European new car registrations grew across the continent during June, recording the highest sales figures ever for the month in the process.
Almost 1.6 million passenger cars were sold in the sixth month of the year, a 5.2% increase on June 2017, the latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) show. With several manufacturers launching new SUV models to the market during the period, sales of these vehicles offered a boost to the sector.
Demand for new cars fell in the UK by 3.5%, as the country’s market continues to stabilise following a period of decline. Italy also saw a drop in sales, with 7.3% fewer registrations in June. However, these losses were offset by increases of 9.3% in France, 8% in Spain and 4.2% in Germany.
Outside of the big five markets, and therefore based on modest sales, Sweden saw the biggest increase, with growth of 72.9% and sales of 66,244 passenger cars in the month, making it the sixth largest market ahead of Belgium.
Year-to-date, the European passenger car market has grown by 2.9%, reaching a total of 8,449,247 units sold. This has been helped by strong performances in new EU member states, with registrations across these markets 11.4% higher than June 2017.
Across the big five markets, demand has increased in Spain by 10.1% so far this year, as the country remains the strongest performer on the continent. France has posted a 4.7% rise in sales so far in 2018, with Germany growing its market 2.9% following some sales fluctuations earlier in the year. Both Italy and the UK are behind their positions last year, 1.4% and 6.3% respectively.
Brands that have introduced new SUVs and crossovers gained most. Jeep, Volvo, Jaguar, SEAT and Volkswagen (VW) were among brands posting double-digit growth.
The VW Group maintains its grip at the top of the sales charts, with a 13.3% rise in units registered during June and an 8% gain so far in 2018. All group brands saw increases in the month, with VW posting a 16.8% rise and SEAT a 19% gain.
PSA Group increased its sales by 65.8% over June 2017, however, last year’s figures do not take into account the acquisition of the Opel and Vauxhall brands, an anomaly that will not be corrected until August this year. Year-to-date, the company is up 65%, something it has accredited to a number of SUV models being launched this year. Renault retains third in the European market, with a rise of 4.7% in June and 5% so far in 2018.
Daimler saw sales fall 5.2% in the month, while Nissan sales fell 14.4%, with the Japanese marque currently 10.5% down year-to-date. Ford sales continue to fluctuate in line with the UK market, sales down 8.6% in June and 4.1% for the first six months.