Europe’s largest auto market has returned to annual sales growth after a hiatus of two years, with December new car registrations rising 7%, according to the VDA industry association.
Western European markets showed conflicting situations on some of the largest markets, with Germany up 7%, France down almost the same percentage, Italy barely showing a positive result and Spain seeing double-digit increases thanks to the ongoing governmental scrappage program. In the biggest European market, Germany, December new car deliveries climbed 7% to 229,700 vehicles and according to a statement from the Berlin-based VDA, the overall tally for 2014 rose 3% to 3.04 million units, confirming earlier forecasts from industry experts. Germany is currently the world’s fifth largest auto market. The recovering demand in Germany comes after a six-year slump for the region, which returned the market to a two-decade low. 2014 confirmed the similar trend in Spain and Italy, which announced separately that yearly deliveries climbed 18.4 and 4.2%, respectively.
On the other hand, the German market continues to show signs of weakness compared to previous growth years, with “the number of cars sold … still lags the 2012 sales by around 45,000,” comments Peter Fuss, analyst at accountants EY. Fuss added that breaking down the sales by sectors we see the underlying reason for the weak annual performance: private retail sales fell to 1.02 million cars, the lowest level since 2000, while registrations were buoyed by commercial and fleet registrations. VDA figures shows that in 2012 the German market accounted for 3.08 million deliveries, which dropped 4.2% last year to just 2.95 million vehicles.