West European car registrations fell by 23% year‐on‐year (YoY) in September, with WLTP continuing to exert a distorting force on the region following August’s inflated sales. The regional selling rate slipped to 11.3 mn units/year in September, from the record high of 18.4 mn units/year in August.
French car registrations were down 12.8% YoY, but sales for the year‐to‐date (YTD) are still up 6.5%. In Spain, sales fell by 17% YoY in September, with the selling rate declining to 1.1 mn units/year, from 1.9 mn units/year in August, which had been an all‐time high.
The Italian market contracted by 25.4% YoY in September, with the selling rate tumbling below 1.6 mn units/year for the first time in almost three years. Germany saw an even larger percentage YoY decrease in September, as sales fell by 30.5%. Despite this, the German market has still grown 2.4% in the YTD. UK car sales declined by 20.5% YoY, a loss of 87,000 units in YoY terms, further compounding a difficult year for the market (‐7.5% YTD).
Overall, the expected fall in sales due to WLTP‐related distortion did materialise in September, although the impact was far from uniform across the region. Following growth of 1.4% in 2018, we see 2019 growth at 0.8%, as several key markets approach their cyclical peaks.