According to IHS Markit Piers data, 640,000 cars have left the United States inside containers, 25% more than the previous year. Demand has grown across all but one region worldwide.
A weaker US dollar attracted more overseas buyers to the states in search of their dream cars. Accounting for the exchange rate, European buyers were able to save up to 20% compared to the previous year.
Many of the cars exported remained wide and varied. Classic cars of all makes and models were a popular export around the world. Mainland Europe was the largest importer, followed by Australia and New Zealand. By our estimates, over 35,000 classics have left the US last year.
However, that number pales in comparison to the hottest export from the US. Salvage vehicles were responsible for increased volume to nearly all countries that allow them to be imported.
Thanks to last year’s vigorous storm season, insurance companies in the US have written off over 600,000 vehicles due to damages. A record number found new life overseas, where they were fixed, or parted out. Upon arriving overseas, some salvage cars were again re-exported via ground transport to surrounding countries.
With another tumultuous storm season expected this year, exporters foresee even greater demand in 2018.
And it wasn’t only the pre-owned, salvage, and classic cars that made their way overseas in containers. A record number of new vehicles were shipped, some sent by the manufacturers themselves. BMW for example, exported over 24,000 brand new vehicles from their manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina to dealerships across Russia.
Electric and hybrid car imports from the US have flourished as well. Tesla led the way with over 40,000 brand new vehicles delivered around the world. Their top destinations being Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia.
The data shows that it was another successful year in US car exports. Shipping costs remained at record lows, and transit times continued to improve. We expect 2018 to continue this trend.