Motor vehicle sales worldwide 2005-2019

Global motor vehicle sales fell by four percent in 2019, representing the second consecutive year of declining demand. Larger sales drops were seen following the global financial disaster, the largest being 4.5 percent in 2008. Waning sales in China, the world’s largest automotive market, accounts for much of this drop.

2020 Outlook

Motor vehicle sales are looking at another poor year in 2020. During the first half of the year, sales fell considerably in markets around the globe, as countries imposed lockdown measures to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Even when economies slowly reopened, production facilities remained idle for some time as supply chains suffered from bottlenecks. Demand is expected to remain low in many vehicle segments due to the loss of income many consumers may have faced. Luxury and sports may see a spike in sales in the second half of the year as the corresponding demographic group typically has high levels of financial security. Some speculation suggests that vehicle sales may also be spurred on by the pandemic as commuters will be attracted to the safety of a personal car rather than public transport.

China’s changing demand

Chinese motor vehicle demand declined in 2018 and 2019, largely due to a slowing economy. Previously, the rapid economic expansion of China supported domestic sales of new passenger vehicles to the growing middle class. Vehicle sales growth would not be able to grow continuously. Chinese consumers have shown a change in preference for motors: SUVs (sport utility vehicles), luxury cars and electric segments have seen the best growth, while internal combustion engines are seen as outdated. China stands as the largest market for electric vehicles in the world and is expected to remain so over the next decade.

Worldwide motor vehicle sales from 2005 to 2019

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Release date




Survey time period

2005 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The figures are estimates.
The values have been rounded.

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