Passenger car sales hit record year-to-date high

By the end of April 2018, sales of new passenger cars sold year-to-date in the European Union (EU28) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries of Norway, Switzerland and Iceland hit 5.63 million.

May 2018 - Autorola INDICATA Market Trend News

Passenger car sales hit record year-to-date high

By the end of April 2018, sales of new passenger cars sold year-to-date in the European Union (EU28) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries of Norway, Switzerland and Iceland hit 5.63 million. This landmark number breaks the previous 5.59 million record set in 2008 just as the automotive world was being sucked into the subprime finance crisis. Year-to-date sales at the end of April are now up 2.6% compared to just 0.6% in March and the overall market position seems to have stabilised to a slightly positive position as we go through quarter 2. This puts the rate of growth so far in line with our full year expectations and whilst the underlying situation looks marginally positive the potential for volatility in markets like the UK and Italy mean we do not believe there is reason to change our full year view at this time.


The April 2017 tax increases were responsible for the 10.4% increase in UK new car sales in April 2018, but it means that all of the big five major car markets saw growth for the first time since March 2017. Spain saw new car sales leap up 12.3%, with France (+9.0%), Germany (+8.0%) and Italy (+6.5%) all seeing healthy increases. Apart from a 2.8% drop in Cyprus and an 11.8% fall in Iceland every other country in the EU28 and EFTA3 saw sales increase in April 2018.

After four months Italy has now slipped back to marginal growth rising 0.2% YTD and it will be interesting to see if the newly formed populist government boosts domestic spending on big ticket items like cars or if it sends the rest of the eurozone into an economic panic. Of the remaining big five markets France (+4.4%), Germany (+5.0%) and Spain (+11.0%) are all seeing the rate of growth increasing. Whilst the same can be said for the UK moving from a 12.2% fall in quarter one (Q1) to just an 8.8% drop for the first four months of the year, sales are expected to revert back from growth to decline during the year.

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