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Passenger cars - sales in selected countries worldwide 2005-2020

At about 20 million units, China remained the largest market for passenger car sales in 2020. According to the source, passenger cars are motor vehicles with at least four wheels, used for the transport of passengers, and comprising no more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat. Hence, the figures do not include light trucks.

Pandemic causes sales slump across all markets

Worldwide, passenger car sales have been slowly declining. Car sales started falling dramatically during the 2008-2009 economic crisis and re-entered a sales slump at the end of 2018. Sales slumped in 2020 due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and related measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Spotlight on the largest markets

In Europe, about 75 percent of new passenger car registrations occur in the largest markets, which include Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. Despite a slowdown in demand in 2020, China has seen the largest increases in passenger vehicle sales between 2005 and 2020, growing from 3.97 million units to some 20 million units. During this time period, leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like General Motors or Volkswagen enjoyed rising sales trends not just in China, but across all Asian markets.

China, Japan, Germany, India, and the United States are ranked among the world’s largest car markets. These countries are home to many of the major motor vehicle manufacturers, including the world’s largest automakers in 2020.

Sales of passenger cars in selected countries worldwide from 2005 to 2020

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Release date




Survey time period

2005 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The values have been rounded.
* The U.S. figure excludes some 11 million light truck sales.

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Statistics on "Automobile sales in China"

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