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New car sales fall 7 per cent in Europe

By Philip Smith

Drop blamed on global economic pressures comes after months of continuous growth

The number of new cars registered across the combined EU, UK and EFTA fell in January. This comes after a period of growth when December saw demand for passenger cars grow for the fourth consecutive month.

The drop to 1.135 million registrations – down by 7.4 per cent – has been blamed on lethargic global economic conditions heightened by changes to emission rules and higher car taxes. In Sweden sales dropped 18 per cent.

In the main car markets sales fell 13.4 per cent in France, 7.3 per cent in Germany, 7.6 per cent in Spain and 7.3 per cent in the UK, said the European Auto Industry Association (ACEA).

Those figures may have been affected by new rules and tax regimes causing a surge in sales in December as buyers looked to beat a price rise.

The figures mirror the previously posted sales figures for major marques. VW saw new car sales fall slightly at 0.4 per cent in January, PSA (Peugeot, Citroën) dropped 12.9 per cent while Renault, which last month posted its first loss in a decade, saw sales fall 16.3 per cent. Only BMW bucked the trend rising by 5.2 per cent.

Coronavirus is another cause cited for the drop in auto sales. China is a major car market and home to a significant number of component manufacturers in the global supply chain.

A deeper, and longer-term, cause is the fall in demand for petrol and diesel cars in many markets, which is so far only being partly offset by increases in sales of electric vehicles.

FURTHER READING: European car sales rev to record high

FURTHER READING: Chinese auto sector prepares for 2020 decline

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