West European car registrations increased by 9.1% in year‐on‐year (YoY) terms in July. The regional selling rate also rose, from 14.6 mn units/year in June to 14.7 mn units/year in July.
The Spanish market continued to be a strong performer in July, as new car registrations surged by 19.3% YoY. This annual growth was only marginally higher than that recorded in France, where sales were up by 18.9% YoY, with the selling rate almost reaching 2.3 mn units/year.
New car registrations in Germany jumped by 12.3% in July, with the selling rate reaching a remarkable 3.8 mn units/year. In Italy, sales were up 4.4% YoY, although the selling rate was little changed at 1.9 mn units/year. UK car sales grew by 1.2% YoY, in line with expectations, with the selling rate unchanged at 2.4 mn units/year.
Our full year forecast has been revised up very slightly since last month. We now see YoY growth at 1.6% in 2018, boosted by the particularly strong performance of Germany and France. However, there is a strong suspicion that the surge in registrations is related to the 1st September deadline to register cars under the existing NEDC emissions regulations rather than the more stringent WLTP legislation. Therefore, there should be some payback in the later months of the year, restraining growth for 2018 overall.