European market: car sales increase by 9.2% in 2015; growth to slow in 2016
VW's share after October falls
The European passenger car market (30 countries) experienced a major recovery in 2015. Sales volume of passenger cars increased by 9.2% year-over-year (y/y) to 14.2 million units. The increase was due to factors such as a recovery of consumer sentiment, low interest rates, and government support measures. Recovery is expected to slow, and growth to stall at an increase of only a few percent in 2016. LMC Automotive predicts that the growth rate of the Western European light vehicle market (including small commercial vehicles) in 2016 will be 3.8%, and approximately 2% per annum from 2017 onward.
Volkswagen (VW), which had a diesel emissions scandal exposed in September 2015, saw its European (30 countries) passenger cars sales volume in 2015 increase by 6.2% y/y to 3.52 million units. While VW's global sales fell, its European sales supported those of its group as a whole. VW's market share in Europe fell significantly from October, causing its market share in 2015 to decline by 0.7 percentage point to 24.8%.