Covid-19 transforms global car sales landscape: report

2023.05.25 13:29:01 | 2023.05.25 13:55:58

Toyota Corolla [Photo provided by Toyota]이미지 확대

Toyota Corolla [Photo provided by Toyota]



The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a significant shift in the global automotive sales landscape, with sports utility vehicles (SUVs) surpassing sedans for the second consecutive year to become the best-selling vehicle type worldwide.

The rise in remote activities and increased emphasis on spacious car utilization by consumers have contributed to this trend, while the strong preference for SUVs in the world’s largest automotive market China, has played a significant role in this transformation, according to a report from Korea Automotive Technology Institute on Wednesday.

SUVs accounted for 40.8 percent of global car sales last year, surpassing sedans with 35.2 percent for the second consecutive year. The increase in SUV sales can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. The popularity of SUVs has soared as leisure activities such as car camping have gained traction, allowing people to carry more cargo, the report said.

In terms of sales volume, the Tesla Model Y emerged as the best-selling SUV last year, with a staggering 864,763 units sold. The Toyota RAV4 secured the third spot in global sales, while the Hyundai Tucson made it into the top 10. On the other hand, compact sedans have experienced a decline in popularity. Traditional high-selling compact sedans like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic have witnessed a continuous decline in sales over the past five years.

With the growing popularity of electric vehicles worldwide, the most sold car models are expected to change as well. Tesla’s aggressive price cut policies and the benefits of EV subsidies in the U.S. led to the Model Y outselling the traditional best-seller, the Corolla, by almost double the volume in the first quarter, with 326,000 units sold.

The report predicts that considering the current trend, the Model Y is likely to take the top spot as the world’s best-selling car in the overall automotive market this year, including internal combustion engine vehicles.

Another notable change is the expansion of the EV market in China. The introduction of the ultra-affordable compact electric car, the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV, enabled the brand to enter the global top 10 car sales list for the first time last year.

This marks the first time a Chinese finished car company entered the top 10.

The Hongguang Mini EV sold 572,757 units last year, securing the ninth position. The report said the car’s small size, practicality and competitive pricing have captured the hearts of young Chinese consumers.

By Park So-ra and Minu Kim

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