West European car registrations grew by 9.1%, year on year (YoY), in April. The selling rate for the region picked up from 14.1 mn units/year in March to 14.4 mn units/year in April.
Spain delivered the largest percentage YoY increase of the major markets, at 12.3%. The Spanish market is also notable for having seen double‐digit growth, of 11%, in the year‐to‐date (YTD). Germany also enjoyed a strong month, with the market expanding by 8%, as the selling rate moved towards 3.5 mn units/year.
France continued a run of robust results with a 9% YoY increase in April, while Italy also saw a solid YoY rise in April, of 6.5%, which returned the market to growth in YTD terms, albeit only to the tune of 0.2%.
For the first time in just over a year, the UK market saw YoY growth, of 10.4%, but this was due to base effects as sales fell in April 2017.
Given that seasonal effects were at work in a number of markets in April, our overall 2018 outlook for the West European market is little changed from last month, with growth of 1.8% foreseen. The introduction of the WLTP emissions and fuel economy tests, and any possible impact on sales due to taxation changes, is a risk to the forecast, and we will continue to monitor the situation as the year progresses.