Registrations back to pre 2008 levels

There have been more new car registrations in Europe in the first half of 2016 than at any time since the recession of 2008.

Stronger economic conditions, new products and continuing shifts in consumer taste have all helped maintain positive momentum in the European car market, with total registrations growing by 9.1% during the first six months of the year taking them up to 8.09 million units.

Growth did slow down in June from 15% in May to 6.5%, while negative growth in the UK has been attributed to the EU referendum result.

But not all car makers benefitted equally from the overall growth with most mainstream brands losing market share.

Ford, Opel/Vauxhall and Peugeot all posted marketshare losses, while Volkswagen is still struggling following the emissions scandal. In contrast Renault’s registrations grew by a massive 15%, making it the second largest car brand in Europe. Fiat was the other big mainstream brand to gain ground, as did Audi, Mercedes and BMW.

Meanwhile, the market continued to shift towards SUVs with the smallest ones grabbing the biggest part of the market share gain, from 8.3% share in H1 2015 to 9.4% in H1 2016. Overall, SUVs accounted for 24.7% of the market and posted the second highest percentage growth at 24%, after the Sport cars category which grew by 31%.

Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics said, ‘These first half results show a healthy market that clearly favours new products and SUVs. The second half will be more challenging due to current uncertainty in the UK, and possible stagnation in other key markets. New launches with innovative solutions for the driving experience will become a key factor for success.’