September sales: Europe finally sees growth again image

A growth in UK auto sales, a government incentive program in Spain and an extra working day buoyed Europe’s new car market in September, providing fresh evidence that perhaps demand is slowly coming back after lows not seen in over two decades.

Automotive industry association ACEA announced that new car registrations in Europe increased 5.5% to 1.19 million vehicles in September, but accounted for only the third monthly gain recorded over the last two years. That slowed the industry’s decline so far this year to 4%, with a sales tally of 9.34 million vehicles.

Gross domestic product in the 17 European Union countries using the euro went up finally in the second quarter after the deepest recession since the currency was unveiled back in 1999. Renault and Daimler managed to achieve the largest car-sales increases last month. Demand jumped 29% in Spain thanks to government-backed discounts of as much as 2,000 euros ($2,700) on the vehicle scrappage scheme.

“Car sales in the EU are showing signs of improvement, indicating that the worst is behind us,” said Peter Fuss, a partner at Ernst & Young consulting company in Frankfurt. “The sales, however, continue to be artificially boosted by huge discounts and self-registrations by dealers.”

“The western European auto market continued on its course to recovery in September,” said the German auto industry association VDA.

The car market’s rise registered last month, which also included an additional working day over a year earlier, was the largest since a 7.8% growth accounted in August 2011. It was also the third monthly growth this year, following the 4.9% rise in July and the 1.7% increase in April – with that one marking the first advance in 19 months.

Via Bloomberg, Reuters