During September 2019, EU demand for new passenger cars increased by 14.5% to reach 1.2 million units registered in total. To a large extent, according to the ACEA trade group, this strong year‐on‐year growth is the result of a low base of comparison, as registrations fell significantly in September 2018 (‐23.5%) following the introduction of WLTP testing when it was revealed that many diesel engine cars were dirtier than most – if not all – makers claimed.
During the first nine months of 2019, EU new car registrations were down 1.6% compared to the same period the year before. Despite demand recovering across the European Union in September, Germany (+2.5%) was the only major market to post positive results so far this year. Spain (‐7.4%) saw the strongest drop, followed by the United Kingdom (‐2.5%), Italy (‐1.6%) and France (‐1.3%).
During September all EU member states posted increases, except for Bulgaria. Four of the five major EU markets recorded double‐digit gains: Germany – the epicenter of the diesel cheating – (+22.2%), Spain (+18.3%), France (+16.6%) and Italy (+13.4%). By contrast, in the United Kingdom market recovery was very limited (+1.3%), as Brexit‐related chaos continues to hurt consumer confidence.