ACEA statistics show European car registration growth in November

14 December 2017

14 December 2017

The latest European new vehicle registration figures show an increase in demand for November 2017 as a number of markets posted high sales increases.

A total of 1,216,702 vehicles were registered during the month, a 5.9% increase over the same period in 2016, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). This was partially driven by the fact that there was an extra working day during November 2017 compared to last year. However, despite this, some key markets performed well, boosting the overall European market.

In the ′big five’ countries, Spain posted an increase of 12.4%, with France posting a 10.3% rise in sales. Following this, Germany saw 9.4% growth with Italy bringing in an extra 6.8% of registrations. However, the UK posted a drop in sales of 11.2%, the eighth month of decline. The country’s new car market has been in negative growth since April when new vehicle excise duty (VED) rates were put in place by the UK Government. While the SMMT expected demand for vehicles to drop compared to record figures in 2016, it was forced to amend down its forecast in November, with expectations of a 4.7% overall fall in sales for the whole year.

While the UK figures affected the European market in September, growth in other countries through October and November have seen the overall increase in registrations. This is also reflected in the year-to-date figures. In the first 11 months of 2017, the market grew 4.1% across the continent, with more than 14 million new passenger cars registered.

Amongst the five big markets, Italy recorded the strongest gains with 8.7%, closely followed by Spain with 7.8%. France has seen registrations grow by 5.3% while Germany posted a modest rise of 3%. The German market has been affected by the diesel crisis, with a summit held during August suggesting the recall of 5.3 million vehicles to have their emissions profiles electronically altered. Also, manufacturers in the country have started scrappage schemes to encourage drivers to buy new, less polluting models. This seems to be paying off, following a difficult September for the market, the last two months have seen positive growth.

The UK, however, is Europe’s worst-performing market, with a year-to-date loss of 5%. Of the 30 markets covered by the ACEA figures, only Finland (-0.3%) and Ireland (-10.3%) are down on their year-to-date numbers. However, both these territories’ figures are meagre compared to the UK market.

Britain’s figures are comparing to a record year in 2016, which itself beat a record-breaking 2015. Following successive years of strong growth, it was only a matter of time until the market began to contract, with the VED increases proving to be a tipping point.

Of the vehicle manufacturers, Volkswagen (VW) maintained its market dominance with a 5% rise in share during November and 2.6% year-to-date, while PSA Group continues to enjoy second place, thanks to its acquisition of Opel in August when the figures from both brands were combined. A rise of 25.6% in its market share is an anomaly that will only be corrected when a full year has passed since the purchase.