2017 was a good year for global car sales, according to Jato Dynamics, with the overall market growing by 2.4 percent, or by 2.05 million to a total of 86.05 million to put the true scale of global consumption into perspective.
Ford’s F-Series full-sized pick-up truck remained in top spot, largely by virtue of its popularity in the US (which accounts for 80 percent of its volume), but the compact-to-medium SUV game is the one to watch, with many moving up the ranking in the top 10 in the last year (Nissan X-Trail from 5th to 4th, Toyota Rav4 from 10th to 6th and Hyundai CR-V from 9th to 7th) while Volkswagen’s Tiguan joined the top 10 (from 21st place last year) thanks to huge demand in China.
Some passenger cars were pushed out of the top 10, such as Ford’s Focus which went from 7th to 12th and Hyundai’s Elantra (6th to 15th) but the world hasn’t completely given up on traditional cars, with the Toyota Corolla and VW Golf still taking second and third overall, and the Honda Civic moving into fifth place (from 11th last year).
Notable is the absence of any one-tonne pick-ups such as the Hilux and Ranger in the top 25, as these vehicles are only popular in select markets.
These were the top 25:
Graphic by Jato
According to Jato, the ever-popular SUV genre reached a new record market share of 34 percent last year, with sales up 12.7 percent over 2016. Compact-medium SUVs accounted for almost 40 percent of the total figure, but it was the larger sub-segments that actually drove most of the growth in SUV sales.
SUVs accounted for the largest market share in the three largest regions (China, North America and Europe), but were not as sought after in the smaller regions.
Polo-sized 'sub-compact' cars were the most popular type in the Latin America and the Asia-Pacific regions last year, while the even smaller 'city cars' enjoyed the biggest market share in Japan.
As for fuel types, petrol engines still accounted for the lion’s share of sales (72.5 percent overall) while diesel declined by 3.7 percent. Alternative fuel vehicles (which includes hybrids and full-electric cars) saw a 27.7 percent increase in sales, albeit off a very low base and ultimately accounting for just 4.4 percent of the total share.
Encouraging growth in India and Latin America
The biggest overall market growth took place in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, with double-digit increases in 13 markets, including Russia, Thailand and Argentina, while growth slowed in China.
Another strong performer was India, which grew by 8.8 percent and if it continues on the same trajectory this market could soon be bigger than Germany.
South Africa saw modest year-on-year growth of 1.8 percent in 2017.