West European car registrations grew by 26.6% year‐on‐year (YoY) in August, although this was largely a result of one‐off effects linked to the change to WLTP emissions regulations. The regional selling rate rose to an all‐time high of 18.4 mn units/year for last month, from 14.7 mn units/year in July, but we should not read too much into this due to the unique circumstances affecting Western European sales currently.
In France, registrations soared by 40% YoY, while for the year‐to‐date (YTD), sales are up 8.9%. There was a similar story in Spain, where sales surged by 48.7% YoY in August, with the selling rate reaching a record level of over 1.9 mn units/year.
The size of the WLTP‐related uplift in Germany was a little smaller in percentage terms, at 24.7%, but this still had a large impact on the regional selling rate. UK car sales grew by 23.1% YoY, albeit from a low base, given that August is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year. Italy was less affected by WLTP, but registrations were still up a healthy 9.5% YoY.
In general terms, we expect that the exceptionally high WLTP‐related sales volumes recorded in July and August will be cancelled out by lower sales as we move into the autumn; such that the net effect on the year as a whole will be fairly neutral. However, we have recently revised down our forecast for the Netherlands, which sees the overall Western European 2018 sales forecast nudge down to 1.5%, from 1.6% last month.