West European car registrations fell by 7.3% year‐on‐year (YoY) in October, as WLTP continued to cast a shadow over the new car market. The regional selling rate recovered slightly, to 12.6 mn units/year, from the almost six‐year low of 11.3 mn units/year in September.
Germany saw new car sales fall 7.4% YoY in October, a result which reduced the year to date (YTD) gains made from 2.4% for the first nine months, to just 1.4% once October is included. In Italy, registrations also slipped by 7.4%, and YTD sales are now down 3.2%, in what appears to be an increasingly fragile market. Meanwhile, Spanish car sales fell by 6.6% YoY in October, while the selling rate barely improved on September’s 25‐month low.
In the UK, sales were down 2.9% YoY, with the selling rate staging a modest recovery to 2.2 mn units/year. The French car market fell 1.5% YoY, but the selling rate edged above 2 mn units/year, from 1.9 mn units/year in September.
Given the persistence of falling sales in several key markets linked to WLTP‐related disruption, we now see 2018 full‐year growth of 0.8%, a little lower than previously. In addition, with the prospects for economic growth now looking slightly weaker in some key markets, we have reduced the 2019 West European sales forecast in volume terms, with YoY growth seen at 0.9%.