Europes car market is growing, but remains well below pre-crisis levels

Europe's car market is growing, but remains well below pre-crisis levels

Car sales in Western Europe grew by a slight 1% in November versus last year, according to data released by LMC Automotive.

LMC said that November's results highlight that the recovery in new car demand remains fragile in the region.

However, analysts at LMC also noted that November 2014 included one fewer selling day compared to November 2013.

The Seasonally Adjusted Annualised Rate (SAAR) of sales, which takes into account selling day factors, stood at 12.3m units a year. LMC said that while this is weaker than the (revised) 12.7m units a year for October, "it still represents progress".

LMC also said that the economic outlook for Western Europe is now weaker, though a gradual pick-up in GDP growth is still assumed over the next few years. An improving economy should continue to support the recovery of the region's car market, LMC said.

Last month, registrations were a little lower in both Germany (-1.8%) and France. The selling rate in Germany eased back to 3m units a year from the 3.2m units recorded last year.

In Spain, the PIVE scrappage incentive scheme has been extended again. The selling rate for the last couple of months has been comfortably above 900,000 units a year, "setting it up well for further growth heading into 2015".

New car registrations in Italy were a little higher in November with the selling rate above 1.4m units for a second month, "though the potential remains for somewhat stronger growth once economic conditions become more supportive".

UK car registrations grew strongly once again, up 8% year-on-year. LMC noted that the UK market will have contributed to well over a third of the region's volume growth for the 2014 full-year.

LMC said it expects the UK market to make a much smaller contribution to the region's volume growth over coming years - it effectively having already fully recovered to pre-Great Recession levels - and the market has continued to strengthen recently. A strong economic performance and competitive car deals are among factors helping support the market, LMC noted.

LMC forecasts that the West European car market will reach 12.11m units in 2014 (+4.8% on 2013) with growth of 2.8% to 12.45m units projected for 2015 (for comparison, that's lower than 2011's 12.81m). In 2007, the market peaked at 14.8m units.

West European Car Sales

  Sales ( units) Selling rate (units/year)
  Nov 2014 Nov 2013 Percent change Year-to-date
2014
Year-to-date
2013
Percent change 11/2/2014 Year-to-date
2014
Year 2013 Percent change
WESTERN EUROPE 919,5 09 91 0,236 1% 11181677 10,66 5,201 4.8% 1 2,320,440 12,093, 433 11546171 4.7%
AUSTRIA 23,0 95 23350 -1.1% 287403 29 8,204 -3.6% 309722 309, 722 319035 -2.9%
BELGIUM 29,7 39 32023 -7.1% 455949 46 0,984 -1.1% 446778 480, 106 486065 -1.2%
DENMARK 13,8 79 15897 -12.7% 172348 16 7,941 2.6% 174332 189, 905 182198 4.2%
FINLAND 7,2 20 7468 -3.3% 99127 97527 1.6% 118754 104, 624 103450 1.1%
FRANCE 135,0 70 13 8,279 -2.3% 1632201 1,61 4,532 1.1% 1777357 1,809, 080 1789868 1.1%
GERMANY 250,1 00 25 4,651 -1.8% 2807091 2,73 7,111 2.6% 3001840 3,055, 480 2952431 3.5%
GREEC E 5,6 05 5464 2.6% 65457 54448 20.2% 76717 68, 819 58696 17.2%
IRELAN D 7 82 700 11.7% 96273 74105 29.9% 94904 97, 001 74317 30.5%
ITALY 107,9 65 10 2,922 4.9% 1266862 1,21 5,595 4.2% 1408298 1,362, 293 1304300 4.4%
LU XEMBOURG 3,2 70 3544 -7.7% 45939 44069 4.2% 51334 49, 371 46624 5.9%
NETHER LANDS 32,5 07 40354 -19.4% 352723 37 7,647 -6.6% 430950 378, 496 416810 -9.2%
NO RWAY 11,4 86 12079 -4.9% 131553 13 0,756 0.6% 141707 144, 387 142151 1.6%
PO RTUGAL 11,6 86 8810 32.6% 130834 97285 34.5% 147541 144, 544 105897 36.5%
SPAIN 65,1 22 55453 17.4% 781723 66 2,180 18.1% 925287 859, 729 722693 19%
SWEDEN 25,9 16 24779 4.6% 276804 24 3,224 13.8% 306899 307, 920 269014 14.5%
SWITZERLAND 23,7 40 24882 -4.6% 269153 27 7,774 -3.1% 303279 296, 492 307885 -3.7%
UK 172,3 27 15 9,581 8% 2310237 2,11 1,819 9.4% 2604741 2,435, 466 2264737 7.5%
Notes: Austria, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg and Switzerland: estimates for latest month
The percent change in the final column compares the average selling rate in the year-to-date with the last full year.