International passenger car markets: strong February in US – slight rise in China
The three main automobile markets recorded very different market trends in February. While Western Europe enjoyed double-digit growth (+14 percent) and the US light vehicle market increased by nearly 7 percent, China’s expansion slowed down to 2 percent. The markets in Russia and Brazil continued to shrink, and Japan also had a weak result.
Western Europe recorded a good 1 million new registrations, with its best February figure since 2008. New registrations showed double-digit growth in Italy (+27 percent), France (+13 percent), Spain (+13 percent) and Germany (+12 percent). In the United Kingdom the passenger car market added more than 8 percent.
The recovery also continued on the smaller passenger car markets. Sales recorded double-digit increases in Ireland (+37 percent), Portugal (+26 percent), Denmark (+22 percent), Finland (+21 percent), Norway (+14 percent), Sweden (+13 percent) and Belgium (+12 percent). By contrast, losses were seen last month in Greece (-32 percent) and the Netherlands (-15 percent). In the first two months of 2016, the total Western European market showed year-on-year growth of almost 10 percent to just over 2 million units.
In the new EU Member States, February registrations of new passenger cars rose by 19 percent to 85,700 units. The car markets in the new EU countries show year-on-year growth of almost 15 percent for the period since January.
The US market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) expanded to 1.3 million units (+7 percent) in February, which was the highest February result since 2001. Last month the light truck segment continued to gain in importance. Passenger car sales stagnated at 556,200 units, while light trucks climbed by 12 percent to 779,500 vehicles sold. In the first two months of this year, overall light vehiclaround 2.5 million units.
The Chinese passenger car market totaled a good 1.3 million new vehicles in February, which was nearly 2 percent above the previous year’s level. Car sales in China have risen by almost 8 percent to 3.5 million new vehicles since the beginning of the year.
In Japan, demand for passenger cars shed around 8 percent in February, falling to 382,100 units. This year the market volume has so far lost 6 percent, down to 711,100 new cars. The figure has been severely affected by the increased tax on “kei cars” (small cars with a maximum engine displacement of 660 cc) introduced in April 2015. New registrations in this vehicle category decreased by 13 percent in the first two months of 2016, falling to 261,300 units.
With a volume of 234,200 units, passenger car sales in India rose by nearly 2 percent in February. Accumulated sales of new cars since January have added just over 1 percent, reaching 466,200 units.
Russia’s light vehicle market continued to contract. Vehicle sales reached a volume of 111,100 units last month (-13 percent). Since January light vehicle sales show an annual decrease of almost 21 percent and now total 193,100 units.
In Brazil 142,300 new light vehicles were registered in February, which was again far fewer (-21 percent) than in the same month last year. A fall of 31 percent resulted for the first two months of this year.
|February 2016||January - February 2016|
|Units||Change 16/15 in %||Units||Change 16/15 in %|
|European Union (EU-28)*||1.056.900||14,2||2.118.300||10,1|
|W. Europe (EU15+EFTA)||1.007.200||13,7||2.019.700||9,7|
|New EU Countries (EU13)*||85.700||18,9||166.900||14,7|
* without Malta
** Light Vehicles