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Western Europe continues stable growth

Berlin, 13 May 2016

China and US remain dynamic, Brazilian and Russian markets shrink

The international automotive business produced a varied picture in April. Growth was seen on the three large automobile markets – China (+8 percent), Western Europe (+8 percent) and the US (+3 percent) – while contraction continued in Russia (-9 percent) and Brazil (-26 percent).

The Western European passenger car market continues to grow. Last month new registrations rose by 8 percent to 1.2 million units – the best April result since 2008. In Spain new registrations showed double-digit growth (+21 percent) again after a slight fall in March. The Italian passenger car market also enjoyed double-figure expansion (+12 percent). Growth was also solid on the French (+7 percent) and British markets (+2 percent). New passenger car registrations in Germany climbed by 8 percent in April to 315,900 units.

Almost all the smaller Western European markets also expanded in April. Double-digit growth in sales occurred in the Scandinavian countries Denmark (+17 percent), Finland (+15 percent), Sweden (+10 percent) and Norway (+10 percent). Positive development was also seen in Greece (+25 percent), Ireland (+10 percent), Belgium (+7 percent), Portugal (+6 percent), Austria (+5 percent) and the Netherlands (+3 percent). Only the Swiss market recorded a year-on-year decrease (-1 percent).

With 4.9 million newly registered vehicles in the four months of 2016, the Western European market now shows an overall rise of almost 8 percent. “In Western Europe the trend is currently better than expected,” declared Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). “We are pleased about the stable developments not only in the economy in general but also in the automotive business.”

The US market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) rose by 3 percent last month to nearly 1.5 million units. Whereas last year’s Easter holidays came in April, this year the dealers were open on all five weekends last month. In addition, the month had one more trading day than it had last year. The trend towards light trucks is continuing: while passenger car sales fell by 6 percent in April, totaling 609,900 units, sales of light trucks gained 11 percent and reached a figure of 887,300. So far this year’s light vehicle sales in the US have increased by 3 percent to around 5.6 million new vehicles.

The Chinese passenger car market expanded again in April, even though the growth was slower than in the previous month. The sales volume almost reached 1.7 million new cars, an increase of a good 8 percent over April 2015. Obviously, halving the VAT on cars with small engines continues to boost the figures. In the first four months of 2016 passenger car sales added 9 percent and totaled 7.1 million vehicles.

The Japanese passenger car market showed a year-on-year rise in April, the first increase for 15 months. Demand for cars rose by 2 percent to 269,300 units. Sales in the first four months of this year came to 1.5 million units, a fall of around 6 percent.

In India, the passenger car market also showed an increase last month (+11 percent), as 242,100 new cars were sold. The improved financing conditions seem to be one of the factors encouraging growth. From January to April 2016, the Indian car market added more than 4 percent and totaled 965,200 units.

The Russian light vehicle market again contracted in April. It lost 9 percent (121,300 units sold), but this means that the fall is again easing off. Sales of new vehicles since the beginning of the year have however remained a long way below the previous year’s level (-15 percent) – they just about reached 440,600 units, which was the lowest four-month result for over ten years.

In Brazil the light vehicle market once again lacked all dynamism in April. Last month 157,800 units were newly registered, i.e. around 26 percent fewer than in the same month last year. Since January the volume of new registrations has decreased by almost 28 percent to 623,300 vehicles – rising unemployment, inflation and high interest rates left the Brazilian market virtually no room for recovery in the first four months of the year.

New Passenger Car Reigstrations/Sales

  April 2016 January - April 2016
  Units Change 16/15 in % Units Change 16/15 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)* 1.318.800 9,0 5.251.800 8,3
  European Union (EU-28)* 1.273.700 9,1 5.094.000 8,5
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1.220.400 8,4 4.883.800 7,8
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 98.400 16,3 367.900 14,8
Russia** 121.300 -8,5 440.600 -14,7
USA** 1.497.200 3,4 5.559.400 3,2
Japan 269.300 2,2 1.512.800 -5,9
Brazil** 157.800 -25,6 623.300 -27,7
India 242.100 11,0 965.200 4,4
China 1.694.200 8,4 7.144.900 9,1
Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Speaker

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