LMC Automotive European Passenger Car Sales Update (January 2020)

2020/02/07

Summary

  • West European car registrations fell by 7.7% year‐on‐year (YoY) in January. With new binding EU emissions regulations coming into effect at the start of 2020, January suffered the consequences of a pull forward in registrations into December 2019, as OEMs looked to avoid a portion of vehicles from being included in the 2020 CO2 calculations. The selling rate for the region fell to 13.4 mn units/year in January, compared with 15.3 mn units/year in December.
  • In Germany, sales fell 7.3% in YoY terms, though the selling rate remained robust at 3.5 mn units/year. For the UK, sales were also down 7.3% YoY in January, hit by lacklustre economic growth and uncertainty over future emissions policy direction. Spanish sales fell 7.6% YoY, breaking the trend of the previous four months of growth, while Italian registrations saw a 5.9% YoY fall. In France, adjustments to the ‘malus’ tax on new vehicles led to its own pull forward sales in December and subsequent drop in January 2020, YoY.
  • We continue to expect 2020 full year volumes to be impacted by weakening economic growth and some disruption from the binding EU CO2 targets, retaining a forecast of 14.0 mn units for the year.