Worldwide car sales 1990-2019

The global auto industry expects to sell some 77 million automobiles by the end of 2019. The sector is projected to experience a downward trend on the back of a slowing global economy.

Saturation in developed markets

In light of a state that could be dubbed 'peak car' in developed markets, carmakers are particularly keen on tapping into the growing affluence of Asian countries to increase worldwide car sales. Passenger vehicle sales in China reached 23.7 million units in 2018, and Asia’s economic powerhouse has emerged as the number one sales market for passenger cars.

Market stalls on weak demand in Asia

However, China appears to be grappling with an economic slowdown 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.

Previously, it had been estimated that international car sales may reach 80 million in 2019; however, as economic woes continue, demand for new motor vehicles is shrinking.

Number of cars sold worldwide from 1990 to 2019

Global car sales in millions
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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period

1990 through 2019

Supplementary notes

* Annual averages; the figures for 1990 through 1999 were taken from a previous edition of the same source.

** The 2019 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 "Motor vehicle production"

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