Passenger car: 8.2% drop in registrations as financial crisis further affects European car markets

Brussels, 15/10/2008 – New car registrations in Europe* fell by 8.2% in September compared to the same month last year, despite two working days extra across the region.

Brussels, 15/10/2008 – New car registrations in Europe* fell by 8.2% in September compared to the same month last year, despite two working days extra across the region**. Usually, September is a strong month for car sales that tend to pick up after the calmer summer months. In absolute numbers, registrations stalled at 1,304,653 units, or the lowest September level since 1998. Three quarters into 2008, a total of 11,713,937 new passenger cars were registered, or -4.4% less than over the same period of last year. The drop in registrations confirms the aggravating market circumstances, as the fall-out of the financial crisis hits auto manufacturers hard. The credit crunch weighs on the sector’s ability to finance daily operations and sustain the high level of investments needed to support the market transition to low-emission vehicles. At the same time, demand for new cars is weakening because of the deteriorating economic circumstances. Customers are increasingly hesitant to make large expenditures and find it more difficult to get their purchase financed.

Markets in Western Europe registered 1,211,378 new cars in September, or 9.3% less than in the same month last year. Despite the current negative economic climate, the French market proved to be robust, growing by a sound 8.4%, compensating the drop in August sales (-7.1%). With a slight decrease of 1.5%, the German market remained stable in September, following a 10.4% decrease in August. The Italian market fell by 5.5%. The steepest declines came from the UK (-21.2%) and Spain (-32.2%).

Cumulative figures from January to September result in a 5% decrease in Western Europe. France and Germany remained strong markets, with a respective growth of 3.4% and 1.3%. Registrations in the British (-7.5%), Italian (-11.3%) and Spanish (-22.0%) markets dropped compared to the three-quarter figures for 2007. Markets in the new EU Member States recorded growth (+7.8%) in September with 93,275 new vehicles registered. Of the four largest markets, only the Hungarian contracted (-4.3%). The Czech Republic (+32.2%), Romania (+17.4%) and Poland*** (+1.8%) all posted growth.

Over the first nine months of the year, new passenger car registrations in this region have risen by 3.0%, thanks to robust markets in Poland (+8.8%) and the Czech Republic (+10.4%). 

* EU27 + EFTA, data for Cyprus and Malta unavailable

** 3 extra working days for the Czech Republic and none for Slovakia

*** Data for Poland were still estimates at the time of publication


About ACEA

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler Truck, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco Group, JLR, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo Group
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About the EU automobile industry

  • 12.9 million Europeans work in the automotive sector
  • 8.3% of all manufacturing jobs in the EU
  • €392.2 billion in tax revenue for European governments
  • €101.9 billion trade surplus for the European Union
  • Over 7% of EU GDP generated by the auto industry
  • €59.1 billion in R&D spending annually, 31% of EU total
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