Executive Briefings

European Auto Sales in March Up Six Percent Over Same Time in 2015

Passenger car registrations in the European Union continued to climb during March, albeit at a weaker rate than earlier this year. Nevertheless, demand has risen 6 percent year on year, to 1,700,674 units, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.

IHS Automotive anticipates that passenger car registrations for 2016 in the EU will grow by around 3.5 percent year on year (y/y) to 14.2 million units.

It has been a mixed month for the five biggest markets in the EU. The largest of these in March has been the United Kingdom as part of the biannual age-related number plate change cycle. Despite the significant growth during the past three to four years, the momentum is continuing and resulted in it setting a new monthly record of 518,707 units, which is also a gain of 5.3 percent y/y. Other gainers among this group this month have been France (+7.5 percent y/y) and Italy (+17.4 percent y/y), the latter benefiting from the growing replacement need amongst private customers as well as an incentive battle between key OEMs. However, the traditional leading market in the region, Germany, has flattened this month, while in Spain registrations have dipped by 0.7 percent y/y, although these weaker results are likely to be due to seasonal factors.

Outside this group, the market trend is predominantly gains, with plenty of these being double-digit percentage improvements. These include Portugal, Ireland and a host of markets in Central Europe and are continuing to record improvements on the relatively low base of comparison and a need for replacement. More stable markets such as Sweden and Poland have also recorded double-digit percentage gains. The Netherlands is also making a comeback after a relatively heavy decline in the first couple of months after it was hit by a tax change.

Source: IHS Automotive

IHS Automotive anticipates that passenger car registrations for 2016 in the EU will grow by around 3.5 percent year on year (y/y) to 14.2 million units.

It has been a mixed month for the five biggest markets in the EU. The largest of these in March has been the United Kingdom as part of the biannual age-related number plate change cycle. Despite the significant growth during the past three to four years, the momentum is continuing and resulted in it setting a new monthly record of 518,707 units, which is also a gain of 5.3 percent y/y. Other gainers among this group this month have been France (+7.5 percent y/y) and Italy (+17.4 percent y/y), the latter benefiting from the growing replacement need amongst private customers as well as an incentive battle between key OEMs. However, the traditional leading market in the region, Germany, has flattened this month, while in Spain registrations have dipped by 0.7 percent y/y, although these weaker results are likely to be due to seasonal factors.

Outside this group, the market trend is predominantly gains, with plenty of these being double-digit percentage improvements. These include Portugal, Ireland and a host of markets in Central Europe and are continuing to record improvements on the relatively low base of comparison and a need for replacement. More stable markets such as Sweden and Poland have also recorded double-digit percentage gains. The Netherlands is also making a comeback after a relatively heavy decline in the first couple of months after it was hit by a tax change.

Source: IHS Automotive