EU passenger car registrations recover in September, down 1.6% year to date

Author: Morgan Condon


LONDON (ICIS)--Passenger car registrations in the EU increased by 14.5% in September year on year, totalling 1.2m units, showing a slight recovery for the region’s automotive sector, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said on Wednesday.

All EU members states posted increases except Bulgaria, with four of the five key economies pitching double-digit gains. 

Germany's registrations rose 22.2%, Spain's increased 18.3%, France's 16.6%, and Italy's rose 13.4%.

The picture was not entirely optimistic as strong year-on-year growth was attributed to registrations crashing by 23.5% in September 2018 in the wake of stricter emissions regulations from the EU.

New car registrations were down 1.6% in January-September, year on year, with only Germany recording growth at 2.5%.

Spain posted the biggest decline at 7.4%, with Italy and France falling by 1.6% and 1.3%, respectively.

Ongoing Brexit uncertainties hampered growth in the UK, with passenger car registrations in September rising 1.3%.

UK's January-September registrations, however, declined 2.5% year on year.

German road authority Kraftfarhrt Bundesamt (KBA) recorded an increase of private registrations of 19.0% for September, compared to a 33.7% decrease the previous September. Self-registrations increased 32.8% for the month.

The figures were cited by analysts at investment bank Credit Suisse in an investor note.

The analysts added that self-registration shares declined across major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), with Renault tracking down 9.4%, Daimler at 5.7% and BMW 2.9%.

The exception to this was Volkswagen (VW), with growth of 0.4%, whereas Peugeot (PSA Group) remained largely stable with a 0.1% drop.

Credit Suisse expects that German major OEMs will continue to record elevated self-registration levels in the closing quarter of 2019, as a result of higher registrations of vehicles with above average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions ahead of limitations next year.

“Likewise, we expect 2020 to be marked by substantial self-registration dynamics, with potential for dampened self-registration ratios in H1 [first half] 2020," the analysts said.

"Moving into H2 2020, we see potential for a return to elevated self-registration ratios for borderline non-compliant firms.”

The automobile is the end market for around 20% of chemicals produced in the EU. According to some estimates, petrochemicals account for more than a third of the raw material costs of an average vehicle.

Pictured: A car factory in Spain
Source: Albert Olive/EPA/Shutterstock