Car sales in Western Europe grew by an impressive 14.2%, year-on-year in June, according to data released by LMC Automotive. The positive result comes amid an emerging political and economic crisis in Greece that threatens Europe’s economic outlook.
LMC said that after a weaker May, the West European car market picked up again in June, with its selling rate climbing above 13.2m units a year.
However, the forecasters at LMC sounded a note of caution that despite the positive result, recent developments threaten growth. While a collapse in the Greek car market itself would not have a significant impact at the West European total car market level, LMC said a greater issue is the potential contagion coming from a Greek euro exit, which could impact the banking sector, bond yields and consumer confidence generally. LMC warned that scenario could well see the eurozone plunge back into recession, with car market growth in the region unwinding in 2016.
“The likelihood of Greece leaving the euro has risen sharply in the last week or so, and this could potentially knock market recovery off course later this year,” said LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt. “We continue to closely monitor the situation.” However, he maintains that at this stage he does not envisage a return to economic recession in the region as a core assumption. “We have to see how the situation plays out this week,” he said. “Various scenarios are possible at this stage. The wider significance of current events in Greece, their implications for the euro currency, financial markets and indeed the European economy, remain rather unclear right now.”
The German car market was up by 12.9% in June with the year-to-date market up by 5.2%. The UK car market continued to pick up well, the first half of the year up 7% over H1 2014. The Spanish car market registered another strong month in June, growing by 23.5% year-on-year. In Italy, the car market saw double-digit growth for the sixth consecutive month, year-to-date 15% up on 2014. After falling in May, car registrations grew in France by 15% year-on-year, aided by more selling days this June versus last year.
|Sales (units)||Selling rate (units/year)|
|Jun 2015||Jun 2014||Percent change||Year-to-date 2015||Year-to-date 2014||Percent change||Jun 2015||Year-to-date 2015||Year 2014||Percent change|
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.