The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Western European Vehicle Markets Up, China Down

August 18, 2015

The international automotive business showed positive growth in Europe and the U.S. in July. Western Europe expanded by nearly 9 percent, and growth also continued in the U.S. (up 5 percent). China, by contrast, recorded a fall of almost 6 percent, according to data released by the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), the German Association of the Automotive Industry.

New passenger car registrations in Western Europe rose by nearly 9 percent in July to around 1.1 million new cars. The five largest markets all expanded. Double-digit growth in the demand for passenger cars was seen in Italy (up 15 percent) and Spain (up 23 percent). New registrations increased by over 3 percent in the UK, and by a good 2 percent in France. The German market grew by over 7 percent. In the smaller markets, too, the growth dynamic continued unabated. In Ireland demand for passenger cars rose by almost 48 percent. New registrations also climbed by double figures in Sweden (up 18 percent), the Netherlands (up 14 percent), Denmark (up 14 percent), Portugal (up 10 percent) and Switzerland (up 10 percent). In contrast, the market volume in Greece collapsed (down 29 percent). In the first seven months of this year, the overall Western European market grew by a healthy 8 percent, reaching 8 million passenger cars, according to the VDA research.

The U.S. market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light-duty trucks) increased in July by a strong 5 percent to 1.5 million units. This was the best July result since 2005. However, in June, the passenger car segment totaled 652,700 units, which was down by 3 percent. On the other hand light-duty trucks continued their growth, showing a year-on-year rise of 12 percent (851,300 units). This year, so far, the total market volume in the U.S. has increased by almost 5 percent to around 10 million light vehicles. During this period passenger car sales have fallen by nearly 2 percent (4.5 million units), whereas the light truck segment has grown by a little more than 10 percent to around 5.5 million new vehicles, according to the VDA research.

About 1.2 million new vehicles were sold on the Chinese passenger car market in July, which is almost 6 percent down for the same month last year. By contrast, since January 2015, the market in China has in fact expanded by a good 5 percent – sales of new vehicles reached a volume of nearly 10.7 million units, according to the VDA.
In Japan, July new passenger car registrations decreased by more than 9 percent to 355,900 vehicles. So far this year the market volume has lost nearly 12 percent, falling to just over 2.6 million new cars, according to the VDA.

At 222,400 units, the Indian passenger car market achieved year-on-year growth of 11 percent in July. Sales of new cars have risen by a little more than 6 percent since January, climbing to almost 1.6 million units, according to the VDA.

The Russian light vehicle market also contracted last month. Totaling 131,100 vehicles, the July sales volume was down just over 27 percent compared to last year’s level. Since the beginning of this year, sales of new light vehicles have fallen to 913,200 units or down 35 percent, according to the VDA.

The light vehicle market in Brazil did not show any improvements either in July. New registrations decreased by nearly 22 percent to 219,700 units. From January to July around 1.5 million new vehicles were registered – one fifth less than in the same period last year, according to the VDA.

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