SUV and petrol registrations drive EU car demand

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EU car registrations rose 3.1% in 2017 as an uplift in demand for SUVs and petrol models helped drive the market.

Toyota C-HR

Toyota was amongst the best performing carmakers with volume increasing by 12.4%, driven by the hybrid- or petrol-only C-HR

A total of 15.6 million new cars were registered last year according to figures from JATO – marking the highest volume of registrations since 2007 when 16.0 million units were registered. The strong results were largely attributed to Eastern and Southern Europe, where volume grew by 12.7% and 6.2% respectively.

Within the vehicle segments, SUVs led the growth with a record 4.56 million registrations in 2017; 19.5% higher than the 3.8 million units in 2016. As a result, market share for SUVs has jumped from 25.2% in 2016 to 29.3% in 2017, but impacting the MPV segment, which saw registrations down by 15.1% in 2017 and bringing market share down from 9.4% in 2016 to 7.8% last year – the segment’s lowest market share of the century.

Petrol car registrations grew by 10.9% – an increase of 760,000 units while diesel volumes fell by 7.9% to 6.76 million units (excluding Hungary), accounting for just 43.7% of total registrations in 2017. This is the lowest market share for the diesel segment for 10 years.

The alternatively fuelled vehicle market grew 46.1% to 737,400 units and bringing its market share to 4.8% – up from 3.4% in 2016.

Toyota and Suzuki were the best performing groups of the year, with volume increasing by 12.4% and 20.8% respectively, driven by the C-HR and Ignis. Mercedes-Benz was the top selling premium brand for 2017 followed by BMW, taking Audi, who came third, off the top spot from 2016. Overall, the three German manufacturing groups accounted for 79% of the premium market in 2017.

The Golf retained its position as Europe’s most popular car in 2017. Despite this, its volume fell by 1% and it was the top seller in just five European markets in 2017, compared to eight in 2016. More than half of its registrations were in Germany and the UK.

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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.