West European car registrations grew by 8.0% year‐on‐year (YoY) in October. Much of this growth is the result of WLTP‐related distortions in October 2018, which caused a low base effect. Further changes to emissions testing regulations coming in September 2019, along with a final chance to sell a small number of NEDC‐tested vehicles exempt from the September 2018 deadline, also inflated August 2019 sales at the expense of those in September. October sales figures are characterized by a gradual normalisation from September’s weak results. This is most clear in the regional selling rate, which showed modest growth to 13.6 mn units/year in October, from 13.1 mn units/year in September.
The German selling rate rose to 3.3 mn units/year in September, while the market grew by a respectable 12.7% YoY. In the UK, the selling rate of 2.1 mn units/year showed only modest growth from September’s disappointing figure of 2.0 mn units/year, while the market diminished by 6.7% YoY. In France, sales rose by a respectable 8.7% YoY in October. Italy saw a YoY increase of 6.6%, while the selling rate remained steady at 1.9 mn units/year. The Spanish market underwent 6.3% YoY growth in October, though the selling rate dropped to 1.2 mn units/year from 1.3 mn units/year the previous month.
The final months of 2019 are expected to see further selling rate improvements, though, overall for the year, the market is unlikely to outperform 2018. Furthermore, with ongoing economic headwinds, we expect the market will not make any progress next year.