Western Europe’s most important passenger car markets all expand
The three large automotive markets – Western Europe, the US and China – have kicked off the year with fine results. Demand showed double-digit growth in January both in the US (+14 percent) and in China (+13 percent). New registrations of passenger cars in Western Europe rose by a good 6 percent. While new car sales in India climbed by over 3 percent, the markets in Russia and Brazil contracted strongly – as expected.
January’s new registrations on the Western European passenger car market showed a year-on-year increase of just over 6 percent, to 954,700 new vehicles. All the top five markets (Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain) expanded. In Spain new car registrations soared by more than 27 percent, helped by the bonus scheme; Italy surprised observers with a rise in double figures (+11 percent) that was driven mostly by new business registrations. In the United Kingdom growth continued at 7 percent. The market volume in France rose by a good 6 percent – the first increase after three months of shrinkage. In Germany new registrations added nearly 3 percent. The picture varied, however, among the smaller Western European countries. Whereas January demand for passenger cars showed double-digit expansion (+28 percent) for the 20th time in succession in Portugal, and Ireland increased its figures by almost 31 percent, the Greek market contracted by more than 8 percent. “We are optimistic, given that the five largest markets in Western Europe have gone into forward gear again. Yet for this to develop into sustained growth we also need the right overall conditions in the EU,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).
New passenger car registrations in the new EU Member States increased by almost 5 percent last month to 74,100. Growth in double figures was seen on the markets in Lithuania (+21 percent), Latvia (+19 percent), Croatia (+18 percent), the Czech Republic (+15 percent) and Hungary (+11 percent).
The US market started the new year extremely dynamically. With growth of nearly 14 percent, sales of light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) rose to 1.15 million units. Low fuel prices, buoyant consumer confidence and one more trading day all contributed to this good result. The US market thus recorded its largest January volume since 2001. Light truck sales showed a 19 percent year-on-year rise to 631,700 new vehicles, while the passenger car segment increased by around 8 percent to 514,200 units.
The mood also remained good on the Chinese passenger car market. Its January sales volume slightly exceeded 1.9 million vehicles, which was 13 percent up on the same month last year.
In Japan, new passenger car registrations totaled 344,000 vehicles last month, decreasing by around 21 percent. However, last year’s first quarter was still influenced by a pre-buy effect in anticipation of the increase in Japanese value-added tax in April 2014.
Passenger car sales in India came to 230,600 in January, i.e. a good 3 percent above the previous year’s level. In Russia, as expected, the light vehicle market contracted markedly: At 115,400 units, last month’s new vehicle sales were more than 24 percent below the level in January 2014.
The volume of new registrations in Brazil also decreased – in January a total of 244,300 light vehicles were registered, which was down by nearly 19 percent on the same month last year.
|Units||Change 15/14 in %|
|European Union (EU-28)*||999.200||6,7|
|W. Europe (EU15+EFTA)||954.700||6,4|
|New EU Countries (EU13)*||74.100||4,6|
* without Malta
** Light Vehicles