West European car registrations grew by just 0.1% year‐on‐year (YoY) in July. The selling rate climbed to 14.3 mn units/year in July, from 14.2 mn units/year in June.
In Germany, sales increased 4.7% YoY in July, with the selling rate rising beyond 3.8 mn units/year. The UK market was down 4.1% YoY in July, and the selling rate fell to 2.28 mn units/year – even lower than H1’s disappointing results.
French car sales fell 1.8% YoY in July; however the selling rate continued to linger at the 2.2 mn units/year mark. Italian registrations were down 0.1% YoY in July; despite an extra selling day. The selling rate – which at 1.9 mn units/year is in line with the average for the year to date (YTD) – underlines the lacklustre pace of sales in Italy. The Spanish market disappointed, contracting by 11.1% YoY in July, whilst the selling rate has fallen further, to 1.2 mn units/year.
For the YTD, Western European sales are down 3% YoY, although the selling rate is currently averaging a relatively strong 14.4 mn units/year. Next month is likely to see significant YoY declines in almost all Western European markets, given an exceptional base effect. August 2018 posted the highest selling rate ever seen in Western Europe (18.4 mn units/year), due to purchases being brought forward ahead of the WLTP implementation. From September, the YoY comparisons should swing back into positive territory, but given the generally sluggish performance of most major markets in the YTD, full year growth is likely to remain subdued.