Press Releases

Western European car market shows slight fall in July

Berlin, 16 August 2016

China adds 30 percent – US market remains stable – Calendar affects Western Europe

The international automotive business showed a varied picture in July. China added 30 percent while the US market equaled last year’s result. Western Europe, by contrast, recorded a slight fall in new registrations of passenger cars, to just under 1.1 million units. This 2 percent decrease was primarily due to the fact in Western Europe July had two working days less this year than it had in 2015.

Trends varied between the top five Western European markets. In Spain, sales of new cars rose by 4 percent to 107,300 passenger cars, and in Italy they climbed by 3 percent to 136,300. The British passenger car market totaled 178,500 new vehicles and thus matched last year’s level. Germany’s new registrations fell by 4 percent to 278,900 passenger cars. France recorded a slump of 10 percent, down to 133,000 new vehicles.

Last month the picture was even more heterogeneous on the smaller Western European markets. While passenger car sales increased in Greece (+29 percent), Ireland (+8 percent) and Portugal (+1 percent), new registrations equaled the previous year’s volume in Austria and Sweden. The number of new registrations decreased in Denmark (-3 percent), Finland (-4 percent), Belgium (-5 percent), the Netherlands (-8 percent), Norway (-11 percent) and Switzerland (-14 percent).

Overall, the Western European passenger car market grew by 7 percent in the first seven months of the current year, reaching a total of 8.6 million new registrations.

On the US market a good 1.5 million light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) were sold last month – about the same as in July last year. The trend toward light trucks is continuing: sales of these vehicles rose by nearly 8 percent to 925,100 units. In contrast, passenger car sales reached only 589,000, which was 9 percent down on the same month last year. This means that passenger cars now make up only 39 percent of all light vehicle sales, while light trucks account for 61 percent. In July 2015 the passenger car segment still accounted for almost 43 percent.

The total light vehicle market in the US added 1 percent during the first seven months of the current year, rising to 10.1 million units.

In China the passenger car market was running at full speed in July. In all, nearly 1.6 million new vehicles were sold, i.e. 30 percent more than in the same month last year. However, July 2015 had been rather weak. Over the first seven months of this year, the Chinese passenger car market exceeded last year’s level by 14 percent – and year-to-date sales of new vehicles reached a volume of more than 12 million units.

“All three major markets – Western Europe, the US and China – have expanded this year, in some regions by double figures. Two out of every three cars sold anywhere in the world go to customers there. Of course some figures are better and some figures are worse. But even if the demand in countries such as Russia and Brazil is weak, in 2016 the global passenger car market is continuing its path of growth,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

In Japan, the number of new passenger car registrations fell in July by 2 percent to 348,200 vehicles. So far this year the market volume has lost 5 percent, falling to 2.5 million new vehicles.

With growth of around 17 percent to 259,700 units, the Indian passenger car market turned in a dynamic result. Since January sales of new cars have almost reached 1.7 million – a rise of 6 percent.

Last month again, the Russian light vehicle market was in reverse: at 109,400 vehicles, the sales volume was nearly 17 percent below last year’s level. Year-to-date sales of new light vehicles in Russia fell by over 14 percent to 781,600 units.

The light vehicle market in Brazil also contracted again in July. New registrations decreased by a little more than 20 percent to 175,000 units. From January to July, registrations of new vehicles exceeded 1.1 million but the figure was 24 percent lower than during the same period in 2015.

New Passenger Car Registrations/Sales

  July 2016 January - July 2016
  Units Change 16/15 in % Units Change 16/15 in %
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1070100 -2,2 8580900 7,1
Russia** 109400 -16,6 781600 -14,4
USA** 1514100 0,5 10106600 1,1
Japan 348200 -2,2 2480800 -4,9
Brazil** 175000 -20,3 1127300 -24,4
India 259700 16,8 1680000 6,2
China 1559200 30,3 12177700 14,1

* 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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