2015 (Q1) Europe: Car Sales by EU Country

Seat 20V20 Crossover at Geneva Auto Show 2015New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union increased by 8.6% in the first quarter of 2015 with growth in all the largest countries. In March 2015, the European new car market expanded for the 19th consecutive month. During the first three months of 2015, Germany, the UK and France all experienced growth while Italy had double-digit growth in January, February and March 2015. The Spanish car market expanded by more than a third during the first quarter of 2015, adding 65,000 more cars than a year ago.

The European New Car Market in 2015 (Q1)

The European new car market (EU and EFTA) grew by a strong 8.5% during the first three months of 2015 to 3,637,635 new passenger vehicle registrations. The EU market grew by 8.6% to 3,527,704 while EFTA expanded by a more moderate 3.3% (although the Swiss may go shopping in coming months). All five the largest European car markets expanded significantly.

March 2015 was the 19th consecutive month of expansion for the European Union car market. In March 2015, growth was 10.6% – the highest monthly increase in a year.

Car Sales per European Union Country in 2015 (Q1)

New passenger vehicle registrations by EU and EFTA country during the first quarter of 2015 according to car sales statistics released by the ACEA were:

Q1/2015 Q1/2014 % Change
EU + EFTA (1) 3,637,635 3,353,553 8.5
AUSTRIA 75,154 81,281 -7.5
BELGIUM 147,073 148,532 -1
BULGARIA 5,008 4,619 8.4
CROATIA 7,958 7,275 9.4
CYPRUS 2,434 2,092 16.3
CZECH REPUBLIC 53,265 42,993 23.9
DENMARK 49,236 47,828 2.9
ESTONIA 4,793 4,753 0.8
FINLAND 29,355 30,503 -3.8
FRANCE 477,319 446,609 6.9
GERMANY 757,630 711,753 6.4
GREECE 17,271 16,602 4
HUNGARY 17,058 15,493 10.1
IRELAND 64,671 49,900 29.6
ITALY 428,464 377,629 13.5
LATVIA 3,210 2,850 12.6
LITHUANIA 3,758 3,406 10.3
LUXEMBURG 11,856 12,311 -3.7
NETHERLANDS 110,158 107,031 2.9
POLAND 91,670 97,621 -6.1
PORTUGAL 46,212 33,960 36.1
ROMANIA 14,452 13,345 8.3
SLOVAKIA 16,594 16,855 -1.5
SLOVENIA 15,647 13,799 13.4
SPAIN 267,137 202,127 32.2
SWEDEN 75,733 67,803 11.7
UNITED KINGDOM 734,588 688,122 6.8
EUROPEAN UNION 3,527,704 3,247,092 8.6
ICELAND 2,289 1,574 45.4
NORWAY 35,367 36,492 -3.1
SWITZERLAND 72,275 68,395 5.7
EFTA 109,931 106,461 3.3

(1) Malta figures not included.

Car Sales in European Union Countries in 2015(Q1)

During the first three months of 2015, car sales increased in 23 of the 30 EU and EFTA countries monitored by the ACEA. (Malta figures are not available.) There were only minor changes in the rank order by size of the European car markets.

Europe’s three largest car markets – Germany, the UK, and France – all experienced roughly the same below market average growth during the first quarter of 2015. For more than a year, Britain was the only significantly growing large European car market.

The Italian car market continued its recovery with the third consecutive month of double-digit sales increases.

However, Spain was the major driving force behind growth this quarter. Car sales in Spain increased by a third during the quarter (and 40% in March alone) largely due to government incentives. Spain added 65,000 cars to the market – more than any other country during the quarter.

Car sales in Belgium were slightly lower while the car market in The Netherlands is showing some moderate recovery after months of sharp declines.

Poland remained its eighth place despite weaker sales – only Austria performed worse and slipped behind Sweden, which outperformed the market.

The only other changes in relative positions were: the Czech Republic overtaking Denmark, Portugal overtaking Norway, Hungary overtaking Slovakia and Bulgaria passing Estonia.

The strongest growth was in Iceland, which is unfortunately also the smallest market (Malta figures are not included). Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and the Czech Republic also grew fast.

The worst performing markets were Austria and Poland. Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, Slovakia and Belgium were the only other European countries with negative growth in car sales during the first quarter of 2015.

See also: 2015 (Q1) Europe: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers, Brands and Models (no real surprises here either: Volkswagen Group, VW and the Golf)

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.