Global car sales up by 2.4% in 2017

The automotive industry grew in 2017, with 86.05 million units (LCVs and passenger cars) sold according to data released today by JATO Dynamics. This is a significant 2.05 million more than in 2016 and represents a 2.4% increase on 2016.

‘The automotive market performed well in 2017, with established economies maintaining growth, whilst developing markets like Russia and Brazil returned to growth following declines last year,’ commented Felipe Munoz, JATO’s Global Analyst.

SUVs contributed significantly to the automotive industry’s strong performance, accounting for the largest market share in China, North America and Europe (the three largest regions). Yet, these were not as popular in the three smallest regions – Asia-Pacific, Japan and South Korea and Latin America.

The subcompact was the most popular segment in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, whilst city-cars secured the largest market share in Japan, demonstrating that there is still scope for the SUV to grow as its popularity spreads.

Europe, Asia-Pacific (excluding China, Japan and South Korea) and, notably Latin America were the key drivers of growth in 2017. Double-digit increases in 13 markets, including Russia, Thailand and Argentina, offset declines in significant markets such as the US, UK, Mexico and South Korea, and slowing growth in China. The Asia-Pacific market (excluding China, Japan and South Korea), was bolstered by increased sales in India, Thailand, New Zealand and Singapore, whilst the Latin American region benefitted from the improved economic situation in Brazil.

Brazil contributed significantly to the industry’s growth, posting a 9.4% volume increase in sales. India continued its rapid growth trajectory, with the country posting an increase of 8.8% meaning it could soon overtake Germany, which grew by a modest 2.8%. As a result, India could soon leapfrog Germany to take the position of the fourth largest automotive market.

‘The results in 2017 show that despite the crisis with the diesel fuel type and localised issues such as Brexit causing European uncertainty, the automotive market as a whole is continuing to grow. It will be interesting to see how the role of the emerging markets increases in importance, with India projected to overtake Germany as the fourth largest car market globally, and Latin America showing positive signs,’ Munoz continued.