Car sales in Europe increased in June 2017, but by the smallest figure so far this year at +1,7% to 1,52 million. Compared to June 2015, it’s still a healthy growth of 8,2% in 2 years time. The year-to-date figure now stands at 8,37 million sales, an increase of 4,1% on the first half of 2016. This means that in the first half of 2017, we’ve seen only one month of decline, countered by one month of double digit growth, and four months of single digit growth. Of the five largest markets, Italy (+12,9%) and Spain (+6,5%) outperformed, France (+1,6%) showed average growth, but the UK (-4,8%) and Germany (-3,5%) lost volume. New EU member states (+12%) contributed greatly to the overall growth, led by Romania (+47%), Lithuania (+40,6%) and Estonia (+33,7%). Contrastingly to its neighbors, Latvia showed the largest decline at -17,8%. In the first half of 2017, Italy (+8,9%) and Spain (+7,1%) outperformed the market, Germany (+3,1%) and France (+3,0%) also improved, but the UK is into the red with a decline of 1,3%. New member states improved 15,2% vs. an increase of 3,8% for the pre-2004 members. Biggest gainers are Romania at +27% and Croatia at +23,6%, while Ireland (-10%) is the fastest declining market, with only Finland (-1,6%), Latvia (-1%) and the UK as the other shrinking markets.
In terms of manufacturer volume gains, FCA Fiat-Chrysler is the big winner in June, ahead of Toyota Motor and Volkswagen Group, while BMW Group, PSA and Ford Motor are the three biggest volume losers. In terms of relative growth, General Motors (now freed from the burden called Opel/Vauxhall) more than doubles deliveries of its US models, while Tesla Motors and Aston Martin also deliver nice growth on their newly launched models Model X and DB11. On the other end of the scales, Honda continues to bleed in Europe and risks becoming irrelevant if it doesn’t pay more attention to customer’s needs. Speaking of irrelevant brands, Mahindra & Mahindra enjoyed nice growth in recent years on the revival of SsangYong, but the honeymoon is over and the brand appears to have hit the full potential of its current line-up. In South-Korea, there’s already a new generation Rexton, let’s hope this makes it to Europe soon to help the brand continue its growth curve. Like Honda, Subaru treats Europe as an afterthought and also shows double digit declines.