International automobile markets

    International passenger car markets with strong growth in 2023

    Berlin, January 17, 2024

    Europe and USA still well below pre-crisis levels - China has record year - Sales in Mexico, Japan, India and Brazil increasing significantly

    The major international passenger car markets recorded a significant increase in new registrations in 2023 as a whole. Compared to 2022, vehicle availability was significantly improved, which had a positive effect on car sales. In addition, there are weak figures from the previous year, which led to a base effect. However, this has recently had less and less of a supportive effect on growth rates. Nevertheless, the business environment for the automotive industry remains challenging: particularly in Europe, but also in other regions of the world, geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainties have recently resulted in subdued overall economic demand and thus subdued economic growth. The continued high energy and consumer prices also have a negative impact on overall economic demand.

    A good 12.8mn vehicles were newly registered on the European car market (EU, EFTA & UK) in 2023, 14% more than in the previous year. However, the recovery continues to be sluggish: new registrations on the European car market are currently still almost a fifth (-19%) below the pre-crisis level of 2019. In the month of December, a good 1.0mn units were registered, 4% fewer new vehicles than in the same month last year. The main reason for the decline is the weak German market, where significantly fewer new vehicles were registered overall in the electric segment in December 2023 as a result of a special effect (changes in the funding of electric cars) that took effect at the end of 2022. The five largest individual European markets developed as follows last month: France (+15%), Spain (+11%), United Kingdom (+10%), Italy (+6%), Germany (-23%).

    Almost 25.8mn new cars were registered on the Chinese car market in 2023. There have never been sold more cars in China in one year. Compared to the previous year 2022, car sales rose by 11% in the past year and compared to 2017, the previous record year, the increase was almost 7%. The Chinese passenger car market thus bucked the trend of the overall Chinese economy losing momentum and was an important pillar of the otherwise recently weakening economy. In the month of December, growth was 24%. Another record: The almost 2.8mn cars sold were the highest sales level ever achieved in a month.

    The US light vehicle market (passenger cars and light duty) developed dynamically in 2023. In the United States, light vehicle sales rose double-digit by 12% last year. A total of almost 15.5mn vehicles were sold. However, the market is still almost 9% below the pre-crisis level of 2019. In December, sales rose sharply by 13% compared to the same month last year to a volume of 1.4mn units.

    Sales in the Mexican light vehicle market (passenger cars and light duty) increased significantly in 2023. With almost 1.4mn newly registered units, around a quarter (+25%) more new vehicles were registered than in the previous year 2022. It is noteworthy that the market is already 3% above the pre-crisis level of 2019. A total of 142,800 light vehicles were sold in December, 18% more than in the same month last year.

    In Japan, the passenger car market was dynamic in 2023. Overall, volume growth of 16% was achieved over the course of the year. 4.0mn new cars were registered. The Japanese market is therefore the fourth largest individual passenger car market in the world. However, the sales gap compared to the pre-crisis level in 2019 is still around 7%. 301,600 cars were sold in December. That’s a good 6% more than in the same month last year.

    Growth in the Indian passenger car market has weakened somewhat recently, but remains positive. In 2023 as a whole, car sales increased by 8% compared to the previous year. 4.1mn new vehicles were registered. This means that the Indian car market can maintain its third place among the world's largest individual car markets, which it took over from Japan for the first time last year. In December, restrained growth of just over 3% was achieved to 242,900 cars.

    The Brazilian light vehicle market (passenger cars and light duty) also developed significantly positively in 2023 compared to the previous year. In total, almost 2.2mn units were sold over the course of the year, 11% more than in 2022. However, in relation to pre-crisis levels, the market is still down a good 18%. A sales volume of 236,700 light vehicles was achieved in the month of December. This corresponds to an increase of 17% compared to the same month last year.

    Dec. 20023 +/- in % Jan. - Dec. 2023 +/- in %
    Europe (EU & EFTA & UK)1) 1.048.700 -3,8 12.847.500 13,7
    European Union* 1) 867.100 -3,3 10.547.700 13,9
    Western Europeans (EU14, EFTA & UK)1) 951.200 -4,9 11.575.100 13,9
    New EU countries (EU13)* 1) 97.500 7,9 1.272.400 12,5
    USA *2) 1.433.300 13,0 15.457.400 12,4
    Mexico *2) 142.800 18,4 1.360.100 25,4
    China*3) 2.767.000 24,0 25.798.000 11,0
    Japan *4) 301.600 6,1 3.992.700 15,8
    Inda * 5) 242.900 3,2 4.101.700 8,1
    Brasil*6) 236.700 17,1 2.180.200 11,2

    Sources: 1) ACEA  2) Wards Intelligence  3) CAAM   4) JAMA  5) SIAM  6) ANFAVEA
    *Light Vehicles

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