European auto sales still strong image

Even if new-car sales slowed down a bit in June, the European automotive market showed a strong pace so far this year.

The European Automobile Manufacturer Association said the passenger car market in the European Union and the European Free Trade Association grew strongly for the 34th consecutive month in June, when registrations increased by 6.9 percent compared to a year earlier, reaching 1,459,508 units. Such levels are very close to June 2007, just before the world was hit by the economic crisis. Over the first half of 2016, EU registrations rose by 9.4 percent, totalling 7,842,965 units, with all major markets contributing to the overall upturn of the European market. The Italian (+19.2 percent) and Spanish (+12.5 percent) car markets saw double-digit growth over the period, followed by France (+8.3 percent), Germany (+7.1 percent) and the UK (+3.2 percent). However, demand in the UK fell slightly by 0.8 percent in June.

Last month’s expansion was driven by Renault and Fiat Chrysler. The French automaker reported the strongest gains in June among the region’s ten largest car sellers, with a nearly 20 percent surge, while FCA posted a 13 percent jump, helped by a 14 percent push from the Fiat brand, and by a 16 percent gain from Jeep. While Volkswagen Group saw a 1 percent increase for the month, its core marque dropped 0.6 percent. The strongest performer was Europe’s biggest carmaker Skoda with an 8.6 percent jump. For the first six months of the year, all VW’s brands returned 1.92 million vehicles, 4.2 percent more than a year earlier.