After a 7% decline in January and a 2,6% decline in February, European new car sales were down by 3,7% in March 2019, to 1,76 million sales. For the first quarter of the year, sales are down 4,4% to 4,07 million units. Most of the decline can still be attributed to the after effects of the introduction of new fuel efficiency and emissions testing standard called WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedure) in September. March sales figures are traditionally heavily influenced by the UK market, for which this is the highest volume month of the year by far. Fortunately, despite all the uncertainties facing this market, its decline was not as bad as generally expected. However, all major European markets were in the red in March, as Italy posted the highest percentage drop (-9,6%), followed by Spain (-4,3%), the United Kingdom (-3,4%), France (-2,3%) and Germany (-0,5%). Just nine out of the 30 countries of the EU and EFTA showed growth in March, with the fastest growing markets Lithuania (+43,8%), Denmark (+33,2%), Norway (+27,6%), and Romania (+20,8%). In the first quarter registrations remained almost flat in Germany (+0,2%), while the other key markets performed worse than in the first quarter of 2018, most notably Spain (-6,9%) and Italy (-6,5%).
After a 7% decline in January, European new car sales were down by 2,75% in February 2019, to 1,12 million sales. For the first two months of the year, sales are down 5% to 2,31 million units. Most of the decline can still be attributed to the after effects of the introduction of new fuel efficiency and emissions testing standard called WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedure) in September. Among the major markets, demand for new cars increased modestly in Germany (+2,7%), France (+2,1%) and the United Kingdom (+1,4%) last month. However, in Spain (-8,8%) and Italy (-2,4%) car registrations continued to decrease for the sixth consecutive month. Among the smaller European markets, Lithuania was the most dynamic with sales almost doubling (+94,5%), followed by Romania (+37,5%), Hungary (+12,6%), Greece (+10,6%) and Luxembourg (+10,4%). Fastest declining markets were Iceland (-30,9% to just 801 registrations), Cyprus (-17,7% to 891 registrations), Sweden (-14,9%) and Netherlands (-14,5%), with Finland (-11,3%) and Austria (-10,8%) also down by double digits.
Year-to-date, some markets saw a strong drop compared to last year, most notably Spain (-8,4%) and Italy (-4,9%), but new passenger car registrations remained more or less stable in Germany (+0,6%), France (+0,5%) and the United Kingdom (-0,6%).
After ending on a down note in the last quarter of 2018, European car sales continue their negative trend in January 2019. Registrations of new passenger cars were down 3,9% to nearly 1,23 million sales, still above 2017 levels. Most of the decline can still be attributed to the after effects of the introduction of new fuel efficiency and emissions testing standard called WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedure) in September. Demand for new cars fell across almost the entire European Union, including the five major markets. Spain and Italy posted the strongest declines (down 8% and 7,5% respectively), while the United Kingdom was surprisingly stable at ‐1,6%. Germany (‐1,4%) and France (‐1,1%) also did better than average. Best performing market was Lithuania (+49%), followed by Romania (+18,8%) and Hungary (+9,2%). The only other markets to improve on 2018 were Portugal (+8,3%), Denmark (+7%), Greece (+3,7%) and Latvia (+0,7%). The biggest declines were seen in Iceland (-47,9% to just 846 registrations), Netherlands (-18,8%) and Czech Republic (-17%).
The European car market seemed to be on another year of growth after the first half of 2018, when sales were up 3%. After July, the year-to-date figure was up 3,5%, but then the introduction of the new WLTP fuel efficiency standards caused total chaos in the sales charts. August sales were up 26,3% as carmakers rushed to register unsold non-compliant model/engine combinations before the September 1 deadline. From that date onwards, only vehicle types that had been tested under the new standard for fuel consuption and emissions testing were allowed to be sold as new vehicles in Europe. As a lot of model/engine combinations had not been tested yet and would no longer be available in Europe until they were tested. Some brands and manufacturers were better prepared than others, but overall the market sunk by more than 7% in each of the last four months of the year and this adverse effect will continue to negatively influence the European car market in the first few months of 2019. December was actually the worst month of the year, both in terms of absolute figures (just over 1 million sales) and in comparison to the year before (except for the dramatic September month of course), with a decline of 8,6%. [Read more…]
In 2018, light vehicle sales in China declined for the first time since 1990, as 23,27 million passenger cars were sold, 4% fewer than in 2017. Including minibuses and light and heavy commercial vehicles, the total car market in China declined 2,8% to 28,1 million in 2018. Sales of new energy vehicles (battery electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell [Read more…]
European car sales have been on a wild ride in the second half of 2018, due to the introduction in September of a new fuel efficiency and emissions testing standard called WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedure), to which many manufacturers have found themselves unprepared. After September 1st , only vehicle types that had been tested under the new standard were allowed to be sold as new vehicles in Europe. That meant that every version of every model sold in the continent needed to be retested, but despite working round the clock, the testing agencies just didn’t have enough capacity to get this done in time. With some vehicle/engine combinations “illegal” after September 1st, automakers rushed to register these vehicles in August, leading to a 26,4% sales gain in what’s usually the slowest month of the year by far. However, as these unsold vehicles still needed to end up in consumers’ hands, sales in September suffered a backdrop of 23,1% as for the first time in modern history fewer cars were sold in September than in August. In the following months, sales continued to suffer from the continued backlog of pre-registered but unsold vehicles as well as reduced availability of certain model/engine combinations. Some manufacturers have been hit harder than others, with VW Group and Renault-Nissan among the hardest hit by the new testing procedures.
Sales of passenger cars in Europe increased by 7,5% in July 2018, the second largest increase of the year so far, also helped by an extra selling day compared with July 2017. A total of nearly 1,28 million vehicles were sold during this month. The major EU markets showed very diverse results, with Spain (+19,1%) and France (+18,5%) showing the biggest growth of the top 5 markets. Germany also showed healthy growth at +12% while car sales in Italy were up 4,4% and the UK was up 1,2%. Lithuania is the fastest growing market with an increase of 56,4%, followed by Croatia (+43,7%) Romania (+34,2%), Portugal (+26,1%), and Poland (+25,7%).
In the first half of 2018, European passenger car sales are up 3% to 8,6 million, with new EU member states contributing the most at +11,4%. Among major markets, Spain (+10,1%) is the biggest gainer, followed by France (+4,7%) and Germany (+2,9%) while sales in Italy (-1,4%) and the UK (‐6,3%) are falling. Crossover sales are up 22,9% in the first half, while car models lost 3,1% and MPVs lost 17,5%.
In June 2018, sales of passenger cars in Europe increased by 5,5% after an almost flat May. A total of just over 1,6 million vehicles were sold in this period. The major EU markets showed very diverse results, with positive scores for France (+9,2%), Spain (+8%) and Germany (+4,2%), but losses for United Kingdom (-3,5%) and Italy (-7,3%). Sweden is the fastest growing market with an increase of 72,9% as consumers have pulled forward their car purchases in anticipation of a tax change which has gone in effect July 1st. This change benefits green vehicles but makes gas guzzlers more expensive, with an overall increase expected. This makes the 66.244 vehicles sold the biggest month in history for the Swedish car market and makes Sweden the #6 market in Europe this month. Other fast growing markets in June were Romania (+52,4%), Hungary (+30,6%), Croatia (+24,3%) and Greece (+24%). In the negative were most notably the tiny markets of Cyprus (-25,4%) and Iceland (-17,4%), as well as Ireland (-10,6%).
In May 2018, sales of passenger cars in Europe were virtually flat at +0,8% after an almost 10% gain in April. A total of just over 1,4 million vehicles were sold in this period, bringing the year-to-date total to just over 7 million in five months, an increase of 2,4%. The major EU markets showed very diverse results, with Spain (+7,2%) and the United Kingdom (+3,4%) in the black, while Germany (‐5,8%) and Italy (‐2,8%) saw their demand for cars decline in May. Sales in France (+0,1%) were flat. Fastest growing markets were Romania (+43,3%), Bulgaria (+34,6%) and Lithania (+32,6%), the only three markets posting growth of more than 17,5%. In the negative was most notably Iceland (-25,7%), but also Norway (-8%), Czech Republic (-4,8%), Luxembourg (-3,1%) and Switzerland (-2,1%).