West European car registrations grew by 13.9% year‐on‐year (YoY) in September. This YoY growth was inevitable due to WLTP‐related distortions in September 2018, which caused a low base effect. Further changes to emissions testing regulations came into effect on 1st September 2019, which appear to have pulled forward sales to August, at the expense of September. The regional selling rate fell to 13.1 mn units/year in September, from 16.9 mn units/year in August.
The German selling rate was just 3.0 mn units/year in September, even though the market grew by 22.2% YoY, helped by extremely low sales a year ago. In the UK, the selling rate fell to just 2.0 mn units/year, with the market gaining a disappointing 1.3% YoY.
In France, sales rose 16.6% YoY in September, while the selling rate fell, but only to a still‐ respectable 2.2 mn units/year. Italy saw a YoY increase of 13.4%, while the selling rate dropped to 1.8 mn units/year. The Spanish market experienced 18.3% YoY growth in sales in September, with the selling rate standing at 1.3 mn units/year.
After the abrupt fall in the selling rate in September, we expect an improvement throughout the remainder of 2019. There are no apparent issues with the availability of models this year, unlike in 2018, when several OEMs were unable to sell certain models due to failure to achieve WLTP approval. However, time is running out for any meaningful full‐year growth to materialise, so we believe that regional sales will be essentially flat, YoY.