Automotive Industry: Car Sales Dynamics & Top Manufacturers29 Aug 2018 • by Natalie Aster
LONDON – Cars are the most traded commodities worldwide. As of 2016, cars accounted for almost 5% of the world’s trade, which was equal to around USD 1.35 trillion. In the same year, Germany ranked as the dominant car exporter, capturing a share of appr. 22% of the world’s total number of traded vehicles; the German car exports value totaled around USD 150 billion. The second spot on the global list of top car exporters was held by Japan with a share of nearly 13.2% of the world’s car exports. The US was the third biggest car exporter, accounting for an 8% share of the total number of cars exported worldwide.
Globally, the number of cars sold in 2016 reached 77.25 million units. The figure increased to 79.02 million units in 2017 and is poised to surpass the 81.5 million units mark by the end of the current year. Some of the favourable factors that are expected to boost the world’s car sales comprise a gradual recovery of the automotive industry in the EU countries (especially in Germany, the UK, Sweden, and Poland, amid others), and the rapidly mounting demand for cars in the Asian and North American regions.
World’s car sales during 1990 – 2018 (in million units)
The Asia-Pacific region was at the forefront of the world’s automotive market in 2017 with over 30 million cars sold in the region. The largest contribution to the region’s car sales was made by China, Japan, India, and South Korea. The runner-up was Europe with the highest car sales numbers registered in Germany, the UK, France, and Italy. The third position in terms of car sales was occupied by North America, with the US accounting for the lion’s share of the overall volume of cars sold in the region.
As for countries, China has been holding the top spot on the list of the global car sales by country for several past years. In 2017, China far outpaced all the other country-wide automotive markets. The number of passenger cars sold in China exhibited a modest YoY growth and totaled some 24.96 million units in 2017.
The US took the second position worldwide in terms of passenger car sales in the past year. The number of cars sold in the US demonstrated a steady growth between 2009 and 2014, which was followed by a decline since 2015 with considerable falls witnessed during 2016-2017. As of 2017, nearly 6.1 million passenger cars were sold in the US.
The number of passenger cars sold in Japan (the third spot on the list of global passenger car sales) also decreased during 2015 – 2016, but it improved in the past year and totaled appr. 4.39 million units. However, the country’s car sales didn’t manage to reach the level of the year 2014, when some 4.7 million passenger cars were sold in Japan.
The fourth biggest country-wide automotive market in terms of car sales in 2017 was Germany. The number of passenger cars sold in Germany registered a sluggish but steady upturn since 2013 and climbed to 3.44 million units in the last year.
Passenger car sales in top countries during 2005-2017 (in million units)
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY BEHEMOTHS
Last year, Volkswagen topped the list of the leading car manufacturers on the basis of car sales, reporting record car sales after a considerable YoY increase. The volume of the company’s car sales surged to 10.74 million units in 2017, registering a remarkable YoY growth of about 800,000 units. Besides, Volkswagen is on track to maintain the position of the world’s leading car vendor this year.
Renault – Nissan alliance demonstrated an impressive increase in 2017 and managed to take the second place in terms of car sales. The performance of the alliance was considerably boosted by the joining of Mitsubishi in October 2016. The number of cars sold by this alliance in 2017 jumped by 2,08 million units YoY and exceeded 10.6 million units. The Renault – Nissan – Mitsubishi alliance is viewed as a strong contender in the automotive market, that may beat all the other rivals in the near future.
Meantime, the former leader, Toyota, was knocked off the top spot last year and moved to the third position on the list of the world’s leading car vendors. Toyota sold around 10,47 million cars in 2017 – it is up by 390,000 units YoY.
Top car manufacturers based on sales during 2015-2017 (in million units)
As for the revenues generated from the car sales, Toyota was the dominant automaker across the globe in 2017 with the company’s revenues reaching appr. USD 265.17 billion. It was followed by Volkswagen with revenues of nearly USD 260.03 billion. The third leading car manufacturer in terms of revenues generated in 2017 was Daimler: this company had total revenues of about USD 185.24 billion in the past year.
World’s 10 leading automobile manufacturers based on revenue, FY 2017 (in USD billion)
During January – July 2018, the number of car sales went up across all major regions, except the Japanese market, which exhibited a moderately weaker performance. The highest growth in terms of new passenger car registrations was registered in Russia, Brazil, and India. Meantime, the Chinese automotive market continued to expand, but at a slower pace. The auto sales in the European and North American markets also remained on a growth path. However, the battle of 2018 is still on, and four months left to know which countries and car manufacturers will demonstrate the best results at year-end.
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