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2016 (Full Year) Europe: Car Sales per EU and EFTA Country

by Henk Bekker

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Geneva Auto Salon 2016

In 2016, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA increased by 6.5% to 15 million cars. Germany was the largest car market in Europe followed by the UK, France, Italy and Spain. The Netherlands and Switzerland were the only countries in Europe with weaker car sales in 2016.

European New Car Market in 2016 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU) and EFTA countries increased in 2016 by 6.5% to 15,131,719 cars – the highest number since 2007. This represents an increase of around 930,000 cars from the 14,202,273 cars sold in 2015. The EU expanded even faster by 6.8% to 14,641,256 cars.

2016 was the third consecutive year of passenger car sales increases in the EU and EFTA. The current period of expansion started in December 2013. Car sales in Europe increased in 38 of the previous 40 months – only July and October 2016 had negative figures. December 2016 was the strongest December on record.

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Car Sales in December in Europe © ACEA
Car Sales in December in Europe © ACEA

New passenger vehicle registrations in the EU and EFTA were as follows in recent years:

Year

Sales EU & EFTA

% Change

2016

15,131,719

6.5

2015

14,202,024

9.2

2014

13,006,451

5.4

2013

12,308,215

-1.8

2012

12,527,912

-7.8

2011

13,573,550

-1.4

2010

13,785,698

-4.9

2009

14,481,545

-1.6

2008

14,712,158

-7.8

2007

15,958,871

1.1

Note: Statistics are for countries belonging to the EU / EFTA in the relevant years. All figures exclude Malta.

Car Sales Per European Union and EFTA Country 2016

New passenger vehicle registrations per EU and EFTA country were as follows according to the ACEA in 2016 (full year):

Country

Sales 2016

Sales 2015

% Change

EU + EFTA

15,131,719

14,202,273

6.5

AUSTRIA

329,604

308,555

6.8

BELGIUM

539,519

501,066

7.7

BULGARIA

26,370

23,500

12.2

CROATIA

43,015

34,820

23.5

CYPRUS

12,643

10,344

22.2

CZECH REPUBLIC

259,693

230,857

12.5

DENMARK

222,927

207,556

7.4

ESTONIA

22,429

20,347

10.2

FINLAND

118,986

108,819

9.3

FRANCE

2,015,177

1,917,226

5.1

GERMANY

3,351,607

3,206,042

4.5

GREECE

78,873

75,805

4

HUNGARY

96,552

77,171

25.1

IRELAND

146,603

124,804

17.5

ITALY

1,824,968

1,575,737

15.8

LATVIA

16,359

13,765

18.8

LITHUANIA

20,320

17,085

18.9

LUXEMBOURG

50,561

46,473

8.8

NETHERLANDS

382,825

448,927

-14.7

POLAND

416,123

354,975

17.2

PORTUGAL

207,330

178,503

16.1

ROMANIA

94,924

81,162

17

SLOVAKIA

88,163

77,968

13.1

SLOVENIA

63,674

59,450

7.1

SPAIN

1,147,007

1,034,232

10.9

SWEDEN

372,318

345,108

7.9

UNITED KINGDOM

2,692,786

2,633,503

2.3

EUROPEAN UNION

14,641,356

13,713,800

6.8

ICELAND

18,442

14,004

31.7

NORWAY

154,603

150,686

2.6

SWITZERLAND

317,318

323,783

-2

EFTA

490,363

488,473

0.4

EU + EFTA

15,131,719

14,202,273

6.5

ACEA statistics exclude Malta.

Car Sales in European Countries in 2016

New passenger vehicle registrations in 2016 increased in all but two EU and EFTA countries. The Netherlands was the weakest performer and the only EU country with weaker car sales in 2016. The Dutch new car market shrank by 14.7%, or 66,000 fewer cars than in 2015. The Dutch car market slipped from 7th largest in Europe to 8th, as the Polish market expanded by 60,000 cars.

The Swiss car market contracted by 2% in 2016. As a result, Austria replaced Switzerland as the tenth largest car market in Europe.

The rank order of the six largest car markets remained unaltered from previous years: Germany followed by the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium. The top three markets grew slower than the European average. However, Germany still added 145,000 cars, Britain 60,000 cars, and France 98,000.

The strongest growth in the larger markets in 2016 came in Italy where car sales were up 16% or a massive quarter of a million more than a year ago. The Spanish new car market also expanded rapidly and added 113,000 cars.

The fastest growth in car sales was in the smaller markets: Iceland (32%), Hungary (25%), Croatia (24%), and Cyprus (22%).

Despite a difficult year, the Volkswagen Group remained Europe’s largest car manufacturing group, Volkswagen the best-selling car brand and the VW Golf the top-selling car model in Europe in 2016.

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