European car market on up

The western European passenger car market grew six per cent year-on-year (y/y) in June to 1.39 million units, according to the latest IHS Automotive forecast.

June’s result brings the half-year to a close with volumes up 8.6% at 7.5 million units, a return to the numbers last seen in the pre-financial crisis era. However, storm clouds gather in the post-Brexit fallout as consumer confidence will take a hit in uncertain times.

June’s sales results meant that the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) for the region rose marginally to its highest level since November 2009 at a rate of 14.2 million units. The current macro conditions around Western Europe continue to support growth in the market, but post-Brexit fallout has caused a downward revision of IHS Automotive’s light-vehicle (including LCVs) forecast, removing just short of 113,000 units from the forecast, a 0.72% downgrade to 15.69 million units.

Passenger car registrations in the UK fell in June, sliding by 0.8% y/y to 255,766 units. From a customer type perspective, a key reason for this fall back has been private buyers, registrations by which have fallen by 4.5% y/y to 103,449 units. It was also not helped by a 25.0% retreat in passenger cars registered by businesses to 10,035 units. Nevertheless, fleet demand was on the up with an increase of 4.5% y/y to 142,282 units. Overall, registrations in the year to date (YTD) remain on an upswing, and now stand at 1,420,636 units, an increase of 3.2% y/y.

The German passenger car market rose by 8.3% y/y during the month to 339,563 units. Of this, private customers made up 34.8% of the market with an increase just behind the market as a whole, at 6.4% y/y. Overall, registrations for the first half of the year now stand at 1,733,839 units, up 7.1% y/y.

Passenger car registrations in France grew just 0.8% y/y in June and with no seasonality and public holiday factors involved this month, the number of working days – 22 – was the same as June 2015. Nevertheless, significant growth in earlier months remains very much in evidence at the halfway point of the year, with registrations up by 8.3% y/y at 1,102,442 units.

Italian passenger car registrations have grown by 11.9% y/y during June. According to the latest data published by UNRAE, the number registered has reached 165,208 units, compared to 147,661 units during June 2015. This has further positively contributed to its YTD performance, which for the first half of the year is now up by 19.2% y/y to 1,041,854 units.

In Spain, the passenger car market has also recorded an improvement of 11.2% y/y during June. Registrations have increased from 111,333 units to 123,790 units. This has made a further positive contribution to the year to date (YTD), which for the six months is now up by 12.2% y/y to 623,234 units.