Economic and Market Report: state of the EU auto industry – Full-year 2019

ACEA has published the full-year 2019 edition of its Economic and Market Report with the latest figures on the registration, production and trade of passenger cars and commercial vehicles, both in Europe and around the world.

The 26-page Economic and Market Report contains a wealth of information and can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

Key takeaways

EU economic outlook

  • In 2019, overall economic activity in the European Union expanded by 1.5%.
  • However, the outlook for 2020 has changed dramatically because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • EU GDP is set to contract by 7.4% in 2020 before growing by 6.1% in 2021, assuming that the pandemic remains under control.
  • Unemployment in the EU is expected to increase to 9% in 2020.

Passenger car registrations

  • In 2019, new car registrations increased by 1.2% in the European Union.
  • Car demand in the United States contracted by 3.2% last year.
  • Japanese passenger car sales fell 1.8% compared to 2018.
  • Car registrations in China decreased by 8.9% to 21.2 million units.

Passenger car production

  • European car output decreased by 4.6% to 18.5 million units.
  • Car production in the United States declined by 7.2% in 2019.
  • Chinese production contracted by 9.0%, with 20.7 million cars manufactured in 2019.

Exports and imports of passenger cars

  • The European Union exported 5 million passenger cars with a value of €124 billion in 2019.
  • Over the same period, the value of EU car imports substantially increased (+15.6%) to a total of €53 billion.

Commercial vehicle registrations

  • In 2019, commercial vehicle registrations in the EU increased by 2.5% to 2,546,830 units.
  • Registrations of new vans reached 2.1 million units in 2019, a 2.8% year-on-year increase.
  • Truck demand increased slightly by 0.9% to 388,342 units last year.

Commercial vehicle production

  • Commercial vehicle output on the European continent posted a 3.0% decline in 2019, with 3.5 million units built in total.
  • North America’s production expanded by 3.6% in 2019, driven by pickup trucks.
  • Chinese production declined by 1.7% in 2019, with 5.3 million units built.
  • Full-year commercial vehicle output fell sharply (-10.1%) in South America.

Exports and imports of commercial vehicles

  • Truck and bus exports generated a €4.8 billion trade surplus for the EU in 2019.
  • However, van imports outstripped exports by €2.3 billion.

Should you have any additional questions about this Economic and Market Report, please contact the ACEA Statistics department.


Reproduction of the content of this document is not permitted without the prior written consent of ACEA. Whenever reproduction is permitted, ACEA shall be referred to as source of the information. Quoting or referring to this document is permitted provided ACEA is referred to as the source of the information. 


This information was presumed to be correct at the time of publication. However, ACEA is not responsible for any inconsistencies or errors in the data.

Content type Publication
Vehicle types All vehicles
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