Europe outperforms global market in 2019

The turbulence that hit the global auto industry in 2019 was not strong enough to damage the demand for new cars in Europe. In fact, the volume of vehicle sales increased by 1.1 per cent for the passenger car market in Europe-27, this is in contrast to the negative results experienced in China and the USA, where sales fell by eight per cent and two per cent respectively.

In addition, 2019 was the fifth consecutive year of growth for Europe, and the highest result seen since 2007 when the market exceeded the 16 million units mark. In total, 15,757,412 new cars were registered last year – 171,452 more registrations than in 2018.

However, these positive results can be largely explained by purchases made in December to get ahead of the new EU emissions regulations that took effect at the beginning of 2020. In fact, the year-to-date figures from January to November 2019 indicate that registrations had actually decreased by 0.4 per cent. The last-minute actions to replace gas-guzzling vehicles deemed unacceptable under EU emissions regulations, in December pushed the cumulative figures into the positive.

Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, said: “Despite the artificial effect of the December figures, it is important to note that car registrations in Europe remained stable until November. Last year was not an easy period for the industry, but Europe demonstrated its strength despite the challenges. The question is now whether this strength will continue under even tougher regulations”.