Why Car Sales Are Declining Worldwide

Beijing_Traffic_SmogThe world may have hit automobile saturation, which is evidenced by a sharp decline in car sales across the United States and Europe.

Since the great global economic meltdown of 2007-2008, car sales in the developed world have declined steadily and continue to decline in both the US and Europe. In fact, the registration of new cars in the US in 2012 was 14.5 million, far fewer than the 16 million sold in 2007.

Perhaps of even greater significance is that Americans are driving far less than in previous years. Americans drove three times more in 2007 than they did in 1975, more than 3 trillion total miles. However, post-2007, total miles driven has dropped by 100 billion miles in the US and is continuing to drop.

Europe is seeing car registrations drop to 12.5 million vehicles, and 2013 may see a drop to 11 million cars. Europeans have seen new car sales steadily drop in the past six years as public transit has become more ubiquitous and fuel costs have risen, deterring many would-be drivers. Many European cities also provide safe areas to walk and bicycle.

This sounds like promising news…

However, China, India, and the rest of Southeast Asia continue to hit record levels of new car sales. In a country so thick with air pollution that its citizens have to wear face masks when outside, China sold 19.3 new cars last year. Car sales are projected to rise another 10% in 2013.


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  • Chris Chatteris

    Worldwide? Really? Asia does constitute a hefty chunk of the world. And whatever happened to Africa?