There are big surprises in the ranking of global vehicle sales by country in 2022. According to preliminary data for 78 countries of the world, the global volume fell by 2 percent to 78.49 million units (passenger cars and light commercial vehicles). As a result, the estimated total, including missing markets, is approximately 81.5 million units.  

The top ten showed interesting changes compared to 2021. While China and the US maintained their positions as the first and second markets, the third position was occupied by India for the first time ever. The strong growth in demand, due to better offers and the availability of more attractive cars, contributed to the 24 percent increase recorded by the overall market.  

This is by far the most notable change in the global top ten and marks the first time India has claimed third. Historically, Japan has always been the number-three market thanks to a large local catchment area and a strong appetite for kei cars. However, this market stopped growing many years ago, while India has shown more volatile results.  

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Brazil Ahead Of The UK And France 

The moderate decline in new vehicle sales in Brazil (-1 percent) helped this market overtake 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, short supplies of new cars in dealerships, and the energy crisis explain the negative year in most European markets. The total fell 6 percent to 13.71 million units, including Turkey. The reduction is the same when excluding this Eurasian nation, at 12.93 million units.

Italy Out Of The Top 10 

Once again, the Italian auto market remained outside the top ten. Unlike its European partners, EVs have not contributed to growth in Italy, as incentives have not been available all year. Incentives which, while they have helped to compensate for the large losses recorded by petrol and diesel cars in countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom, have not been able to help Italy. 

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Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, And Vietnam Shine 

Most Southeast Asian markets recorded sharp increases over the year. For example, Indonesia overtook Spain to become the 14th largest market (excluding Iran). An important fact of 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 to and will continue to grow the market in 2023.  

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Russia Shrinks

As expected, Russia's figures are rather negative. Data from last year shows that a total of 677,000 new vehicles were sold. This is 59 percent less volume compared to 2021, just before the invasion of Ukraine.  

The shutdown of most Western car brands in the country has significantly tightened supply at a time when there is considerable uncertainty about the war and the economy in Russia. This market has been overtaken by other traditionally medium-sized ones, such as Turkey, Thailand, Australia, and Mexico. 

The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is an Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO Dynamics.

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