Press Releases

Western Europe continues recovery

Berlin, 18 March 2014

Strong growth again on Chinese passenger car market

The global automotive business demonstrated two separate trends in February. Considerable growth was seen on the passenger car markets in Western Europe (+6 per cent) and Japan (+19 per cent), while in China demand for passenger cars recorded a double-digit increase (+22 per cent). The light vehicle market in Brazil also showed positive development (+11 per cent). By contrast, the US market only managed to equal the level from February last year, partly due to the severe winter. Weaker results were seen on the markets in Russia (-2 per cent) and India (-4 per cent).

New registrations of passenger cars on the Western European market increased for the sixth time in succession. In February demand for passenger cars rose by a good 6 per cent to 823,700 new cars. Of the top five markets, only France recorded slight contraction (-1 per cent). In Germany the number of new registrations climbed by just over 4 per cent. The Italian market showed a year-on-year rise of almost 9 per cent – this was the greatest growth for about four years. After a two-year slump, Italy has now been expanding again for the last three months. In Spain passenger car demand showed a double-figure increase (+18 per cent), one reason for this being the Spanish scrapping bonus. New registrations of passenger cars in the United Kingdom rose by 3 per cent. Some of the smaller markets also demonstrated considerable growth. For example, the Portuguese market enjoyed double-digit expansion (+40 per cent) in February for the ninth time in succession. Strong increases were also seen on the markets in Austria (+30 per cent), Iceland (+30 per cent), Ireland (+21 per cent), Denmark (+21 per cent) and Sweden (+21 per cent). Total new registrations of passenger cars in Western Europe up to the end of February came to a good 1.7 million new cars, which is a year-on-year increase of more than 5 per cent.

February also brought clear revitalisation in the new EU Member States. Sales of new cars climbed by a good quarter to reach 71,000. The Polish market increased by more than one third (+35 per cent), while Lithuania recorded a rise of 40 per cent and Bulgaria a rise of 33 per cent.

In the USA, February sales of light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) came to almost 1.2 million units, thus hovering around the previous year’s level. The especially hard winter kept many customers away from the showrooms. Whereas the light truck segment increased by 6 per cent to 623,900 units, passenger cars were down by the same amount, falling to 564,700 new cars. The market volume for light vehicles up to the end of February totalled 2.2 million units, i.e. more than 1 per cent less than last year.

New passenger car registrations in Japan grew by nearly 19 per cent in February to 490,500 units. Pre-buy effects – because value-added tax is going up in Japan this April – resulted in the sixth month of double-digit growth in a row. Over the year so far new car registrations have risen by a good 24 per cent to 924,100 units.

The Chinese passenger car market totalled sales of 1.2 million units in February, which was 22 per cent up on the same month last year. Sales of cars in China up to the end of February showed a year-on-year increase of more than 15 per cent, just exceeding 2.9 million new cars.

With a volume of 217,700 units last month, the Indian passenger car market remained nearly 4 per cent below the result for February 2013. So far this year the market has been unable to equal last year’s figures: sales of new cars over the first two months dropped by around 7 per cent to 437,600 units.

The Russian market for light vehicles also contracted slightly. February’s new registrations amounted to 206,500 vehicles (-2 per cent). Up to the end of last month sales totalled 359,100 units, which was a year-on-year fall of nearly 4 per cent.

The Brazilian light vehicle market expanded markedly in February. New registrations climbed by almost 11 per cent to 246,100 vehicles. In the first two months of 2014, the new car market grew by a little over 5 per cent and all in all 546,200 new vehicles were registered.

New Passenger Car Registrations/Sales

  February 2014 January - February 2014
  Units Change 14/13 in % Units Change 14/13 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)* 894.700 7,6 1.862.600 6,3
European Union (EU-28)* 861.100 8,0 1.796.800 6,6
W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 823.700 6,3 1.721.200 5,4
New EU Countries (EU13)* 71.000 25,3 141.400 18,7
Russia** 206.500 -2,0 359.100 -3,6
USA** 1.188.600 -0,1 2.197.100 -1,5
Japan 490.500 18,8 924.100 24,1
Brazil** 246.100 10,5 546.200 5,1
India 217.700 -3,9 437.600 -6,7
China 1.202.000 22,0 2.912.400 15,2
*without Malta
**Light Vehicles
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