Big changes and interesting stats emerge from 2021 full-year sales results. The impact of the lockdowns and the chip shortage reshaped the motor industry and the ranking by countries. Not all the markets were affected in the same way, and while many suffered the consequences of blocking the demand and the offer, many others made use of the crisis to gain positions.
The data that I was able to gather from many different sources* show that there were 82.06 million light vehicles sold in 2021. The total is the sum of data for 110 countries around the world plus the estimations for the rest. It includes the sales data for passenger cars, pickup trucks and light commercial vehicles.
China is unbeatable
Not only because it is still the largest market by far, but also because China faced very well the crisis. Almost one third of the global vehicle sales occured in China last year. The volume increased by 4% vs 2020, and by 6% vs 2019. It is true that it used to grow faster, but posting growth compared to 2019, when the whole world was under lockdown, is remarkable. The main reason: The strong boost from the central government that made the electric cars more affordable than anywhere else.
In contrast, the US and Europe lost traction over the last 2 years. The former because the EVs have not boosted overall sales, counting for only 3% of total. The latter because the cars are becoming more expensive and the electrification is leaving out many consumers that can’t simply afford an EV.
*National Statistics from each country, CE Auto, JATO, Bestsellingcarsblog, Renault Report