European car market remains stable

The European car market remained stable in May 2019 for the second month in a row. In total, 1.44 million vehicles were registered – a 0.2% increase on May 2018.

The stable results from April and May signify an end to the market’s extended period of decline between September 2018 and March 2019. However, year- to-date figures show 6.91 million vehicles have been registered so far in 2019 – a decline of 2% on the same period last year.

Despite the market’s slowdown this year, last month was the highest volume registered in the month of May since 2007, when registrations also totalled 1.44 million units.

SUVs once again drove market growth in May, offsetting the drops posted by the traditional segments. While demand for subcompact, compact, midsize and executive/luxury cars and MPVs fell during the month, demand for SUVs was up by 10% to 534,700 units.

SUVs continued to dominate the European market, as they counted for 37.2% of total registrations and posted a market share increase of 3.2 percentage points on the same time last year. Year-to-date figures show 2.56 million SUVs have been registered so far in 2019 in Europe – an increase of 8%.

SUVs’ growth came from the strong results posted by small and compact SUVs, which when combined counted for 81% of the segment’s total registrations. This was largely due to the good reception for the latest small SUV arrivals to the market, such as the Volkswagen T-Roc and T-Cross, Hyundai Kona and the new Dacia Duster, which led to a volume increase of 13% to 209,600 registrations.

While SUVs continue to rule the market, electrified cars still make up a very small portion. Registrations of pure electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars totalled 94,000 units in 18 European markets in May, counting for 7.1% of the total volume. The majority of registrations came from hybrid vehicles, but the growth was driven by pure electric cars, where registrations jumped from 12,300 units in May 2018 to 22,300 last month.