Europe’s ‘big five’ face fall

New car registrations in Europe’s ‘Big five’ markets dropped by two per cent in July, as market conditions halted the positive trend that had dominated over the previous 15 months.

While Spain, Italy and the UK all posted modest growth in July, this could not fully compensate for the declines seen in France and Germany according to JATO Dynamics Ltd. Overall registrations for the month totalled 836,431 units, down from 853,701 units in July 2015.

JATO suggests the slowdown is partly due to July 2016 having two fewer working days compared to July 2015. As Europe’s largest carmaker, the double-digit fall in VW Group’s monthly sales also had an impact.

The biggest decline was posted by France, with total registrations for July falling 9.6% compared to the same month last year, to 132,893 units. Sales in Germany, Europe’s largest market, fell 3.9%, taking its total registrations down to 278,878 compared to 290,196 last year. Spain grew 4.4% to 108,769 units and sales in Italy were up 2.6% to 137,368 units. Demand appeared to be cooling in the UK, which saw an increase of just 0.1% – this is as a result of exceptionally strong demand in 2015, and a continuing drop in private sales.

Volkswagen continues to be Europe’s largest brand, despite suffering the biggest market share drop of any of its competitors – 13.2% in July 2015 to 11.6% in July 2016. The decline shows that Volkswagen’s emissions issue continues to affect the company, with the car maker still being fined in some European markets. The biggest market share growth among the top 10 brands was posted by Fiat, this comes despite a fall in sales from the Fiat 500. Fiat’s sales were boosted by the new Fiat Tipo, and the continued growth of the B-SUV Fiat 500X. T

‘Traditionally there is a drop in demand ahead of summer, but it is clear that Europe has started to feel the effect of Volkswagen’s emissions issue,’ said Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics.

Meanwhile, SUVs continued to grow their market share, with their registrations in July accounting for more than a quarter of the total market (25.8%).