Western European car market increases first time in four years
In December the three main automotive markets – Western Europe, the USA and China – all resumed growth. China turned in the most surprising result, its figures soaring by almost one fifth. The USA also increased with a rapid end-of-year growth spurt of 11 per cent. Western Europe expanded by almost 5 per cent last month. December sales of new cars also rose in Brazil and India.
New passenger car registrations in Western Europe climbed to 922,900 units (+5 per cent) in December. Spain showed the greatest dynamism with a rise of over 21 per cent. The market in the United Kingdom, which had expanded well throughout last year, continued this positive trend (+9 per cent). The new car registration figures in Germany increased by nearly 7 per cent. In Italy just over 2 per cent more new cars were registered last month. In France, however, new registrations slumped once more (-7 per cent). New passenger car registrations in Western Europe totalled 12.1 million units for the whole year 2014, which was nearly 5 per cent up on 2013 and ended four years of market shrinkage.
Registrations of new passenger cars in the new EU Member States expanded by almost 10 per cent in December to 74,400 cars. Demand over 2014 as a whole showed a 14 per cent rise to 893,200 units.
Growth on the US market again speeded up greatly as the year drew to a close. The December sales volume of around 1.5 million light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) showed a year-on-year rise of nearly 11 per cent. This means that the market volume for the entire year 2014 expanded by 6 per cent to a good 16.4 million units, equalling the value before the crisis. Since 2009 (10.4 million light vehicles) the US market has grown continuously – by a total of 58 per cent.
The passenger car market in China developed extremely dynamically in December. With almost 2 million new vehicles sold, the growth just exceeded 19 per cent. The figure for 2014 as a whole was nearly 13 per cent higher than that for 2013, as sales of new vehicles reached 18.4 million units.
Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), stressed, “The two large markets, China and USA, dominated everything in the year 2014. Sales there showed a year-on-year rise of almost 3 million new vehicles. In China alone the increase came to over 2 million passenger cars. However, we assume that this year the growth rates in both regions will turn out to be somewhat lower than in 2014. But in 2015 the Chinese and US markets will both continue to expand. For Western Europe we expect only slender growth of 2 per cent, while developments in the individual EU states will still vary widely in 2015.”
In Japan, December registrations of new passenger cars hovered around the previous year’s level (360,300 new vehicles). Over the year as a whole the market volume was 3 per cent up on 2013, because anticipation of the VAT increase in April 2014 pushed sales up in the first quarter.
The passenger car market in India climbed more than 12 per cent in December to reach 209,000 units. Sales in 2014 amounted to around 2.6 million vehicles, which was nearly 1 per cent above the previous year’s level.
The downward trend on the Russian light vehicle market appeared to bottom out slightly in December: at 270,700 vehicles, the sales volume showed a year-on-year rise of 2 per cent. A total of 2.5 million light vehicles were sold during the year 2014 (-10 per cent).
In Brazil, new registrations of light vehicles increased by a good 5 per cent in December, rising to 354,000 units. However, this figure includes pre-buy effects triggered by the rise in the IPI sales tax scheduled for 2015. The Brazilian market finished the year 2014 with 7 per cent contraction and totalled 3.3 million newly registered vehicles.
|December 2014||January - December 2014|
|Units||Change 14/13 in %||Units||Change 14/13 in %|
|European Union (EU-28)*||951.300||4,7||12.550.800||5,7|
|W. Europe (EU15+EFTA)||922.900||4,6||12.113.200||4,8|
|New EU Countries (EU13)*||74.400||9,5||893.200||14,2|
* without Malta
** Light Vehicles