During the first half of 2018, Germany remained by far the largest new car market in Europe followed by the UK, France and Italy.
During the first semester of 2018, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA increased by 2.8% to 8,695,785 cars. The German new car market expanded in line with the broader market to increase its lead over Britain that recorded weaker sales. France moved ahead of Italy while Spain was again the fifth largest new car market in Europe.
The European New Car Market in 2018 (First Half)
New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA increased by 2.8% to 8,695,785 cars – an increase of more than 230,000 cars over the same period in 2017.
In the European Union (EU), car sales increased by an even stronger 2.9% to 8,449,247 cars.
According to JATO, this was the strongest first semester for car sales in Europe this century. A noticeable trend was away from diesel (-17%) to a market share of 37% – the lowest since 2001. Sales of SUVs increased by 24%.
Car Sales Per European Union and EFTA Country in 2018 (First Half)
New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA countries during the first six months of 2018 according to the ACEA were as follows:
|EU Country||Jan – Jun 2018||Jan – Jun 2017||% Change|
|EU + EFTA||8,695,785||8,461,963||+2.8|
Note. Exclude Malta figures.
Car Sales in European Countries in 2018 (Half Year)
Germany remained the largest new car market in Europe during the first semester of 2018. New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany increased by the EU average of 2.9%.
The British new car market contracted by 6.3% – only the tiny Icelandic market performed worse during the first six months of 2018. The UK market was not only affected by uncertainty over Brexit but also by uncertainty over future regulations of car emissions. Diesel sales were particularly weak.
France regained third place from Italy. Whereas car sales in France increased above market average, the Italian new car market was slightly weaker than a year ago. This was the only rank position change among the top ten largest car markets in Europe thus far this year.
Spain, Poland and Netherlands all experienced double digit growth in car sales thus far in 2018. Sweden was the star performer with sales up 16%. However, a collapse in the Swedish new car market is likely for the rest of the year – a change in taxation for non-electric cars meant the market grew 70% in June as buyers brought car purchases forward to avoid the higher charges.
The fastest growing new car markets in the European Union during the first half of 2018 were Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, Greece and Bulgaria.
The only significantly weaker markets were Iceland, Britain and Ireland.
See also: 2018 (Half Year) Europe: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers, Brands and Models – Volkswagen, VW, and the Golf.