Global car sales have faced several challenges over the past three years. First came the pandemic and the lockdowns. Then came semiconductor and supply chain issues. In 2022, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is making life even more difficult for the health of the industry.
In the new year, the auto industry is heading into a complicated 12 months due to ongoing geopolitical tensions and inflation around the world.
According to my research and estimates, global sales volumes of passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and pickup trucks are expected to remain stable in mature markets. In developing countries, there may be mixed results.
In 2022, estimated global vehicle sales will be around 79.4 million units, or 1.9 percent lower than 2021. In 2023, according to various assumptions, sales are expected to be between 79 and 81 million units.
Growth Driven By China Snd India
The positive outlook is mainly explained by the expected increase in registrations in China and India, the world’s first and fourth largest new vehicle markets. In China, the increased push for electric cars with greater supply and the recent reopening of the economy is expected to boost sales by 8 percent, and 12 percent by the end of the year.
India is set to accelerate growth and move closer to Japan, the world’s third largest market. As the government continues economic reforms and a large proportion of the population moves to the middle class, the vehicle market is expected to continue to expand. The Indian car market has received a lot of Chinese investment and more Made in China car brands are coming soon.
Stalled Sales In The US And Europe
The situation in some mature markets is not very promising. As inflation problems continue in the US and Europe, sales are expected to either remain flat or grow by a very small percentage. In the United States, volume is not expected to exceed 14 million units. While demand is responding positively to the newly available electric vehicles, most consumers are still reluctant to switch from internal combustion vehicles to EVs.
In Europe, there is still uncertainty about the economic situation, the war in Ukraine and rising car prices. Growth is not expected to exceed 3 percent by the end of 2023. Despite the strong EV boom, driven in part by public incentives and more competitive offerings, consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to afford more expensive cars.
Russia, Dark Spot
Russia and its economic downturn will be responsible for most of the downside to this story. In 2022, initial sales volumes will decline by 65 percent compared to 2021. In 2023, sales are expected to continue to decline, but at a more moderate rate of between 10 and 15 percent. However, this will be the year of the Chinese car invasion in and around Moscow.
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is an Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO dynamics.