Press Releases

Western Europe, US and China continue expansion in February

Berlin, 17 March 2015

Spain, Italy and UK show double-digit growth – severe contraction in Russia

The three major automotive markets of Western Europe, the US and China continued to expand in February. Western Europe and China each increased by nearly 8 percent, while the US rose by a good 5 percent. By contrast, market shrinkage in Russia swelled to 38 percent. The Brazilian light vehicle market is also still on its downward slide (-27 percent).

February new passenger car registrations on the Western European market rose to 886,100 new vehicles. In fact all the top five markets expanded again in the month just completed, with double-digit growth in demand seen in Spain (+26 percent), Italy (+13 percent) and the United Kingdom (+12 percent). Spain’s growth was partly due to the bonus scheme, and Italy’s growth occurred principally in the commercial sector. New registrations in France rose by a good 4 percent. The German market increased by almost 7 percent. And the recovery process continued last month in Portugal (+36 percent) and Ireland (+24 percent). Greece climbed by 12 percent, which compensated for the drop in January. In the first two months of this year, the volume of new registrations in Western Europe expanded to just over 1.8 million passenger cars (+7 percent).

In the new EU Member States, new passenger car registrations rose by a slender 1 percent in February to reach 72,000 new cars. Double-figure expansion was seen on the markets in the Czech Republic (+28 percent), Hungary (+19 percent), Romania (+13 percent) and Slovenia (+12 percent). However, Poland, the largest market among the new EU countries, decreased by nearly 13 percent. Contraction was also seen in the Baltic states of Estonia (-13 percent), Latvia (-8 percent) and Lithuania (-2 percent). In the first two months of 2015, total demand for passenger cars in the new EU countries rose by a little over 3 percent to 145,900 new vehicles.

Demand on the Russian light vehicle market collapsed by almost 38 percent to 128,300 units. In the first two months, 243,800 new vehicles were sold in Russia. This means that the market has contracted by around one third (-32 percent).

In February the US market expanded by a good 5 percent to 1.25 million light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks). A positive influence on demand is still coming from the buoyant consumer confidence and the healthy employment situation. The price of gasoline did indeed rise again somewhat, but it is still a long way below the level of three dollars per gallon. The passenger car market contracted to 557,500 units (-1 percent). However, car sales show a year-to-date rise of 3 percent (1.1 million units). The light truck segment enjoyed double-digit expansion again last month, growing by a good 11 percent (694,900 vehicles). Since January, demand for light trucks has increased by nearly 15 percent, to just over 1.3 million new vehicles. This year so far, the US market for light vehicles has increased by a good 9 percent, reaching 2.4 million new vehicles.

In China, sales on the passenger car market rose by 8 percent in February, to almost 1.3 million units. In the first two months demand for cars expanded by 11 percent and just exceeded 3.2 million new vehicles.

New registrations on the Japanese passenger car market slumped by almost 16 percent last month, down to 413,200 units. However, the first quarter of 2014 was still marked by purchases brought forward in anticipation of the VAT increase in April that year. Since January 2015, the market volume in Japan has contracted by just over 18 percent to 757,200 passenger cars.

Market stabilization continued in India. In February Indian passenger car sales increased by a good 6 percent to 231,200 vehicles. Growth since the beginning of this year comes to nearly 6 percent (461,800 units).

The Brazilian light vehicle market recorded a slump of just over one quarter (-27 percent) in February, falling to 179,200 units. Year-to-date registrations of new light vehicles have fallen to 423,500 units (-22 percent).

New Passenger Car Registrations/Sales

  February 2015 January - February 2015
  Units Change 15/14 in % Units Change 15/14 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)* 958.100 7,0 1.986.800 6,6
  European Union (EU-28)* 924.400 7,3 1.923.500 7,0
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 886.100 7,5 1.840.900 6,9
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 72.000 1,3 145.900 3,1
Russia** 128.300 -37,9 243.800 -32,1
USA** 1.252.500 5,4 2.398.200 9,2
Japan 413.200 -15,8 757.200 -18,1
Brazil** 179.200 -27,2 423.500 -22,5
India 231.200 6,2 461.800 5,5
China 1.297.700 7,9 3.232.500 11,0

* without Malta
** Light Vehicles

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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