International automotive markets make solid start to the year

by Hans Diederichs

The international automotive markets got off to a varied start in 2019. In January the European passenger car market (EU28+EFTA) fell short of the high level from January last year. In the US, the light vehicle sales fell slightly. Japan and Russia, by contrast, showed modest expansion, while Brazil recorded a clear rise. Official figures for China are not yet available owing to the Chinese New Year festivities.

In Europe a total of 1.2 million passenger cars were newly registered in January, i.e. 5 percent fewer than in the same month last year. However, the volume markets remained robust in Germany (-1 percent), France (-1 percent) and the United Kingdom (-2 percent), almost matching last year’s levels. Spain and Italy, on the other hand, both recorded a decrease of 8 percent.

The US light vehicle market totalled 1.1 million new vehicles sold, which was a year-on-year fall of around 2 percent. The loss was greater in the passenger car segment (-5 percent) than in the light truck segment (-1 percent).

In India 280,100 passenger cars were sold in the first month of this year. This was a good 2 percent less than in January 2018. Consumers remain cautious, continuing the trend from the end of last year. January 2019 was the third month in succession with falling figures.

The Japanese passenger car market added 1 percent in January, reaching a volume of 342,500 passenger cars.

January sales grew by 1 percent on the Russian light vehicle market. The market volume rose to 103,100 light vehicles, despite the 2 percent hike in VAT at the beginning of the year, which put a damper on demand.

Brazil made a good start to 2019. The market volume rose by 9 percent to 191,200 light vehicles in January. The leading South American market has now been growing for 21 months without a break.

Source: VDA / Photo: Tata Steel

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