86 million new car sales in 2018 is impressive but the 100 million barrier may be out of reach says Mike Rutherford Sorry، I got it wrong. A couple of years back I slipped into forecasting mode (similar to and almost as dangerous as betting on the horses)، and predicted consumers of the world would by now be buying or leasing at least 100 million new cars a year.
Truth is، this hasn’t happened. The relentless growth in car sales we’ve witnessed over recent decades has، for now at least، stalled. Only around 86 million private individuals and businesses signed up for fresh-from-the-factory vehicles last year.
• New car sales 2019
That’s fewer than in 2017، and 2019 is expected to be another flat year. As far as car sales in the 2010s are concerned، they’ve peaked. At best، we’ll have to wait until the roaring ’20s before that psychologically important 100m-per-annum barrier is breached.
In one sense، 86 million car sales a year is impressive. But we need to remind ourselves that this figure is surprisingly low in view of the fact there are now hundreds of millions – possibly billions – of in-work or comfortably retired consumers across the globe with incomes large enough to place them in new-car territory.
In China، India and Brazil، for example، salt-of-the-earth working-class folk have wealth like never before. But they’re just not signing up for new cars in the numbers I، for one، expected them to.