ACEA projects only a 2 percent growth for the European auto market in 2016 image

EU car sales growth is likely to slow to about 2 percent in 2016 after a sharp recovery in southern nations last year, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said yesterday.

Many automakers’ officials and analysts have said in the beginning of this year that the European market will slow down in 2016. ACEA also shared its market expectations at its 25th Anniversary Reception in Brussels on Thursday, through the voice of its President Dieter Zetsche, who is also the chief executive of Daimler. In 2015, EU passenger car sales grew by 9.3% compared to 2014, bringing the total number of cars sold to 13.7 million units. “But after several rocky years since the 2008 financial crisis, the European car market is moving in the right direction again,” explained Zetsche. “This is great progress, but we are still well below the 2007 pre-crisis level of 15.5 million cars.”

The picture is very similar for production numbers, with EU passenger car output up 6.2% in 2015 compared to 2014. In total, around 15.9 million cars were produced last year – still down from almost 17 million in 2007. “For 2016 we anticipate a much more modest sales increase for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles,” he stated. “We expect car sales to go up by around 2%, reaching roughly 14 million units.” The ACEA study, conducted by IHS Automotive, sees some weakening in northern Europe, slowing growth in Spain, but still decent rises in France, Germany and Italy.

Zetsche also said that the automotive industry has been affected by the Volkswagen emissions scandal, but he stated this should not be confused with debate over closing the gap between the performance of cars in the real world and in test conditions. “It is not the same but I understand there is a big confusion out there. We definitely want to see clear regulation,” he said.

Via Reuters