2018 marked a somewhat challenging year for the global car market, as sales fell for the first time since 2009. Many carmakers felt the effects of trade tensions between the world’s biggest economies, political changes in key markets, and new threats to the status quo of the industry. “Last year could be considered as the beginning of a new era for the automotive industry,” said Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst.
Strong results in India, Brazil, Russia and South East Asia offset stalling sales in Europe, China and the US. “The dip in the Chinese market had ramifications upon the rest of the global market in 2018. As China makes up nearly 30% of global vehicle sales, any change that happens there is felt across the rest of the world,” explains Munoz. Besides stalling sales in China, the automotive industry also had to deal with uncertainty in the European market, following the fallout from Brexit and the introduction of more complex environmental regulations. It also had to deal with leadership changes at some of the world’s biggest car makers, which are not always easy to navigate.
In what was one of the most significant results from 2018, India became the world’s fourth largest car market, as it was finally able to outsell Germany. India’s growth is projected to continue over the next few years, with it expected to become the third largest market by 2021.
Elsewhere, Russia climbed the rankings and overtook South Korea, while Argentina and Turkey – two big producers of vehicles – saw declines, having felt the effects of challenging economic times. China continued to lead the world rankings with 28.08 million sales, followed by Europe with 17.7 million sales and the US with 17.3 million sales. Meanwhile, Latin America outsold Japan, recording 5.6 million and 5.2 million sales, respectively.
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