2013 (Half Year) Europe: Car Sales by EU & EFTA Countries

Car sales in Europe were down during the first semester of 2013. Germany and Britain were the largest car markets.

Rolls Royce Wraith at the Geneva Auto Show 2013
One in Four Chance He’ll Go for a VW Product

Car sales in the European Union and EFTA countries continue to contract with the overall market down 6.6% during the first semester of 2013 to 6.4 million new passenger vehicle registrations. The United Kingdom was the only major market to expand while car sales in Germany, France, and Italy were sharply down during the first half of 2013. Belgium overtook The Netherlands to become the sixth largest car market in Europe.

The European Car Market in 2013 (First Semester)

Car sales in the European Union (EU) and EFTA countries continued to contract during the first six months of 2013. The total European car market weakened by 6.6% to 6,436,743 new passenger vehicle registrations.

The contraction in the second quarter of 2013 was less severe than during the first quarter of the year when sales were down 9.7% year on year. Still car sales in May were the weakest since 1993 and June the lowest since 1996.

European Union and EFTA car sales in the second quarter of 2013 were up 1.7% in April (largely due to the timing of Easter) but down 5.9% in May and 5.6% in June.

Car Sales per European Union and EFTA Countries in 2013 (First Semester)

New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA countries during the first half of 2013 according to car sales statistics by the ACEA were:

European Country  Jan-Jun 2013 Jan-Jun 2012 % Chg
AUSTRIA 171,204 186,958 -8.4
BELGIUM 289,873 285,116 +1.7
BULGARIA 8,971 9,770 -8.2
CYPRUS 3,679 6,426 -42.7
CZECH REPUBLIC 80,818 94,233 -14.2
DENMARK 91,959 84,333 +9.0
ESTONIA 10,282 8,923 +15.2
FINLAND 56,548 66,934 -15.5
FRANCE 931,476 1,048,982 -11.2
GERMANY 1,502,630 1,634,401 -8.1
GREECE 30,364 32,431 -6.4
HUNGARY 27,160 27,785 -2.2
IRELAND 53,230 66,718 -20.2
ITALY 731,203 815,213 -10.3
LATVIA 5,137 5,462 -6.0
LITHUANIA 6,007 6,202 -3.1
LUXEMBURG 26,409 28,656 -7.8
NETHERLANDS 211,910 331,358 -36.0
POLAND 147,487 148,710 -0.8
PORTUGAL 54,945 53,375 +2.9
ROMANIA 24,549 33,343 -26.4
SLOVAKIA 32,044 34,316 -6.6
SLOVENIA 28,229 28,327 -0.3
SPAIN 386,353 406,071 -4.9
SWEDEN 128,900 142,633 -9.6
UNITED KINGDOM 1,163,623 1,057,680 +10.0
EUROPEAN_UNION (EU27)* 6,204,990 6,644,356 -6.6
ICELAND 4,804 4,854 -1.0
NORWAY 70,644 69,355 +1.9
SWITZERLAND 156,305 177,310 -11.8
EFTA 231,753 251,519 -7.9
EU27*+EFTA 6,436,743 6,895,875 -6.7

*EU27 figures exclude the small car market of Malta.

The European New Car Market in 2013 (First Half)

It was mostly doom and gloom in most European car markets during the first six months of 2013 but six countries did manage to show positive year-on-year growth. The most important was the British car market – Europe’s second largest – that continued to expand.

The small Estonian market showed the strongest growth of European car markets during the first half of 2013. Denmark, Portugal, Norway and Belgium also saw an increase in car sales.

In contrast, the Dutch car market shrank by more than a third – the weakest performance in Europe except for Cyprus – allowing the Belgian car market to overtook its northern neighbor to become the sixth largest vehicle market in Europe.

However, more serious for overall numbers are the continued weakness in the German car market and the relentless contraction of the French and Italian markets. The average age of cars in Germany are now over 8 years allowing for much potential for replacement purchases but most analysts expect that not to start happening this year yet.

Although car sales in Greece contracted, the Greek auto market narrowly outperformed the broader market. Just over 30,000 new passenger vehicles were registered in Greece during the first half of 2013 – in full year 2007, the number was 280,000.

Volkswagen remained the strongest car manufacturer in Europe during the first semester of 2013 with premium brand Mercedes-Benz registering positive growth. (E130716)

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.