I have finally finished the analysis of global passenger car sales by segments in 2019. It took me months to collect the information, analyze it and process the numbers for each one of the markets where data is available. These are the results.
SUVs gained even more traction
The popularity of SUVs continued in 2019. These vehicles counted for 39% of global passenger car sales. Volume totaled 31.13 million units, up by 3% compared to 2018 figures. It was one of the only two segments that registered an increase.
They were particularly popular in China, Russia, Europe, the Middle East and USA-Canada. Thanks to lower prices and a wider offer, they also gained traction in emerging markets like India and Latin America, where they gained more than 2 percentage points of share.
Renault-Nissan was once again the world’s top SUV seller following the popularity of Nissan Rogue/X-Trail, Nissan Qashqai and Renault/Dacia Duster. However, many of its models got old while the aggressive offensive of some rivals started to pay off. It was the case of Volkswagen Group.
The continuous introductions of new SUVs, allowed the German maker to outsell Toyota in the SUV ranking, becoming the second largest by volume. VW Group sold around 3.5 million SUVs, up by 37%. They have been quite successful with the entry-level Volkswagens, the premium Audis, and the luxury Porsche/Lamborghini.
Pickups also drive growth
Sales of pickup trucks jumped from 5.33 million units in 2018 to 5.52 million last year. The increase also allowed these vehicles to increase their market share and climb two positions in the ranking by segments, by outselling the city-cars and MPVs.
In addition to the strong position in North America, these vehicles are also very popular in Latin America and South East Asia. In fact, these three markets represent more than 90% of global pickup sales. Ford, GM and FCA lead the segment thanks to their strong presence in USA and Canada.
We have to remember that along with SUVs and LCVs, the pickups are still an important source of profits. They stopped being the boxy and ugly working vehicles and became the cool and tough big vehicle that can be also be used for fun. And they are as expensive as SUVs.
The Corolla Sedan dominates
We all know that the Toyota Corolla is the world’s top-selling vehicle. It has ruled for some years following its success in North America and its strong presence in almost all Asian markets, Australia, the Middle East, Europe and some Latin American countries. However, my ranking is the only one you will find with the body-type split, and that changes everything.
The information indicates that the sedan version of the Corolla led the ranking by models split by body-type. This car found 1.21 million new clients in 2019, up a massive 8%. The total excludes the sales of the wagon and hatchback versions.
The second best-selling vehicle was also a Toyota – the RAV4. Following the introduction of the latest generation in late 2018, the RAV4 has proved to be very successful. Last year, the brand sold 963,500 units, up by 19%, thanks to strong increases in Canada, Japan, Taiwan and Mexico. Its European and Latin American volume soared by 35% and 79% respectively.
This large C-SUV was followed by its rival – the Honda CR-V – which benefited from double-digit growth in China. The top 10 was then completed by other two SUVs (also Japanese), four more sedans (all Japanese) and one pickup truck (the Ford F-150).
The Volkswagen Polo (-18%) was the best-selling hatchback; Honda positioned the Jazz/Fit and N-Box as the top-selling MPV and city-car respectively. The Subaru Legacy/Outback was the most popular wagon with 217,600 units (-2%). The top-selling coupe was the Ford Mustang, while the Mini Cabrio was the world’s top-selling convertible.
Three FCA models in top 50
While the Ram 1500 was the world’s 12th best-selling vehicle in 2019, FCA was able to put the Jeep Compass and Jeep Grand Cherokee among the top 50 most popular. It means that there were no Fiats among the best-selling cars, as the Panda, Fiat’s top-seller, occupied the position 109th in the ranking.
Source: national car sales statistics associations, ACEA, OICA, own research, FGW database, JATO, Bestsellingcarsblog, Autodata, Statista.