Automakers Are Relying On Developing Markets For Sales Growth

Illustration for article titled Automakers Are Relying On Developing Markets For Sales Growth

A staggering 34.2 percent of all new vehicles sold in the first four months of 2018 were SUVs, with that segment’s 15 percent growth largely responsible for still-rising auto sales.


That’s not just in the U.S., but in all of the 53 markets that analytics firm JATO reports sales data for. Those markets make up 90 percent of the world’s auto sales, so this report is as as close as we get to a complete look at the global auto industry.

Of course, the fact that SUV sales are taking over isn’t anything new. But it is notable to see where new car sales growth is coming from. As markets mature, you no longer have large pools of untapped customers who have never purchased your product and are a reachable source of growth.

This is a natural progression that’s happening already in the U.S., so automakers are increasingly trying to gain footholds in markets that have more room to run. In 2018, JATO says that’s where we’re seeing the big numbers:

Even if almost two in three of the vehicles were sold in China, USA and Europe, most of the growth was driven by emerging countries like India, Brazil and Russia. All three of these markets posted double-digit growth, with India reducing the gap with Japan, and Brazil and Russia leaving behind their crisis years. According to our partner LMC Automotive, Indian vehicle sales are expected to overtake those in Japan by 2021.

Yet those new buyers seem to be buying many of the same vehicles that have dominated bestseller lists for years. These were the top ten nameplates globally, according to the study:

  1. Ford F-Series
  2. Toyota Corolla
  3. Volkswagen Golf
  4. Honda Civic
  5. Nissan X-Trail/Rogue
  6. Toyota Rav4
  7. Volkswagen Tiguan
  8. Volkswagen Passat/Magotan
  9. Honda HR-V/XRV/Vezel
  10. Honda CR-V

Unsurprisingly, the Ford F-Series stands above all other passenger vehicles in the sales race. 336,599 F-Series were sold between January and April, which is particularly impressive given that the vehicle isn’t sold in some of the world’s biggest auto markets.


Right behind the F-Series was the Toyota Corolla, with sales of 309,166. That’s 3.3 percent growth over last year despite the compact car segment contracting five percent as a whole.


In general, the best-seller list isn’t all too surprising. I wasn’t quite expecting the HR-V to make it, but it apparently performs quite well outside of America. If you want to dive into the full report, it’s available to peruse here.

Mack Hogan is Jalopnik's Weekend Editor, but you may know him from his role as CNBC's car critic or his brave (and maligned) takes on Twitter. Most people agree that you shouldn't listen to him.


The Stig's Chamorro cousin (Chamorrovirus)

I’ve been staring at the data in the last chart for 5 minutes. I cannot understand how the “Top Market” could be S Korea or Luxembourg for really anything. Is this measured as total market growth? Total units sold? And how does the total share winner match up against the Top 5 (like where the Titan is called out as the winner but doesn’t even show up in Top5 pickups)?

Help! My engineering brain needs a decoder.