The European car market is topping out at a market level in excess of 14m units

The European car market is topping out at a market level in excess of 14m units

West European car registrations grew by 5.4% year-on-year (YoY) in November, according to data released by LMC Automotive. The selling rate for the region increased from 14m units a year in October to 14.6m units a year in November.

The region is now almost guaranteed to see its highest annual sales in a decade at 14.3m units and 2.7% ahead of 2016's total.

Regional growth in November was significantly boosted by an exceptionally strong month for Germany, where registrations increased by 9.4% YoY. The German selling rate jumped to 3.5m units a year from 3.4m units a year the previous month.

Spain delivered the highest percentage growth of the major markets in November, up 12.4%. Meanwhile, France also returned double-digit gains of 10.3%. The Italian car market recorded its best November sales since 2009, with volumes up 6.8% on the same month in 2016.

In stark contrast, the UK suffered a second consecutive month of double-digit falls, as registrations dropped 11.2% in November, and the selling rate slipped to 2.3m units a year.

For 2018, weak UK registrations will act as a drag on the region, with the latter expected by LMC to grow by 0.8% to a little over 14.4m units.

"It looks like 2017 will go down as a pretty solid year for the West European car market," said LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt. "The economic backdrop was broadly favourable and the appetite for car sales was helped by strong consumer confidence across much of the region. However, further growth from the current top-line level will be harder to achieve in 2018, particularly as the UK car market is forecast to continue to decline."

West European car sales by country, November 2017

November 17November 16%chYTD 17YTD 16%ch
W Europe114352310850955.413270443128650403.2
Italy1563321463976.81848379 17008358.7

Source: LMC Automotive