There are signs of an easing of supply shortages in Europe’s car market, which registered a strong November versus supply constrained sales a year ago. Western Europe’s car market reached 920,151 units in the month, some 18.7% ahead of last year’s pace, according to data from LMC Automotive (a GlobalData company).

However, year-to-date new car sales (first eleven months) for the region are down 5.9% at 9.1 million units.

The annualised selling rate also picked up significantly in November. The Western Europe car market annualised selling rate rose from 10.3 million units/year in October to 12.2 million units/year in November – the second strongest performance of the year behind August.

Western Europe car market picks up

The German new car selling rate rose from 2.4 million units/year in October to 3.2 million units/year in November. In the UK, the new car selling rate rose to 2.2 million units/year, up from 2.0 million in October and 1.3 million in September. For France, the selling rate also improved to 1.8 million units/year in November from 1.5 million units/year in October. The Italian selling rate picked up to 1.5 million units/year from 1.4 million units/year in the previous two months. Meanwhile, Spain’s latest new car selling rate picked up from the previous month, with October and November at 860k and 970k units/year respectively.

In 2022, supply constraints have led to long lead times for new vehicles, and in the process ensured that transaction prices are well above historical norms.

For 2023, GlobalData forecasts that these bottlenecks will ease as the year progresses. However, the demand side is also fraught with headwinds including high inflation, falling consumer confidence, stretched household budgets and tighter monetary policy. GlobalData says it assumes 2023 will comfortably outpace 2022 ‘though we are a little more cautious than last month as we balance the ongoing risks to both supply and demand’.