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%.
European market: Western Europe sales back to 13 million units for first time in six years; expected to increase in 2016 as well; VW's share falls
In Europe (30 countries), sales volume of passenger cars in 2015 increased by 9.2% y/y to 14.2 million units (according to preliminary data from ACEA).
Sales volume in Western Europe (18 countries) increased by 9.0% to 13.2 million units, which accounted for more than 90% of the sales volume in Europe. Sales volume recovered to the 13 million unit level for the first time in six years. However, compared to the sales levels of 14.5 to 14.9 million units before the economic crisis, the sales level in 2015 was approximately 10% less.
Passenger cars sales in each country recovered in 2015, but sales volume in five major markets in particular (Germany, the U.K., France, Italy, and Spain) supported the market overall.
It is expected that sales volume in 2016 will continue to increase, although growth will be slower. LMC Automotive predicts that sales volume of light vehicles, which includes passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, will increase by 3.8% in Western Europe.
The president of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), Daimler chairman Zetsche, stated that "the European passenger car market in 2016 will increase slightly at a growth rate of approximately 2%" (January 2016).
As for individual automakers, the market shares of VW and PSA Peugeot Citroen, which previously held the largest market share in Europe (30 countries), and General Motors (GM), the parent company of the Opel brand, saw significant declines. VW, which was rocked by a diesel emissions scandal, had sales volume in Europe increase by 6.2％ to 3.52 million units. This increase supported VW's global sales, but this did not reach the heights of growth achieved by the European market overall. VW's market share in Europe declined by 0.7% y/y to 24.8% in 2015. November and December in particular fell over 2% y/y.
German market: sales recover to 3.2 million units for first time in six years; slight growth forecast for 2016; VW's sales decline in October - December 2015
In 2015, the sales volume of new cars (passenger cars) in Germany increased by 5.6% y/y to 3.206 million units. Sales volume exceeded 3.2 million units for the first time in six years. With the exception of 2009, when sales volume of new cars exceeded 3.8 million units due to a program that subsidized the purchase of new cars, the sales level was the highest since 2006 (3.48 million units).
LMC Automotive predicts growth in the German light vehicle market (passenger car and light truck) will slow in 2016 and that there will be a sales volume increase of approximately 1% to 3.45 million units. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) also predicts that sales volume of passenger cars in 2016 will increase by approximately 1% (December 2015).
As for automaker groups, the sales volume of the top five-VW, Daimler, BMW, GM, and Renault-Nissan-increased in 2015. Among these five groups, the market shares of Daimler and BMW grew from 9.7% to 10.1%, and 8.9% to 9.0%, respectively. At the same time, the market shares of the VW, GM, and Renault-Nissan groups declined from 39.7% to 39.1%, 7.4% to 7.2%, and 7.2％ to 7.1％, respectively.
The cumulative sales volume of the VW group, the market leader, increased by 5.9％ y/y in the period from January to September and exceeded the overall market (5.5%). However, after the diesel emissions scandal was uncovered, cumulative sales volume in the October to December period declined by 0.8% y/y, which was a contributing factor to its 2015 market share falling for the year as a whole.
U.K. market: sales mark record high; same level expected in 2016; VW's share falls
In the U.K., the sales volume of new cars (passenger cars) increased by 6.3% y/y to 2.633 million units in 2015, which was a record high. The increase was underpinned by the strong economy and low interest rates. LMC Automotive predicts that the U.K. light vehicle market (passenger cars and light trucks) will shrink slightly in 2016. In October 2015, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also predicted that the market will be slightly lower in 2016 than it was in 2015.
As for automaker groups, Renault-Nissan and BMW had strong sales with double digit increases. The groups saw their respective market shares rise to 9.8% (an increase of 0.5% y/y), and 8.8% (an increase of 0.6% y/y). However, GM's sales volume declined by 1.1% y/y.
The VW group, which held the top market share, had maintained the same growth rate as the overall market in the period from January to September, but the automaker's sales volume in October and November declined y/y after the diesel emissions scandal was revealed. VW's market share declined by 0.6%, from 20.6% in 2014 to 20.0% in 2015.
French market: sales increase by 6.8% to 1.92 million units; continued growth expected in 2016; PSA's share falls
In 2015, the sales volume of new cars (passenger cars) in France increased by 6.8% y/y to 1.917 million units. This was the largest increase since 2009, but is still low compared to past levels of more than 2.0 million units. LMC Automotive predicts that the French light vehicle market (passenger cars and light trucks) in 2016 will continue to recover and that sales volume will increase by approximately 3%.
In terms of sales by automaker group, the sales volume of the top three-PSA, Renault-Nissan, and VW-increased, but their market shares declined. PSA's market share in particular declined by 0.7% y/y to 29.1%, which was the lowest level in the last decade. The VW group's market share also declined y/y after November.
Meanwhile, the market shares of automaker groups that did not rank in the top five-BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Daimler, and Hyundai-all grew.
Italian market: sales exceed 1.5 million units for first time in four years; continued recovery expected in 2016
In 2015, the sales volume of new cars (passenger cars) in Italy increased by 15.8% y/y to 1.575 million units. The increase was due to the recovery of consumer sentiment. Sales volume exceeded 1.5 million units for the first time in four years, and this was the largest growth in the last decade. However, compared to the sales volume in 2007, which exceeded 2.5 million units, sales were still at a low level.
LMC Automotive predicts that the Italian light vehicle market (passenger car and light truck) will continue to recover significantly in 2016, and that sales volume will increase by approximately 10%.
As for the sales volume of automaker groups, the top five-FCA, VW, Renault-Nissan, PSA, and Ford-grew significantly in 2015. Of these, the three groups that saw market share increase were FCA (27.5% to 28.2%), Renault-Nissan (12.5% to 12.6%), and Ford (6.7% to 7.0%). For the same period, VW and PSA saw their respective market shares decline from 14.0% to 13.3% and 9.3% to 9.1%. The VW group's market share did not fall starting from October, but its growth could not keep up with the rapid recovery in the Italian market from early-2015.
Spanish market: sales rapidly recover due to government support measures; sales increase by 23% to 1.19 million units
In Spain, the sales volume of new cars (passenger cars) in 2015 increased by 22.7% y/y to 1.189 million units. Sales volume recovered to the 1 million unit level for the first time since 2010. The increase was due to a subsidy program for the purchase of new cars. The Spanish government has decided to extend the subsidy program to mid-2016. However, annual sales volume in 2005 to 2007 was approximately 1.8 million units. Sales volume in 2015 was only two-thirds of that.
LMC Automotive predicts that the Spanish light vehicle market will grow in 2016, and that sales volume will increase by 10% to approximately 1.3 million units.
The top five automaker groups-VW, Renault-Nissan, PSA, Hyundai, and Ford-saw significant increases to their sales volume in 2015. Of these five groups, the market shares of Renault-Nissan, Hyundai, and Ford grew from 17.7% to 18.3%, 6.9% to 7.5%, and 7.29% to 7.34%, respectively. The market shares of VW and PSA declined from 21.9% to 20.7% and 15.8% to 15.4%, respectively.
The VW group, which holds the number one position, has seen its market share decline since 2011 (23.7%), with the VW and SEAT brands experiencing the largest drops.
Sales Forecast by LMC Automotive: West European market to reach to 16 million units in 2019
|(LMC Automotive, Quarter 4, 2015)|
LMC Automotive forecasts that West Europe's light vehicle sales in 2016 will continue to grow to 15.3 million units, up 3.8 percent from the previous year (based on the Quarter 4, 2015 forecast). The major contributors will be the Italian market and Spanish markets. Sales will continue to increase in the Italian market, albeit from low numbers historically speaking, together with the recovering economy. Meanwhile, the Spanish market will continue to be supported by a government scrappage incentive and economic recovery.
LMC Automotive forecasts West Europe's light vehicle sales to continue increasing and reach 16 million units in 2019. However, the pace of recovery is expected to gradually slow from an annual increase of 4 percent to 2 percent. The top two markets, Germany and UK, will likely stay at their 2015 levels. The UK, in particular, has recently seen record-strength from which further expansion is unlikely.
West Europe light vehicle sales forecast
|Source: LMC Automotive "Global Automotive Sales Forecast" (Q4 2015)|
|(Note) 1.||Data indicates the figures of small-size vehicles only, which includes passenger cars and light commercial vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight of under 6 tons.|
|2.||All rights reserved. Reproduction of any data requires the permission of LMC Automotive.|
|For more detailed information, or inquiries about forecast data, please contact LMC Automotive.|
Statistics table: sales volume of passenger cars in Europe (by country and OEM)
Sales volume of passenger cars in Europe (30 countries)
|Europe (EU + EFTA)||13,006,885||14,202,024||+9.2|
|West Europe (EU15 + EFTA)||12,113,713||13,200,578||+9.0|
Sales volume of passenger cars in Europe (30 countries) by OEM
|Unit sales||Change (%)||Share (%)|
|JAGUAR LAND ROVER||144,442||180,828||+25.2||1.1||1.3|
|OTHERS-Subaru & Daihatsu||34,650||39,585||+14.2||0.3||0.3|
<Automotive Industry Portal MarkLines>