EU new car market puts in best performance since 2008

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European new car registrations rose 9.0% to 1.34 million cars in April, marking the best performance for the month since 2008.

The EU new car market saw its best April performance since 2008 and the highest monthly increase over the last 13 months

The EU new car market saw its best April performance since 2008 and the highest monthly increase over the last 13 months

The increase, revealed in figures from Jato Dynamics, follows the 5.2% decline posted in March, and marks the highest monthly rise since March 2017, boosting the year-to-date figures to 5,607,856 registrations – an increase of 2.5% year on year.

Highlights include a return to growth in the UK, with registrations in April up by 10.4% its highest monthly increase since June 2015. However, this was due to two additional selling days and the after effects of the VED tax changes from 2017.

Switzerland was the only market to register a decline, whilst Germany recorded 314,055 registrations – boosted by the demand for SUVs, which were up 23% due to the strong performance of the Volkswagen T-Roc and Ford Kuga. The Italian market appeared to be unaffected by political uncertainty as more private registrations increased overall results.

However, diesel registrations continued to fall in April, with volume down by 13.2% to 453,500 units – a market share of 36.7%. In contrast, petrol registrations were up by 53.5% to 692,300 units – a market share of 56.1%. Alternatively fuelled vehicles continued to record growth, with volume also up by 53.5% as they counted for 5.5% of total registrations. Among them there were 41,200 hybrid, 13,500 plug-in and 13,000 fully-electric registrations.

The SUV sector continued to lead the way, marked out as the best-selling segment in 24 of the 27 markets. Double-digit growth was seen in 25 markets with a huge 116% increase in Croatia. Market share also continued to rise, jumping from 21.4% in April 2015 to 33.3% in April 2018.
The Volkswagen brand was in the top spot for registrations, which rose 19.9% to 161,885 units. The VW Group also gained the most market share across Europe, for the second consecutive month, jumping from 24.9% in April 2017 to 25.7% in April 2018, driven by strong performances of Skoda, Seat and the Volkswagen brand, and high take-up of SUVS, which accounted for 26% of the group’s registrations.

Premium car makers like the BMW Group and Daimler lost ground as a result of double-digit falls in their midsize and compact models. Their market share also suffered as a result of minimal growth in the premium car segment, which increased by only 1.7% in April to 297,800 units.

The VW Golf was once again the most popular model in Europe but the new T-Roc continued to climb the rankings and recorded the highest volume from the market’s newest additions, at 12,950 registrations.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.