Press Releases

Western European passenger car market starts year well

Berlin, 16 February 2016

Strong growth, also in new EU Member States – US stable despite snowstorm

The Western European automobile market has got off to a good start in 2016. Although January had one working day less this year than in 2015, new registrations of passenger cars climbed by 6 percent to more than 1 million units. The US market (light vehicles) matched last year’s January result at a little over 1.1 million new vehicles. It should be borne in mind that in the US, this year January had two trading days less than it did last year, and a severe snowstorm also affected the east coast. As yet no official January figures are available for China due to the Chinese New Year festival.

The top five markets in Western Europe – Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain – all expanded in January, with double-digit increases in Italy (+17 percent) and Spain (+12 percent). New registrations rose by 3 percent in both Germany and the UK, while France achieved growth of 4 percent.

Double-digit growth rates were also seen on the smaller markets in Western Europe – in Ireland (+34 percent), Portugal (+18 percent) and Finland (+15 percent). By contrast, the figures showed a year-on-year decrease on the passenger car markets in Belgium (-6 percent) and the Netherlands (-14 percent).

In the new EU Member States, new registrations of passenger cars increased by 10 percent in January to reach 81,200 units. Double-figure expansion was recorded on the markets in Cyprus (+26 percent), Slovakia (+20 percent), Romania (+17 percent), Hungary (+14 percent), Slovenia (+13 percent) and the Czech Republic (+11 percent). Only Croatia and Latvia turned in weaker results than they did last year, both down by 5 percent.

The US market for light vehicles exhibited different trends in the two large segments passenger cars and light trucks. While passenger car sales lost just over 8 percent in January (471,800 vehicles), sales of light trucks rose by a good 6 percent to 670,300 units. Last month light trucks accounted for 58.7 percent of the total light vehicle market.

In Japan, new passenger car registrations decreased by 4 percent in January to 329,000 units. The figures are still being held back by the tax increase effective since April 2015 on “kei cars” (small cars with engines not exceeding 660 cc). New registrations in this vehicle category lost 13 percent because of the tax, falling to 119,000 units.
Passenger car sales in India showed a slender rise of 1 percent over the previous year’s level. Last month’s total came to 232,000 cars.
In Russia the light vehicle market contracted markedly in January by almost another 30 percent. At 81,800 units, new vehicle sales fell to their lowest level in any month since January 2010.
The volume of new registrations also decreased in Brazil. Owing to the continuing poor economic conditions, January registrations of light vehicles slumped by nearly 39 percent compared with the same month last year, to a total of only 149,800 units.

New Passenger Car Registrations/Sales

  January 2016 January - January 2016
  Units Change 16/15 in % Units Change 16/15 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)* 1.093.600 6,3 1.093.600 6,3
  European Union (EU-28)* 1.061.200 6,2 1.061.200 6,2
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1.012.300 6,0 1.012.300 6,0
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 81.200 10,1 81.200 10,1
Russia** 81.800 -29,1 81.800 -29,1
USA** 1.142.200 -0,4 1.142.200 -0,4
Japan 329.000 -4,4 329.000 -4,4
Brazil** 149.800 -38,7 149.800 -38,7
India 232.000 0,6 232.000 0,6
China N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A.

* without Malta
** Light Vehicles  *** Official data for January not available yet

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

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