Global car sales grew 2.4% in 2017 to 86.05m I 2017, according to data from JATO Dynamics.

According to JATO, SUVs contributed significantly to the automotive industry’s strong performance, accounting for the largest market share in China, North America and Europe, the three largest regions.

Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst, said: “The automotive market performed well in 2017, with established economies maintaining growth, whilst developing markets like Russia and Brazil returned to growth following declines last year.”

Europe, Asia-Pacific (excluding China, Japan and South Korea) and Latin America were described as the key drivers of growth in 2017. South America on the whole recorded double digit growth, up 14.6% to 3.4m. JATO said it recorded double digit growth in 13 markets, including Russia, Thailand and Argentina.

Although there was overall growth globally, there were declines in some significant markets. The UK, Europe’s second largest car market shrank, as did the South Korean and Mexican markets. The USA – the second largest car market in the world – saw sales shrink 2% to 17.2m.

In the world’s biggest market, China, 25.8m cars sold represented a 2.3% growth, which JATO noted was slower than in previous years.

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By GlobalData

“The results in 2017 show that despite the crisis with the diesel fuel type and localised issues such as Brexit causing European uncertainty, the automotive market as a whole is continuing to grow. It will be interesting to see how the role of the emerging markets increases in importance, with India projected to overtake Germany as the fourth largest car market globally, and Latin America showing positive signs,” Munoz added.

In terms of fuel types, estimated data showed that petrol cars and LCVs continued to dominate the market in 2017, with 72.5% market share. AFVs showed strong growth, with a 27.7% increase which took its volume to 3.8m units, and meant it had a market share of 4.4%.

Diesel sales over the year declined 3.7%, due to its strong dependence on the European region, which accounted for two in three diesel cars sold in 2017. Outside of Europe, Thailand, New Zealand and South Korea all remain strong markets for diesels.