Global new vehicle market falls 2% in 2022, reports JATO

June 30, 2023

The Tesla Model Y was the world’s third best-selling passenger vehicle in 2022 (Courtesy Tesla)
The Tesla Model Y was the world’s third best-selling passenger vehicle in 2022 (Courtesy Tesla)

JATO Dynamics, an automotive business intelligence agency based in Uxbridge, UK, has reported that 79.4 million new vehicles were registered globally in 2022, representing a 2% decrease on the 80.7 million units in 2021. Positive results in emerging markets (India, Middle East, southeast Asia and Africa) were reported to be significant enough to offset declines seen elsewhere.

Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented, “This decline can be attributed to two key factors. Firstly, ongoing supply chain disruption and the shortage of semiconductors in North America and Europe led to a reduction in the availability of new vehicles, while sales in China, the world’s largest market, weakened.”

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In 2022, sales in North America, Europe and China combined accounted for 69% of total global sales.

In addition to these challenges, the decline was also contributed to by the ongoing war in Ukraine. As a result of sanctions, the Russian market suffered heavily with sales dropping by 59% – equating to approximately 1 million units.

“The market is shifting away from NSCs and OEMs, instead becoming increasingly reliant on importers. The withdrawal of Western brands has created an opportunity for China to expand its presence in the Russian car market – the 21st largest globally in 2022”, commented Irina Dedova, JATO Dynamic’s Area Manager for Eastern Europe.

In contrast, demand in India rose by 24%, to a new record of 4.37 registered million units. These results saw India surpass Japan to become the world’s third-largest car market. Despite the increase in volume, just 3.1 vehicles were sold per 1,000 inhabitants – the lowest among the top twenty-five largest vehicle markets.

Ravi Bhatia, president and Director at JATO Dynamics India, commented, “Consumer confidence has been bolstered by the recovering economy and supportive government policies including production-linked incentives totalling $7.5 billion over the next five years to encourage exports, and the introduction of a new vehicle scrappage policy to boost demand for new vehicles. Banks and financial institutions have also become more accommodating in offering loans at competitive rates.”

Financial incentives, post-pandemic measures and benefits helped to boost demand in the Middle East. New vehicle registrations across the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council reached 2.75 million units – 46% of the regional total.

Samir Sawalhi, Vice President at JATO Dynamics Middle East, added, “The Middle East looks set to take on a more significant role in the global automotive industry; Saudi Arabia – the world’s 19th largest car market – aims to become a hub for electric vehicle production with investment expected to reach $50 billion over the next ten years.”

In the African market, volume increased by 5.5% to 1.15 million units. This was driven by a 14% increase in registrations in South Africa – the continent’s largest market, accounting for 44% of the total. Northern Africa’s volume accounted for 42% of the continent’s total while Southern Africa represented 45%. In contrast, Eastern, Central, and Western Africa accounted for 4.8%, 1.3%, and 6.7% of the total respectively.

New pure electric vehicle sales by player - million units (Courtesy JATO)
New pure electric vehicle sales by player – million units (Courtesy JATO)

Surge in electric vehicles continues

In 2022, the total volume of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rose 66% to a total of 7.37 million units – a year-on-year increase of 2.9 million units. This exceeded the increase of 2.4 million units seen between 2020 and 2021. Last year, the global market share for BEVs jumped from 5.5% in 2021 to 9.3%. Regionally, only China and Europe secured a double-digit share of the market, with 15.6% and 12.2% respectively.

Felipe Munoz, JATO’s Global Analyst, commented, “The EV boom looks set to endure. Governments in the developed world have continued to offer generous incentives, encouraging consumers to make the switch away from ICE vehicles, while average prices have decreased thanks to the introduction of more affordable models by OEMs.”

Norway continued to lead the standard for EV adoption globally. Last year, 71% of light vehicles registered in the country were BEVs. However, it was Hong Kong that recorded the highest market share increase from 24.4% in 2021 to 53.1% last year. “The scrappage programme for those vehicles at least six years old, and the tax exemption for new electric vehicles up to certain price is pushing many consumers to make the switch from petrol to electric”, commented Bo Yu, Area Manager for JATO Dynamics China.

China led the way as the world’s largest market in terms of volume, accounting for 53% of global sales – a significant margin more than the country’s share of overall global light vehicle sales at 32%. China’s success is the result of shorter waiting times for BEVs when compared with ICE models and a burgeoning offer for consumers – in 2022, fifteen new brands were launched in China. While Tesla led the EV charge in 2022 with a 43% growth in sales, the US manufacturer lost market share to China’s OEMs, down three points of share to 17.6%.

World’s top 10 best selling passenger cars - including pickup trucks, excludes LCV and commercial vans (Courtesy JATO)
World’s top 10 best selling passenger cars – including pickup trucks, excludes LCV and commercial vans (Courtesy JATO)

Tesla places two models in the world top ten

Two of the four Tesla models achieved top ten rankings. According to JATO data for fifty-three markets, alongside further research and estimations for a further ninety-five markets, the Tesla Model Y was the world’s third best-selling passenger vehicle in 2022 – only behind the Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Corolla/Levin sedan.

Munoz continued, “It is a historic moment to see a pure electric vehicle not only so close to the top position but a relatively new brand getting so far in the global ranking, particularly given they are not the most affordable vehicles.”

Further down, the Tesla Model 3 occupied the tenth position – down one position compared to 2021. Toyota placed five models in the top 10, while Ford, Nissan and Honda placed one model each.

New light vehicle global sales in million units (Courtesy JATO)
New light vehicle global sales in million units (Courtesy JATO)

SUVs jump to over 41% of market

Despite the overall market falling by almost 2% between 2021 and 2022, sales of SUVs increased by 2.3% to a record 32.8 million units. The global market share for these vehicles jumped from 39.7% in 2021 to 41.3%.

SUVs saw the fastest growth in Europe, with a market share increase of 4.3 points, reaching a new record of 43% of all light vehicle sales – the second highest globally. In North America, SUV sales accounted for 54% of total light vehicle sales, while in China these vehicles represented 41% of the market.

In 2022, the majority of these vehicles sold worldwide were compact SUVs, with a total of 15.6 million units. Sales of small SUVs reached 7.6 million units, followed by midsize SUVs at 5.05 million units, and luxury SUVs at 4.5 million new sales.

The uptick in SUV sales came at the expense of traditional segments such as sedans, hatchbacks, MPVs and wagons which experienced a 2% decline to 33.3 million units. Sales of pickup trucks dropped by 2% due to lower demand in North America –the largest market for these vehicles.

The full report can be seen here.

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