There was a major surprise in the ranking of global vehicle sales by country in 2022. According to preliminary data from 78 countries of the world, global volume fell 2 percent to 78.49 million units (passenger cars and light commercial vehicles). Consequently, the estimated total, including lost market, is approximately 81.5 million units.
The top ten represents an interesting turnaround from 2021. While China and the US maintain their positions as first and second markets, third place is occupied by India for the first time. Strong demand growth, due to better supply and availability of more attractive cars, contributed to the 24 percent increase recorded in the overall market.
This is by far the most notable change in the global top ten and marks the first time that India has claimed third place. Historically, Japan has always been the number three market thanks to its large local catchments and strong interest in kei cars. However, this market stopped growing years ago, while India is showing more volatile results.
Brazil ahead of England and France
A modest decline in new vehicle sales in Brazil (-1 percent) helped this market catch up with the UK and France. The former saw a 5 percent drop, while the latter saw its volume shrink by 10 percent, the worst drop in the top ten.
A lack of confidence, an undersupply of new cars at dealerships, and an energy crisis explain the negative year in most European markets. The total fell 6 percent to 13.71 million units, including Turkey. This reduction is tantamount to excluding this Eurasian nation, namely 12.93 million units.
Italy Out Of The Top 10
Once again, the Italian car market remains outside the top ten. Unlike its European counterparts, EVs do not contribute to growth in Italy, as incentives are not available all year round. Incentives which, although they have helped compensate for the huge losses recorded by petrol and diesel cars in countries such as Germany and the UK, have not been able to help Italy.
Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam Shine
Most of the Southeast Asian markets posted sharp gains throughout the year. For example, Indonesia overtook Spain to become the 14th largest market (excluding Iran). An important fact from this market is the arrival of locally produced BEVs (Battery electric vehicles), such as the Wuling Air EV. The demand for these cars has contributed and will continue to grow the market in 2023.
Russia is shrinking
As expected, Russia’s numbers are somewhat negative. Last year’s data showed a total of 677,000 new vehicles were sold. This is 59 percent less volume compared to 2021, just before the Ukrainian invasion.
The shutdown of most of the country’s Western car brands has tightened supply significantly at a time when there is considerable uncertainty about the war and the economy in Russia. This market has been taken over by other traditional middle markets, such as Turkey, Thailand, Australia and Mexico.
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is an Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO dynamics.