Was 2018 the peak for internal-combustion car sales?

Electric-car sales are growing. Total car sales around the world are shrinking.

Put the two together, and the conclusion from many analysts is that sales of cars powered by internal combustion engines around the world have already peaked.

From 2019 onward, they’re likely to do nothing but shrink, according to several automotive analysts interviewed in the Financial Times (subscription required) for a piece published late last month.

The FT quotes several analytics firms forecasting that global auto sales will fall in 2019 compared with a record 95.5 million cars sold in 2018, according to Moody’s Analytics.

There are several factors at play: an international trade war among the U.S., China, and Europe; tighter consumer credit in the world’s largest auto market, China; troubled Brexit negotiations; and tighter European restrictions on carbon-dioxide emissions.

Other analytics firms, including Evercore ISI, Accenture, and Jato Dynamics told the FT that they expect a structural downturn in 2019, based on slower sales in the second half of 2018.

At the same time, sales of electric cars are rising. AlixPartners, a British consulting service, says it expects electric car sales to grow by 1.5 million in 2019, reaching about 1.6 percent of the global market.

“Peak ICE” may already have occurred at the end of 2018, Elmer Kades, global co-leader of AlixPartners’ automotive practice told the FT. “It’s this slowing growth of the overall pie that the industry should be most concerned with, even as it has to … pay for the continuing switchover to electric vehicles.”

Read more: Green Car Reports

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