20 In-Depth Global and US Auto Sales Statistics For 2020

This article features an in-depth overview of the most recent US auto sales statistics, including the number of car sales by year, state, and more!

When it comes to the good ol’ USA,  auto sales have seen a huge spike in numbers due to increased economic output, improved transportation infrastructure, and the on-going industrialization of the world. What’s more, our sources indicate that some 74–78 million vehicles are sold around the world on a yearly basis. 

Still, a significant percentage of these vehicles are sold in the US (more so than anywhere else in the world), where the automotive market is worth tens of billions of dollars annually. 

This article will cover the most important US car sales statistics to help readers gain a better understanding of the market. Some of the main topics that will be discussed include the number of car sales by model and manufacturer, vehicle sales by state, the number of yearly car purchases, the increased prevalence of electric cars, and more. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive straight in!

Car Sales Statistics in the US — Editor’s Choice

  • In terms of US car sales by model, the Ford F-Series represents the best-selling US car with 896,526 units sold during 2019.
  • In 2019, some 17 million vehicles were sold in the US alone.
  • Second-hand vehicle sales have increased twofold compared to new cars in the US.
  • According to Statista, roughly 74 million new cars will be sold in 2020 worldwide.
  • During 2018, a total of 896,007 personal vehicles were sold in California, which ranks first in terms of US car sales.

US Car Sales by Manufacturer and Model 

  1. The Ford F-Series was the best-selling model in the US (in 2019), according to the following chart:

US Vehicles sold in 2019 by manufacturer and model

Car Sales Report by Year

  1. 2016 was the year with the largest number of retail light-vehicle sales (passenger cars and light trucks) in the US, as seen in the following table:
YearNumber of Cars Sold
201011.55 million
201112.74 million
201214.43 million
201315.53 million 
201416.45 million
201517.39 million
201617.46 million
201717.13 million
201817.21 million
201916.96 million

Based on this car sales data table, we start noticing trends that have influenced the US car sales market in recent years. 

Car sales reached an all-time low in 2009 largely due to the economic crisis (of the period) when only 10.4 million vehicles were sold in the US. Yet, soon after, we got an all-time high 17.46 million units being sold in 2016. 

Recent automobile sales figures seem to indicate that the number of cars being sold is slowly decreasing. Yet, it is doing so at a rate that is currently having no impact whatsoever on the automotive industry as a whole. 

Additionally, most experts suggest that the appearance of cheaper and better electric cars will soon drive these numbers up again.

Source: Statista

New Cars vs Used Cars

  1. Total auto sales for second-hand vehicles have increased twofold compared to new car sales in the US

Over time, the recorded data has shown that the number of new car sales has never exceeded the number of used vehicles sold during the same reference period. 

Source: Statista

  1. 40.42 million used cars were sold in 2018, compared to just 17.21 million new vehicles

Similar used and new car statistics have been reported annually for the past decade. For instance, 17.14 million new cars and 39.2 million used cars were sold back in 2017.

Source: Statista

  1. 2009 marked the worst year for both new and second-hand car sales

Due to the financial crisis, only 10.4 million new cars and 35.5 million used vehicles were sold in the US in 2009, as pointed out by annual car sales, in what is often referred to as the worst year for vehicle sales. Similar trends were reported in other regions of the world as well. 

Source: Statista

  1. 2005 was the year with the largest number of second-hand car sales in the US, according to the table below:
YearThe Number of Used Cars Sold
200041.6 million
200544.1 million
201038.8 million
201441.2 million

Source: LiveAbout

US Vehicle Sales by State

  1. The highest number of car sales is most often recorded in California — in 2018, a total of 896,007 personal vehicles were sold in said state

2018’s numbers place California well above most other states, as we will see later on in more depth.

Source: Statista 

  1. Florida represents the second-highest state in terms of the number of cars being sold in 2018. 

According to Statista, 511,530 passenger car sales were recorded, as shown by automotive sales figures. This highlights California’s supremacy in terms of overall vehicle sales within the States. 

When accounting for second-hand sales as well, reports indicate that roughly 1.3 million light vehicles were sold and purchased in Florida during the same year. 

Source: Statista 

9. Texas ranked third on the said list with 450,825 new car sales in 2018, as shown by automobile sales data down below:

  • 1st place: California, 896,007 sales
  • 2nd place: Florida, 511,530 sales
  • 3rd place: Texas, 450,825 sales
  • 4th place: New York, 280,607 sales
  • 5th place: Oklahoma, 260,175 sales
  • 6th place: Illinois, 184,752 sales
  • 7th place: Pennsylvania, 179,470 sales
  • 8th place: Georgia, 179,402 sales
  • 9th place: Ohio 175,681 sales
  • 10th place: North Carolina, 153,736 sales

Source: Statista

US Electric Car Sales Statistics

  1. California represents the largest US market for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, as shown by US annual car sales

This is mostly due to California’s friendly regulatory framework towards electric vehicles. The state has also financed the creation of several electric vehicle charging points, thus contributing to the local EV infrastructure. 

Source: Statista

  1. 4.7% of new vehicles sold during 2018 in California were EVs

This percentage gets even higher if we take second-hand sales into account, as reported by automotive statistics. Thus, it is no surprise that California is actively incentivizing electric vehicles, while also allowing trials of self-driving cars

Source: Statista

  1. According to Statista, by 2030, there will be over 3 million electric vehicles driving on California roads

This figure just goes on to show that infrastructure investments are still necessary, not only in California but also in other states, judging how these vehicles are bound to cross state lines. Predictions do in fact show that California will continue holding the highest number of EVs of the total number of cars in the US. 

Source: Statista

  1. There were 3.3 million electric vehicles in use worldwide during 2018

Since then, it is quite likely that the number has surpassed the 4 million units threshold. The appearance of multiple affordable models will lead to an even higher increase in EV sales, as reported by most market experts. Thus, over the next few years, the world will see an abrupt increase in EV auto sales numbers. 

Source: Statista

  1. Tesla currently represents the best-selling EV brand in the US

This statistic isn’t just applicable to the US exclusively. Rather, Tesla represents the world’s biggest EV manufacturer, with millions of units sold around the globe. 

Source: Statista

  1. The Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling EV in the US, back in 2018

Model 3 was designed to serve as an affordable run-of-the-mill EV, meant to target budget car sales. Yet, it remains quite luxurious when compared to most other cars on the market. Its low price, high range, and insane acceleration performance makes it one of the best EVs available on the market today. 

Source: Statista

  1. In 2018, 2 million plug-in light vehicles were sold around the globe

These numbers are growing rapidly as more and more businesses pursue long-term sustainability through eco-friendly alternatives. This also includes the number of EV cars sold in the US. 

Source: Statista

  1. 7.3% of newly-registered cars in the UK operate via alternative fuel sources

Similar values are being recorded in other Western countries as well. Regardless, Northern Europe is paving the way in terms of overall EV usage. 

Source: Statista

  1. 0.8% of European cars were classed as either hybrid or electric vehicles during 2017

As such, the European market is also seeing the numerous benefits of electric vehicles. However, mass-adoption is not feasible, nor sustainable if the charging infrastructure is not upgraded. When making a comparison with US car sales by model, the same brands are popular in both Europe and the US. Still, Europe sees more NEVs. 

Source: Eurostat

Worldwide Car Sales Statistics

  1. According to Statista, roughly 74 million new cars will be sold in 2020 worldwide

This is based on predictions made by auto industry experts. We can notice a downward trend caused by the slowdown in the global economy — the number of car sales by company has declined over the past few years. An important factor worth pointing out is that initial predictions pointed towards the sale of 80 million units during 2019 — however, this figure was never reached.

Source: Statista

  1. Approximately 21 million vehicles were sold in China in 2019

Asia accounts for a significant percentage of global car sales. Yet, the biggest share is held by the Chinese market, thanks to its large population and vast purchasing power. 

Source: Statista

Bottom Line

Hopefully, the US car sales statistics featured in this article have expanded your understanding of the car market in the US as well as around the globe. Most trends indicate that in the future, the number of gas, petrol, and diesel-based vehicles will fall considerably, giving way to electric vehicles. Most manufacturers will remain in business, yet market changes will also favor electric-focused brands such as Tesla and other relevant competitors, which will be responsible for a significant percentage of future American cars’ sales.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many cars are sold in the US each year?

According to Statista, roughly 4.7 million passenger cars were sold in the US in 2019. In terms of cars and light trucks, reports indicate 17 million in sales. 

2. What is the #1 selling car in America?

The Ford F-Series seems to be the leader in terms of car sales in the US, as almost 900,000 models were sold during 2019 alone. 

3. Which company has the most US car sales?

The Ford Motor Corporation represents the biggest US-based manufacturer — therefore, the company produces and sells the largest number of cars nationally. In fact, the Ford F-Series is the best selling car in the US market. 

4. Are car sales declining?

Yes — trends seem to indicate that global car sales are steadily declining. However, the downtrend is relatively minimal and will likely not impact manufacturers. Yearly car sales are likely to increase again as electric vehicles become more affordable — this will likely happen in the near future, seeing how manufacturers around the world have invested billions into the research and development of electric cars, EV auto sales by manufacturer reveal. 

5. How many electric cars are on the road?

Back in 2018, it was estimated that there would be 5 million electric vehicles on the world’s roads. Since then, the number of EVs has increased significantly. In the US, all the predictions estimate that the number of EVs being driven on US roads will surpass the 18 million mark by the year 2030, as USA auto sales indicate. Additionally, global EVs will likely surpass the 50 million mark as well.

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