West European car sales up 5.2% in January

Feb 09, 2018

The 2018 car market in Europe was off to a strong start in January, especially in Germany

The 2018 car market in Europe was off to a strong start in January, especially in Germany

The West European car registrations grew by 5.2% year-on-year (YoY) in January according to data released by LMC Automotive.

LMC said there was a diverse range of results from across the region, but particularly strong outturns from some key markets ensured that the annualised selling rate (SAAR) rose to an impressive 15.3m units a year - the highest since August 2007.

Germany and Spain were the outstanding performers in January, posting double-digit year-on-year rises of 11.6% and 20.3%, respectively. Germany’s annualised selling rate soared to 4m units a year, while Spain’s jumped to 1.5m units a year.

The Italian market grew by 3.4% and France delivered a market registrations up 2.5%.

The UK market was down 6.3% on last year, again acting as a drag on the region as a whole. Nevertheless, the result was enough to nudge the selling rate slightly higher, towards 2.5m units a year.

LMC said that it is still forecasting a slowdown of growth in 2018 as a whole. Notwithstanding exceptionally strong results in some markets in January, there is still limited scope for growth in Germany, and a relatively weak UK market will constrain regional growth to around 1.6%. LMC maintains.

LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt said the regional European market outlook is positive, but notes the market is now nearing a natural limit. "Germany’s result in January was certainly very encouraging," he said. "It points to a generally positive economic backdrop and positive sentiment in business and among consumers. However, scope for sustained growth in Germany’s car market during the course of the year is pretty limited. And the UK’s car market is firmly in reverse now, which acts as a drag on the regional total. Obviously we’re also keeping a very close eye on the outlook for interest rates and the impact of stock market volatility on households and spending decisions."

Western European car sales by country, January 2018

Jan 2018 Jan 2017 change
WESTERN EUROPE 1613916 1106235 5.2
AUSTRIA 28656 26415 8.5
BELGIUM 56869 51701 10.0
DENMARK 19908 19539 1.9
FINLAND 156851 153006 6.6
FRANCE 193375 194372 2.5
GERMANY 269400 241394 11.6
GREECE 5718 5100 12.1
IRELAND 37125 39003 -4.8
ITALY 177822 172033 3.4
LUXEMBOURG 4592 4108 11.8
NETHERLANDS 59367 51121 16.1
NORWAY 9207 13055 -29.5
PORTUGAL 14894 15213 -2.1
SPAIN 101661 84510 20.3
SWEDEN 22980 23280 -1.3
SWITZERLAND 21671 19451 11.4
UK 163615 174564 -6.3

West European annual car sales, 2012-2018

Units (m) %ch
2012 11.76 NA
2013 11.53 -1.8
2014 12.10 4.9
2015 13.18 8.9
2016 13.95 5.8
2017 14.30 2.5
2018F 14.53 1.6
Source: just auto

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