EU registrations jump 16%

Passenger car registrations in the European Union (EU) jumped by 16% year-on-year (y/y) during May as many markets in the region benefited from a positive calendar affect reports IHS Automotive.

According to data published by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), the number has risen from 1,110,437 units to 1,288,220 units. This has further contributed to the regional performance in the year-to-date (YTD), with growth now hitting 9.9% y/y as registrations reached 6,383,263 units. However, these benefits did not extend as far as the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) area – Iceland, Norway and Switzerland – where registrations were up by just 0.7% y/y to 42,379 units. Nevertheless, this group of markets remained in positive growth territory in the YTD with registrations now up by 2.6% y/y at 200,110 units.

Reflecting the growth, the five largest markets contributed to the improvement. The biggest improvement came from the French, Spanish and Italian markets, all three of which recorded an increase in registrations of over 20% y/y. Outside of this group, the market trend is predominantly double-digit percentage gains.

IHS suggests that although many markets have performed well, it has not necessarily translated on an OEM basis. Indeed, some automakers’ growth rates are behind the market as a whole, some quite significantly. Amongst this group is the leading Volkswagen (VW) Group which has recorded an increase of 9.3% y/y to 309,708 units, resulting in its market share falling by 1.5% to 24%.

This situation has allowed other large automakers in the region to close the gap with Groupe PSA increasing registrations by 18.7% y/y as all three of its brands recorded a similar rate of growth. Renault Group jumped 28.7% y/y to 137,102 units, whilst Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has also had a strong month, up 25.7% y/y.

Carlos Da Silva, manager of IHS Automotive’s European light-vehicle sales forecast, said, ‘Europe should keep growing as it benefits from strong tailwinds but this is not saying that the sky is totally blue without any cloud on the horizon.’

Overall, IHS Automotive anticipates that registrations of passenger cars in EU+EFTA will increase by around five per cent y/y during 2016 almost 14.97 million units, up from a low of 12.36 million units seen in 2013. IHS also anticipates weaker gains towards the end of the decade when levels are expected to peak at over 15.2 million in 2019.