2017 (Half Year) Europe: Car Sales per European Union and EFTA Country

During the first half of 2017, Germany and the UK remained the largest car market in the European Union where sales expanded nearly 5%.

Geneva Auto Show 2017

New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU) and EFTA countries increased by 4.6% to 8,461,476 cars during the first semester of 2017. Germany remained by far the largest new car market in Europe with sales increasing by 3% while Britain maintained its second place despite the British car market contracting by 1.3%. Car sales in Italy increased by a strong 9% to claim third place from France. Only four countries had weaker car sales during the first half of 2017 compared to the first semester of 2016.

The European New Car Market in 2017 (First Half)

New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU) increase by 4.7% during the first half of 2017 to 8,219,921 cars. In the EU plus EFTA, the increase was 4.6% to 8,461,476 cars.

Only Ireland, Finland, the UK and Latvia had weaker sales at the start of 2017 than a year ago.

The European new car market is approaching the levels last seen in 2007 prior to the financial crisis.

Car Sales by European Union (EU) and EFTA Country in 2017 (Half Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations in the EU and EFTA countries during the period January to June 2017 were as follows according to the ACEA:

Jan – Jun 2017 Jan – Jun 2016 %Change 2017
AUSTRIA 186,561 171,770 +8.6
BELGIUM 322,302 309,606 +4.1
BULGARIA 14,749 12,361 +19.3
CROATIA 31,790 25,728 +23.6
CYPRUS 7,542 6,793 +11.0
CZECH REPUBLIC 144,451 132,778 +8.8
DENMARK 123,791 116,849 +5.9
ESTONIA 13,332 11,754 +13.4
FINLAND 64,422 65,478 -1.6
FRANCE 1,135,267 1,102,429 +3.0
GERMANY 1,787,026 1,733,839 +3.1
GREECE 50,356 47,413 +6.2
HUNGARY 54,793 45,969 +19.2
IRELAND 91,185 101,327 -10.0
ITALY 1,136,331 1,043,388 +8.9
LATVIA 8,614 8,697 -1.0
LITHUANIA 12,814 10,706 +19.7
LUXEMBOURG 28,946 28,315 +2.23
NETHERLANDS 226,690 193,915 +16.9
POLAND 247,014 210,728 +17.2
PORTUGAL 127,199 118,626 +7.2
ROMANIA 45,008 35,452 +27.0
SLOVAKIA 48,871 43,954 +11.2
SLOVENIA 39,032 34,980 +11.6
SPAIN 667,494 623,234 +7.1
SWEDEN 193,530 187,591 +3.2
UNITED KINGDOM 1,401,811 1,420,636 -1.3
EUROPEAN UNION 8,210,921 7,844,316 +4.7
ICELAND 13,654 12,125 +12.6
NORWAY 77,983 77,749 +0.3
SWITZERLAND 158,918 158,037 +0.6
EFTA 250,555 247,911 +1.1
EU + EFTA 8,461,476 8,092,227 +4.6
Source: ACEA

Note: all figures exclude Malta

Car Sales in European Countries in 2017 (First Semester)

New passenger vehicle registrations increased in all but four European Union and EFTA countries during the first half of 2017. Growth was particularly strong in smaller markets.

The German new car market expanded below market average but still added more than 50,000 more cars thus far in 2017 compared to the first half of 2016. The German market was particularly hindered by a weak performance by Volkswagen that saw its market share in Germany slip below 20% for the first time in years.

The British new car market contracted by 1.3% – the only top-ten country with weaker car sales in 2017. The UK car market expanded rapidly in recent years and a weaker market in 2017 was widely predicted. Political and economical uncertainties also weighed on the market.

Despite expanding at the same rate as Germany, the French new car market slipped to fourth place in Europe behind Italy. Car sales in Italy increased by 9% during the first half of 2017 to grab third place with only a thousand more cars than were sold in France.

The Spanish market continued its recovery while sales in Belgium were up but below market average. In contrast, the Polish and Dutch new car markets expanded fast.

A few salient figures from the new car sales date for Europe during the first half of 2017:

  • The only rank position changes were Italy moving ahead of France, Hungary surpassing Greece and Croatia moving ahead of Luxembourg.
  • The worst performing market was Ireland while sales were only slightly weaker in Finland, the UK and Latvia.
  • The fastest growing markets were Romania and Croatia with sales up around a quarter while sales were up nearly a fifth in Lithuania, Bulgaria and Hungary.
  • The Italian new car market increased by 93,000 cars while Germany added around 50,000 cars.

Car Sales Statistics Per European Union Countries

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.