Europe sees new vehicle growth in the first month of 2018

15 February 2018

15 February 2018

The European new car market has begun 2018 with a strong January as the industry builds on the ten-year high achieved during 2017.

Registrations for the first month of the year grew by 7.1% with 1.25 million units sold across the continent, according to figures released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).

Growth was driven by impressive results in four of the continent’s five main markets, although almost all countries registered gains. Spain showed the highest gains on 2017, with a total of 101,661 vehicles sold for a 20.3% rise. This was followed by Germany, where 269,429 sales represented the highest sales total in Europe and growth of 11.6%.

Italy grew its numbers by 3.4% with 177,822 vehicles registered, while France was the last of the big five countries to record growth, up 2.5% with 156,846 units sold. However, the UK saw a drop of 6.3% compared to January 2017, although last year’s figures were higher than average for the first month of the year in the country.

′January is usually a strong month — people resorted to buying after holding back on purchases at the end of last year,’ a spokeswoman for ACEA said, adding the number of selling days was unchanged compared with the same month a year earlier.

Amongst manufacturers, Volkswagen Group remained the continent’s market leader, growing its overall sales by 8.7% compared to January 2017, thanks to strong performances from all its brands, with the mainstream Volkswagen marque increasing by 4.4%.

PSA Group remained second in the market with a 73.2% rise for a total of 211,097 units sold. However, this includes Opel and Vauxhall sales, which were not added to the group’s figures until August 2017, following the acquisition of the brands from General Motors. Opel recorded a loss during the month, as did the company’s DS marque, down 22.3%, albeit on low initial sales volumes.

Fellow French manufacturer Renault Group recorded the biggest gains of any vehicle maker during the month, with an increase of 9.5%, thanks to a 6% increase within its core Renault brand, and a 17% rise in sales at ′budget’ brand Dacia.

Of all manufacturers selling in Europe, only two made a loss during the month, Nissan ending January with a 2% drop in sales, while Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) saw a decrease of 6%, although this represents a fall of 1,020 vehicles.