Promising new-car performances from France, Spain and Italy in November

07 December 2023


France, Spain and Italy all recorded positive new-car registration results in November. The Italian market led the way, growing 16.2% year on year, followed by France climbing 14% and then Spain up 7%.

Industry associations from across the three key countries all forecast promising outcomes for 2023, with expectations for considerable improvements on a disappointing 2022. However, incentives are still a key driver of market momentum, making anticipated changes of pivotal importance.

Planned purchases in France

Data from CCFA revealed that 152,710 new cars were registered in France last month. This marked the 15th consecutive month of growth, with the market up 14% on November 2022. This pushed the year-to-date total to nearly 1.6 million units, up 16.2%. ‘One thing is certain: 2023 will be up compared to 2022,’ AAA Data said.

Inflation and the ecological transition have pushed more people in France towards rental financing solutions. Leasing with a purchase option and long-term leasing made up 58% of new-car sales in November. Direct purchases accounted for only 38%. Leasing solutions accounted for 56% of private customer sales, compared with purchases making up 44%.

Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) received a boost in November, taking a market share of 20%, up from 17% in October. With 30,769 deliveries, all-electric registrations grew 52% year on year. This was the result of consumers planning purchases ahead of proposed eco-incentive changes next year.

Hybrids captured a combined market share of 36% in November, with 54,637 registrations (up 30%). This included 24,346 full hybrids (HEVs), up 37%, 15,728 mild hybrids (MHEVs), up 35%, and 14,512 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), up 18%.

Petrol made up 32% of the new-car market, with 48,815 units up 1% on November 2022. Meanwhile, diesel sales plunged by 28% to 13,227 registrations, capturing a 9% share.

An announcement that Paris could see significantly increased parking rates for SUVs driven by non-residents did not slow registrations of the body type. The larger models accounted for 45.8% of the new-car market, with registrations up 17% to 69,936 units.

‘While this type of vehicle did not exist two decades ago, SUVs are experiencing growing success with buyers, with an offer that grows from year to year. As such, electrification is most likely the upcoming growth driver for this segment,’ Marie-Laure Nivot, head of automotive market analysis at AAA Data.

Improvement expected in Italy

The Italian new-car market recorded 139,278 registrations in November, up 16.2% compared with the same month in 2022. Industry association ANFIA confirmed this brought the year-to-date tally to over 1.4 million units, marking a year-on-year increase of 20.1%.

‘As we enter the last month of 2023, we can now reasonably confirm that the closure of the Italian car market will amount to approximately 1,580,000 registrations overall (up approximately 20% compared to 2022),’ said Roberto Vavassori, president of ANFIA.

He explained that the 2023 eco-bonus shows a surplus of around €300 million. This is in addition to the €250 million reportedly left over from the 2022 scheme, which has not yet been reallocated.

Vavassori pointed out that 2024 incentives should therefore be remodelled and made more attractive to consumers. This would help consumer choice gradually move in the same direction as the EU’s decarbonisation goals.

BEV registrations increased by 55.5% year on year in November, taking a 5.7% market share. HEVs and MHEVs recorded a combined growth of 31.2% in the month, accounting for 37.8% of all new units delivered. Meanwhile, PHEV deliveries dropped by 13.5%, making up 4.1% of registrations.

Petrol-powered cars recorded a growth of 20.2% in November, capturing 28% of the market. Meanwhile, registrations of diesel-driven units dropped by 7.3%, claiming a share of 14.3%. Finally, gas-powered units represented 10% of the new cars hitting Italy’s roads in November.

Spain sees growth

Automotive authority ANFAC reported that 78,314 new cars were registered in Spain last month, up 7% on November 2022. This followed growth of 18.1% in October, which the industry body acknowledged was greater than expected.

A total of 867,587 new cars were registered between January and November, up 17.3% year on year. ANFAC mapped out that if this pace continues, the market could expect to see approximately 950,000 registrations by the end of the year. This would be a marked improvement on a difficult 2022.

‘The fact that the European Central Bank has stepped on the brakes, halting the rise in interest rates and giving mortgage holders a break, has been a stimulus for buyers, in a context in which initiatives such as the Black Friday have opened the door to special offers and discounts from vehicle dealers,’ said Ganvam's communications director, Tania Puche.

Sales to private buyers grew by 14% to 40,785 units. Meanwhile, the business channel rose by 3.3% to 32,764 sales. However, the previously strong rental-car channel suffered a 16.4% decline, down to 4,855 units.

‘It should be noted that the demand from individuals and companies continues to rise,’ said Félix García, director of communication and marketing at ANFAC. ‘The pace of production has also stabilised, which allows delivery times to be improved.’ 

Stable vehicle production has enabled a better response at the point of sale. Similarly, the private and corporate channels continue to drive sales, pushed mainly by zero and low-emission vehicles.

BEV registrations grew by 82.3% to 6,053 units in November. PHEVs increased their sales by 14.3% to 5,509 units. Meanwhile, 28,428 petrol models were registered, taking a 36.3% share, while diesel made up 10.6% of registration with 8,317 units.