2011 (First Half) Best-Selling Car Markets by European Countries

The European car market was relatively flat during the first half of 2011. Cars sales in Germany was strong but weak in Italy and Britain.

VW Golf Cabrio
漏 Volkswagen Media Services

During the first six months of 2011, a total of 7,120,499 new passenger vehicle registrations were recorded in the European Union (EU*). This is a decline of 2.1% from the number of new cars sold in Europe during the first half of 2010. Germany and France remained the largest markets while Italy and the UK just managed to breach the million cars sold level. EFTA countries generally performed well.

2011 New Passenger Vehicle Registrations by European Country

According to the ACEA, car sales in European countries (European Union plus EFTA) from January to June 2011 were as follows:

Jan – Jun 2011Jan – Jun 2011% Chg
AUSTRIA187.593169.675+10,6
BELGIUM326.445320.203+1,9
BULGARIA9.1667.299+25,6
CZECH REPUBLIC88.28489.026-0,8
DENMARK87.25373.763+18,3
ESTONIA7.5033.895+92,6
FINLAND71.32862.446+14,2
FRANCE1.225.0841.212.436+1,0
GERMANY1.622.5791.468.791+10,5
GREECE55.27598.531-43,9
HUNGARY23.11221.537+7,3
IRELAND77.13467.593+14,1
ITALY1.012.8491.165.396-13,1
LATVIA4.0002.048+95,3
LITHUANIA6.6233.277+102,1
LUXEMBURG28.59629.677-3,6
NETHERLANDS329.274270.106+21,9
POLAND138.716147.002-5,6
PORTUGAL 91.905115.250-20,3
ROMANIA31.75836.636-13,3
SLOVAKIA34.18327.710+23,4
SLOVENIA32.94232.403+1,7
SPAIN442.217604.162-26,8
SWEDEN157.042138.079+13,7
UNITED KINGDOM1.029.6381.108.662-7,1
EUROPEAN UNION (EU27)*7.120.4997.275.603-2,1
ICELAND3.0561.925+58,8
NORWAY68.50561.969+10,5
SWITZERLAND158.474148.505+6,7
EFTA230.035212.399+8,3
EU27*+EFTA7.350.5347.488.002-1,8

*EU figures exclude the very small Malta and Cyprus markets.

European Car Market during the First Half of 2011

The European car market was mainly flat during the first half of 2011. Of the four largest car markets in Europe, Germany did the best with an increase in new passenger car registration of 10.5% compared to the January to June 2010 period. The French market was flat (+1%), while both the United Kingdom (-7%) and Italy (-13%) just managed to sell more than a million cars each.

Greece, not surprisingly, was the worst performer with new passenger vehicle registration for the first half of 2011 down 44%. The much larger Spanish market also struggled with new car sales down 27% while neighboring Portugal saw a decline of 20%.

The strongest car markets in Europe during the first half of 2011 were in the smaller countries (sub 10,000 new passenger vehicle registration). The car markets in the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) almost doubled in size.聽 The more substation Dutch market (+22%) also saw solid growth.

Volkswagen Group and VW easily remained the strongest car manufacturer and brand in Europe during the first half of 2011.

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.