Press Releases

Western European passenger car market starts year well

Berlin, 16 February 2017

Strong growth in new EU countries – China stable in the new year

The three major automotive markets of Western Europe, China and the US got under way in 2017 at various speeds. While the Western European passenger car market made clear gains in January, the Chinese market hovered at last year’s level. In the US sales of light vehicles fell slightly.

In Western Europe, January registrations of new passenger cars showed a year-on-year rise of more than 9 percent to 1.1 million units. However, January had two more working days in 2017 than it had last year. The top five markets in Western Europe all expanded in January: Germany, France and Spain all enjoyed 11 percent growth, while Italy achieved 10 percent. New passenger car registrations in the United Kingdom increased by 3 percent.

Most of the smaller Western European markets also showed dynamic growth. Double-digit increases were recorded in the Netherlands (+27 percent), Denmark (+19 percent), Norway (+19 percent), Belgium (+17 percent), Greece (+13 percent) and Austria (+10 percent). Portugal, Sweden and Finland all added 8 percent. By contrast, the markets contracted in Switzerland (-4 percent) and Ireland (-2 percent).

New passenger car registrations in the new EU countries rose by 17 percent in January to 95,400 units. With the exception of Slovakia (-1 percent), all the new EU Member States recorded double-digit growth.

The US market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) decreased by 2 percent in January to a little over 1.1 million units. Here it should be remembered that this year January had one trading weekend less than it did in 2016. While passenger car sales totaled 411,500 vehicles in January, losing almost 13 percent, sales of light trucks rose by 6 percent to 726,300 units. Last month light trucks increased their share of the total light vehicle market to 63.8 percent (58.7 percent in January 2016).

The Chinese passenger car market totaled just over 2.1 million new vehicles in January. Some purchases had been brought forward to the fourth quarter of 2016 in anticipation of the VAT increase from 5 to 7.5 percent on vehicles with small engines (up to 1.6 liters) at the beginning of this year.

In Japan, new passenger car registrations rose by a good 4 percent last month to 343,400 vehicles. January was therefore already the third month in succession with increased registration figures.

Russia’s light vehicle market contracted once again last month, with a year-on-year fall of 5 percent. At 77,900 units, sales of new vehicles produced the lowest monthly result since January 2010.

The volume of new registrations in Brazil also decreased. Owing to the still poor economic conditions, 143,800 light vehicles were registered in the first month of this year, which was 4 percent down on 2016.

New Passenger Car Registrations/Sales

  January 2017 January - January 2017
  Units Change 17/16 in % Units Change 17/16 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)* 1.204.000 10,1 1.204.000 10,1
  European Union (EU-28)* 1.170.200 10,2 1.170.200 10,2
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1.108.600 9,5 1.108.600 9,5
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 95.400 17,4 9.5400 17,4
Russia** 77.900 -5,0 77.900 -5,0
USA** 1.137.800 -1,7 1.137.800 -1,7
Japan 343.400 4,4 343.400 4,4
Brazil** 143.800 -4,0 143.800 -4,0
China 2.137.200 -0,2 2.137.200 -0,2

* 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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