EU new car market records ‘exceptional’ rise ahead of WLTP

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New car registrations in Europe saw unseasonable growth over the summer in advance of the shift to the new WLTP cycle.

Cars in showroom

EU new car registrations were up 31.2% in August

Figures published by the ACEA European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association show that July registrations rose 10.5% to almost 1.3 million units. Growth was recorded in all major EU markets. Spain (+19.3%), France (+18.9%) and Germany (+12.3%) posted the highest increases, followed by Italy (+4.7%) and the United Kingdom (+1.2%).

However, it was August – typically the lowest sales month of the year – that saw the highest growth with a 31.2% rise in overall EU new car registrations to more than 1.1 million new vehicles. Double-digit percentage gains were registered in many EU countries, as well as in the five major markets.

The ACEA acknowledged that the exceptional growth was down to the introduction of the new WLTP test that applies to all new car registrations from 1 September 2018. Stringent derogation targets mean that some carmakers have been offering extremely attractive prices for NEDC-tested vehicles in the run-up to the deadline.

The unusually strong performance over the summer helped boost the year-to-date figures. For the first eight months of the year, car registrations were up 6.1% to reach 10.8 million units. Within the major markets, demand went up in Spain (+14.6%), France (+8.9%) and Germany (+6.4%), while car sales remained stable in Italy (+0.1%) and contracted in the United Kingdom (-4.2%).

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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.