Global car sales expected to shrink by more than 4m units

BERLIN (Xinhua/APP): Global sales of new cars are expected to decrease from 83.7 million in 2018 to approximately 79.5 million in 2019, according to a study by the German CAR Institute from Wednesday.

“The year 2019 will be more stressful for the global automotive industry” than during the global financial crisis in 2009, said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the CAR Institute.

Global sales of new cars had already fallen by 1.1 million in 2018, marking the first decline in eight years, according to the study sent to Xinhua on Wednesday.

One of the main reasons for the strongest global decline in new car sales in more than 20 years would be the “large uncertainties due to tariff wars and sanctions imposed by the US government under President Donald Trump”, explained CAR director Dudenhoeffer.

Dudenhoeffer said sales of new cars in markets such as China had been declining for a year.

German car makers are also suffering from weaker business with China. Germany’s largest car maker Volkswagen recorded a decline in deliveries to China of more than 13 percent in the first quarter of 2019 while Daimler and its Mercedes-Benz brand recorded a decline of 3 percent.

According to the Car Institute, only the “very volatile” Brazilian car market was able to slightly increase its sales of new cars between January and April 2019.

By contrast, many other car markets recorded significant declines. In Argentina, 58 percent fewer new cars were sold in the first four months of this year than in the same period last year while in Turkey sales declined by 47 percent.

Further uncertainties such as an escalating financial crisis in Italy, punitive US tariffs on European cars as well as Brexit would not have been taken into account, according to the CAR Institute.

“The crisis scenario could hardly be any bigger,” concluded Dudenhoeffer.