisis level of 2019. At that time, 4.66mn cars were produced in Germany.