European car sales drop in October as WLTP effect continues

15 November 2018

15 November 2018

Car sales in Europe continue to remain in a state of flux following the introduction of WLTP, with the continent posting a decline in registrations in October.

According to figures released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), sales across the EU fell by 7.3% in the tenth month of the year. Although this is an improvement on figures in September, the exceptional surge of sales in the summer due to the implementation of WLTP and the lack of supply following this has had an impact on the market.

A total of 1,083,635 cars were sold across the continent. However, each of the biggest five markets registered drops in registrations. The best-performing country of these was France, with sales dropping by just 1.5%, while the UK registered a market drop of 2.9%. Next came Spain with a decline of 6.6%, while Germany and Italy each fell by 7.4%.

The recent figures have also impacted the year-to-date growth, with the European market now showing a moderate increase in registrations, up 1.6% on the first ten months of 2017. However, three of the continent’s big five markets are still up on the same period last year, with Spain posting a 10% increase, followed by France with 5.7% and Germany with a rise of 1.4%. The Italian market has declined by 3.2%, while the UK continues to struggle, and is 7.2% down year-to-date.

Manufacturer effect

Volkswagen Group had been vocal in its struggles with WLTP implementation, announcing before the 1 September deadline that around half its models, including its leading Golf hatchback, had not cleared the process, although most of these vehicles would be available from the end of the month.

This supply issue has seen the group’s sales drop by 21.5% in October, according to ACEA figures, with the core Volkswagen brand declining 14.8% and Audi by 53.9%. Only the company’s Skoda brand remained stable, with a 0.1% drop in registrations.

Volkswagen Group was the second worst performer of the month, with only Nissan, whose sales were down by 28.8%, beating it. Overall year-to-date, however, the carmaker remains up by 2.9%.

PSA Group posted a decline of just 0.7% in the month, having announced early on that all its models were WLTP compliant, while Renault also suffered, with sales dropping by 14.9%. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) also posted a decline of 13.6%, with its Alfa Romeo brand dropping 43.6% of sales compared to October 2018.

Volkswagen was the only German manufacturer to suffer in the month, however, with BMW Group sales increasing 14.5%, and Daimler selling 7.5% more vehicles. Elsewhere, Ford had a stable month with just a 0.7% decline, while Jaguar Land Rover, a company that recently announced a turnaround plan, saw sales increase 13.3% in October.