European market has record August

The European car market saw growth in August, recording the highest August result in the last 20 years.

But this strong growth is somewhat artificial, as registrations were boosted by stock clearances ahead of the introduction of WLTP on the 1 September. This is evidenced by unusual results in typically slow selling segments, and booming business and fleet registrations.

This last-minute push for registrations just a month before the introduction of WLTP demonstrates a lack of preparation from many car makers.

Business/fleet purchases posted a 38% increase in August (data for 15 countries), jumping from 53% of total registrations in Aug-17 to 59% last month. This is in comparison to registration growth of 11% in July and five per cent in June.

In contrast, private registrations increased by 11% in August, counting for 41% of the total. The highest market share for business/fleet registrations were seen in Czech Republic (76%), Slovenia (75%) and Finland (73%).

In addition, the segments that traditionally post timid growth, such as subcompacts and compacts, also recorded strong growth, up by 25% and 21% respectively.

‘As we anticipated last month, it’s clear that registrations were boosted in August by car makers rushing to register their vehicles before the introduction of WLTP. These results show how artificial registrations can be, and how easily they can be manipulated by external factors. The evidence of the WLTP effect shows how ill prepared car makers were, and it will be interesting to see how car makers continue to respond to WLTP in the coming months,’ commented Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst.