In 2018, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union were flat at just over 15 million cars.
In full year 2018, the new passenger car market in the European Union (EU) and EFTA were flat with sales down by 0.04% to 15,624,486 cars. Germany remained by far the largest new car market in Europe followed by the UK, France, Italy and Spain. Poland and Spain were the fastest growing large car markets in Europe in 2018 while Britain and Sweden contracted the most.
The European New Car Market in 2018 (Full Year)
In 2018, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU) increased by 0.1% to 15,158,874 cars – only 22,284 cars more than were sold in the EU in 2017. This was the fifth consecutive year of expanding car sales in the EU.
In the EU and EFTA combined, new passenger vehicle registrations in 2018 were down by 0.04% to 15,624,486 cars – 6,000 fewer cars than in 2017. All EFTA members had weaker car sales in 2018.
The European new car market was hit hard by the inability of carmakers to homologate cars in time for the introduction of new WLTP car emission regulations in September 2018. As a result, the European new car market was very weak in the final four months of the year, as cars could be produced but not registered for road use until compliance had been confirmed. The Volkswagen Group with its huge range of models on offer seemed particularly affected.
Annual Car Registrations in the EU and EFTA
New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA countries in recent years according to the ACEA were as follows:
|Year||Sales EU & EFTA||% Change|
Car Sales per European Union and EFTA Country in 2018
New passenger vehicle registrations in the various European Union (EU) and EFTA countries during the full calendar year 2018 were as follows according to the ACEA:
|Country:||FY 2018||FY2017||% Change|
|EU* + EFTA||15,624,486||15,630,555||-0.04|
Car Sales in European Countries in 2018 (Full Year)
Until the effect of the WLTP chaos during the final four months of 2018, car sales were mostly positive in Europe. Although the outlook for European economies is less positive than earlier in 2018, the lower car registrations at the end of the year give little real economic indicators.
The ten largest European new car markets were unchanged in 2018 from a year ago. Germany remained by far the largest new car market in Europe but sales were flat and only 5,484 cars fewer than a year ago. The Volkswagen Group – Audi and Porsche in particular – seemed very unprepared for the WLTP homologation requirements.
The British new car market remained the second largest in Europe in 2018 but contracted by 6.8% – only Iceland performed worse. The UK market was 173,000 cars smaller than in 2017.
In contrast, the French new car market expanded by 3% – the only of the four largest markets to grow in 2018. The PSA Group generally seemed to have coped better with the WLPT rules than most other major carmakers.
The Italian new car market contracted by 3% while in Spain new passenger vehicle registrations increased by 7%. Sales in Belgium were flat while the Polish car market grew by 9.4% – the best performance of the top ten largest European car markets. The Dutch new car market grew by 7%.
The Swedish market contracted by 6.8% in 2018 with a new tax regime introduced mid-year causing disruption to the market in addition to the WLTP rules. The Austrian market was also weaker.
All three EFTA countries had weaker car sales in 2018.
European Car Sales Statistics 2018
More full year 2018 car sales statistics for the European Union and EFTA countries:
- 2018 – Car Sales per European Union and EFTA Country
- 2018 – Europe: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands
- 2018 – Europe: Top Selling Car Models