Globally, auto sales in 2023 are forecasted to grow modestly compared to 2022 but are expected to remain well below pre-pandemic levels. The automotive industry had a slow start in the first half of 2022 as semiconductor shortages, persistent inflation, further COVID-19 lockdowns and Russia's war on Ukraine caused significant auto production cuts. The auto industry picked up speed in the second half of 2022 with the U.S., Chinese and European markets all experiencing a rebound in sales.
Through the first quarter of 2023, global vehicle sales are up 12% as supply chain issues ease worldwide. Global light vehicle sales declined 0.5% in 2022 relative to 2021 as lingering supply chain constraints slowed sales in the first half of 2022.2 In the U.S., light vehicle sales declined 9.4% year-over-year (Y-o-Y) to 13.7 million units in 2022.4 U.S. vehicle sales are expected to grow to 14.6 million units, up 6.8% from 2022 but still below average levels.
As of March 2023, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of Chinese auto sales was 26.3 million units. In 2022, sales rose 10.2% to 23.2 million units. As the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) market, nearly 35% of new vehicles sold in China are EVs. New EV sales in China are expected to grow to eight million units this year.