Press Releases

Passenger car market in Western Europe up slightly in February

Berlin, 16 March 2017

China continues its growth path

In February the three major automotive markets showed slightly differing trends. While Western Europe and the US light vehicle market hovered around their previous year’s levels, the Chinese passenger car market recorded double-digit growth.

In Western Europe, new registrations of passenger cars rose by nearly 1 percent in February to 1.0 million units. However, February had one working day less this year than it had in 2016. The top five markets in Western Europe developed somewhat differently: Germany and France both recorded a fall of 3 percent, while the United Kingdom and Spain stayed close to last year’s levels and in Italy new registrations climbed by 6 percent. Since the beginning of the year, the Western European market has grown by 5 percent.

The smaller Western European markets also varied in their developments last month. Double-digit growth occurred in Greece (+57 percent), Denmark (+18 percent), the Netherlands (+15 percent) and Austria (+13 percent). The markets stayed around last year’s figures in Portugal (+5 percent), Belgium (+4 percent), Sweden (+3 percent) and Switzerland (+1 percent). By contrast, the results were down in Norway (-4 percent), Finland (-5 percent) and Ireland (-21 percent).

New passenger car registrations in the new EU Member States increased by 16 percent in February and came to 99,000 units. Apart from Estonia (-1 percent) and Latvia (-6 percent), all the new EU countries expanded last month. In Poland – the largest market – new registrations rose by 14 percent to 38,400.

The US market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) lost 1 percent in February, falling to just over 1.3 million units. Whereas passenger car sales totaled 484,300 vehicles, losing almost 13 percent, sales of light trucks rose by 7 percent to 841,600 units. Light trucks thus continued to increase their share of the overall light vehicle market, taking it to 63.5 percent (58.6 percent last month).

In China the passenger car market recorded a volume of nearly 1.6 million new vehicles in February (+21 percent). This was partly a result of the timing of this year‘s Chinese New Year. In 2017 the celebrations mostly took place in January, so this year February had more working days than it did in 2016. Taking the two first months of the year together, the market shows a year-on-year rise of 8 percent.

The Indian passenger car market was clearly on a path of growth last month. New car sales in February rose to 255,400 units (+9 percent). Since January the market volume has added 12 percent.

In Japan, new passenger car registrations totaled 413,300 vehicles last month – up by a good 8 percent. February was therefore already the fourth month in succession with increasing registration figures.

Russia’s light vehicle market contracted again in February, losing 4 percent. The volume of new registrations in Brazil also continued to fall. At 132,600, 7 percent fewer light vehicles were newly registered than in the same month last year.

  February 2017 January - February 2017
  Units Change
17/16 in %
Units Change
17/16 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)*




  European Union (EU-28)* 1.078.500 2,2 2.248.000 6,2
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1.015.400 0,9 2.124.300 5,2
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 99.000 15,9 193.400 16,1
Russia** 106.700 -4,1 184.600 -4,5
USA** 1.325.900 -1,1 2.463.500 -1,4
Japan 413.300 8,2 756.700 6,4
Brazil** 132.600 -6,8 276.400 -5,4
India 255.400 9,0 520.700 11,7
China*** 1.589.700 20,5 3.756.900 7,6

* without Malta
** Light Vehicles
*** preliminary data

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Speaker

Tel: +49 30 897842-128 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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