In 2019, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union increased slightly. Germany and the UK were the largest markets.
In full calendar year 2019, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA countries increased by 1.2% to 15,805,752 cars – the largest market since 2007. Germany remained by far the largest single-country market in Europe followed by the UK, France, Italy and Spain. Car sales in Iceland were down by more than a third but in 2019 no EU country had car sales significantly weaker. Volkswagen remained the best-selling car brand in Europe in 2019.
European New Car Market in 2019 (Full Year)
In 2019, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU) increased by 1.2% to 15,340,199 cars – 180,000 cars more than in 2018. In EFTA, new car sales were down by 48 cars with only the Swiss market expanding. In the EU and EFTA countries combined, new passenger vehicle registrations increased by 1.2% to 15,805,752 cars – the largest new car market in Europe since 2007 and 3.5 million cars bigger than the low reached in 2013.
The performance of the European new car market was skewed by the introduction of new WLT emission regulations in September 2018 that temporarily left many carmakers unable to register vehicles for several months. As a result, the car registrations in the final four months of 2018 were particularly low compared to the same months in 2017 and 2019.
December 2019 sales were also unusually high, as several European countries, including France and Sweden, are changing tax regimes from 2020. Also, new EU regulations and taxes on CO2 emissions made it opportune for carmakers to register high polluting vehicles in December 2019 (and for the same reason try to delay registering low-polluting and electric cars to the beginning of 2020).
European New Car Sales by Year (2007-2020)
In recent years, annual new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA countries were as follows according to sales data released by the ACEA:
Note: All figures in this article exclude Malta.
New Car Sales by European Union and EFTA Country in 2019 (Full Year)
New passenger vehicle registrations per country in the European Union and EFTA were as follows in 2019:
|Country||2019||2018||% 18 /19|
|EU + EFTA||15,805,752||15,624,948||+1.2|
Car Sales in European Union Countries in 2019 (Full Year)
The European new car market was helped in 2019 by growth recorded in Germany – by far the largest single-country car market in the EU. New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany in 2019 increased by 5% to 3,607,258 cars. The German new car market was at its largest since 2009 when special cash-for-clunkers schemes gave a boost to the market.
Britain was again the second largest country car market in the EU in 2019. British new car sales were 2.4% lower than in 2018 and at just over 2.3 million cars the weakest since 2013. Political and economic uncertainty over Brexit as well as unclear future regulations had a strong negative impact on the market. Diesel sales were sharply down and private demand contracted by 3.2%.
In France, new car sales were up 2% to reach its highest volume since 2010. The French market was boosted towards the end of the year by purchases being brought forward to avoid higher taxes applicable from January 2020. The gap between the British and French car markets shrunk from 430,000 cars in 2017 to only 100,000 in 2019.
The Italian new car market was flat in 2019 while the Spanish market contracted by almost 5% – the worst performance of the ten largest car markets in Europe.
In 2019, car sales in Poland were higher than in Belgium – the only rank position change among the top-ten car markets in Europe. In the Netherlands and Sweden car sales were flat – both countries announced different taxes for 2020 that may dampen the market. Austria remained the tenth-largest car market in Europe despite weaker sales in 2019.
In 2019, the best-performing new car markets in Europe were Lithuania and Romania. The worst-performing new car market in Europe were Iceland, Ireland, and Cyprus.
European Car Sales Statistics for 2019 (Full Year)
- 2019 – Car Sales per EU and EFTA Country (including market overview)
- 2019 – Europe: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands