• EU car market up just 1.4% in November
  • German and French car markets contracted in November
  • Spanish market boosted by scrappage, but growth coming off a low base
  • UK car market topping out and forecast to plateau in 2015
  • Value-driven brands out-performing the market
Dacia Duster is selling well in Europe this year

Dacia Duster is selling well in Europe this year

New car sales in the EU scraped to a 1.4% gain in November amid continued industry concern over the weak pace of market recovery in the EU area.

ACEA said that EU car sales in November reached 953,886 units, taking cumulative sales in the first 11 months to 11,600,383 units, 5.7% ahead of the same period last year.

November's market was helped by growth in Spain (+17.4%) which is benefiting from a scrappage scheme, the UK (+8%) and Italy (+5%). However, the German car market declined by 1.8% and France was down by 2.7%.

ACEA noted that substantial growth from new EU member states helped to boost the regional total.

Analysts are concerned with continued weak economic growth in the eurozone area and the dangers of price deflation, which could see economic stagnation become entrenched, Japan-style. Fears of falling prices are likely to deepen as the price of oil continues to fall.

LMC Automotive 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.

In the automotive industry, weak demand in European markets is continuing to heighten competitive pressures on mainstream brands who are also being squeezed by the success of value brands such as Renault-owned Dacia and growing sales from premium marques.

In the first 11 months of the year, Dacia car sales in the EU were up by 27.1% at 331,762 units. In the same period market leader Volkswagen Group also posted large rises for its value brands of Skoda (514,073 units; +15.5%) and SEAT (292,221 units; +13.1%).