Global car sales in 2017 for the first time have passed the threshold of 90 million units – an indicator that demand for conventional vehicles remains strong. The growth is partly due to the recovery of some of the emerging markets, such as Brazil and Russia, as well as the strong performance in Western Europe. But the main engine of sales is Asian consumers. More than 25% of the cars sold worldwide last year went to Chinese buyers, which is a significant increase compared to 15% a decade ago.
China is still a strong market and is still a growing. The growth would soon come not only from increased demand in major cities but also in secondary and third-tier cities.
Most profitable for vehicle manufacturers remains the North American market, despite slowing sales after years of strong momentum. The analysts expect sales in the US for 2017 to be slightly below record levels in 2016, with a cut in production in the first quarter of the year.
At the same time, global demand remains stronger. The vehicle sales are rising at an annual average rate of 4.1% since 2009. This is more than the population growth, which increased by 1.2% per year over the same period. The total number of cars in use for the first time passed the threshold of 1 billion in 2009, and has so far increased by another 33%.
Spreading the automotive industry is a challenge for regulators, which are having difficulty clogged motorways safer and cleaner. Worldwide, more than 1.25 million people die on roads, with catastrophes being the main cause, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). Over 90% of deaths are in low- and middle-income countries where more sophisticated safeguards are not so prevalent.
Meanwhile, the authorities in many places around the world are trying to boost sales of electric cars as an alternative to conventional vehicles. The governments of China and USA, the two largest automotive markets, have taken steps to relieve the tax burden on electric cars, which currently account for less than 1% of world production and sales. At the same time, the authorities in some European cities and states have already been asked to hope to stop selling cars with conventional internal combustion engines in the coming years.
However, a sharp increase in demand for electric vehicles will be at least five years from the consumer’s concerns about the batteries of such cars and their price.