Worldwide car sales 1990-2020

The global auto industry expects to sell 74 million automobiles in 2020. The sector is projected to experience a downward trend on the back of a slowing global economy. Previously, it had been estimated that international car sales were on track to reach 80 million in 2019; however, as economic woes continue, demand for new motor vehicles is shrinking.

Weak demand in Asia

In light of a state that could be dubbed 'peak car' in countries such as the United States and Germany, carmakers were particularly keen on tapping into the growing affluence of Asian markets to increase worldwide sales. However, China's economy began to lose steam and Chinese automobile sales fell to around 21 million units in 2019. Although the economy is still growing, there are fears that a recession may be looming. This could be disastrous for the automobile industry, as it relies so much on China. Volkswagen alone, albeit in collaboration with its local joint ventures, sold some four million light vehicles in China in 2018. It is expected that automakers will undertake unprecedented investment programs to grow their businesses not only in China, but also in ASEAN markets. That said, there will likely be a growth saturation curve in all of these markets.

Number of cars sold worldwide from 1990 to 2020

Global car sales in millions
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Release date

February 2020



Survey time period

1990 through 2019

Supplementary notes

* Annual averages; the figures for 1990 through 2015 were taken from a previous edition of the Global Auto Report

** The 2019 value is an estimate and the 2020 value is a forecast.

The values include light truck sales in North America and, beginning in 2005, crossover utility vehicle sales in China.

All figures refer to new vehicle sales.

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Statistics on "Automotive industry"

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