Auto industry forecasts modest growth for 2016

Brussels, 21 January 2016 – Ahead of its 25th Anniversary Reception in Brussels this evening, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) shared its market expectations and some of its key policy recommendations for 2016.

In 2015, EU passenger car sales grew by 9.3% compared to 2014, bringing the total number of cars sold to 13.7 million units. “But after several rocky years since the 2008 financial crisis, the European car market is moving in the right direction again,” explained ACEA President Dieter Zetsche. “This is great progress, but we are still well below the 2007 pre-crisis level of 15.5 million cars.” The picture is very similar for production numbers, with EU passenger car output up 6.2% in 2015 compared to 2014. In total, around 15.9 million cars were produced last year – still down from almost 17 million in 2007.

“For 2016 we anticipate a much more modest sales increase for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles,” stated Zetsche. “We expect car sales to go up by around 2%, reaching roughly 14 million units.”

Calling for support to tap into greater market opportunities for Europe’s auto manufacturers and suppliers, Zetsche stated: “We need political partners that continue to stand by the principles of free trade. The auto industry – like virtually every other European industry – can best thrive in an environment without trade barriers.”

Dr Zetsche also reiterated the industry’s commitment to contribute constructively to an updated laboratory test for measuring pollutant and CO2 emissions (WLTP), as well as an additional test to measure pollutant emissions under real driving conditions (RDE). Zetsche: “There is no doubt; we need new test cycles in Europe. However, important regulations on CO2, emissions and test cycles continue to be drafted separately – disregarding important interconnections. One fairly small step to better regulation would simply be to harmonise introduction dates to a reasonable extent.”

Notes for editors

Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars

Dieter Zetsche has been a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since 16 December 1998, and Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since 1 January 2006. He is also Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Division.

Dr Zetsche was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on 5 May 1953. After attending school in Frankfurt and obtaining the Abitur (university entrance examination), he studied electrical engineering from 1971 to 1976 at the University of Karlsruhe and graduated as an engineer. He joined the research department of the then Daimler-Benz AG in 1976. Dr Zetsche completed a doctorate in engineering in 1982 at the University of Paderborn. 

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
  • Visit for more information about ACEA, and follow us on or


  • Ben Kennard, Senior Communications Manager,, +32 485 88 66 44

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
Content type Press release
Vehicle types All vehicles
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