4 Jan 17

Sun shines again on Southern European markets

Garage in a sunny location

The Southern European countries were among those to suffer the worst during the height of the financial crisis. Figures from three of them – Spain, Italy and Portugal – now show that a recovery appears to be well under way.

Starting on the Iberian Peninsula, Spanish automotive association Anfac has reported that some 1.15 million new vehicles were sold last year, which is a full 10.9% up on 2015 and fast approaching pre-crisis levels. Another rise of this proportion in 2017, indeed, would see Spain virtually on a par with its 2008 total of 1.3 million.

On the western edge of the peninsula, Portugal also had a very good year. Automotive association Acap reports that after an exceptionally good 2015 (up by 25% on 2014), last year also represented a remarkable performance. Over 247,000 new vehicles were sold in the country, an increase of 15.8%. With this growth, the Portuguese market has beaten its larger neighbour in terms of returning to pre-crisis 2008 levels, which it has now achieved.

Across the Mediterranean from the Iberian Peninsula, Italy was not to be outdone. Its full year sales total for 2016 was a little over 1.8 million, some 15.8% up on 2015. Italy has not yet recovered to its 2008 level (around 2.16 million) but like Spain is well on the way.

Where the leading manufacturers are concerned in these markets, the listings are: Spain: Renault, Opel, Volkswagen; Portugal: Renault, Peugeot, Volkswagen; Italy: Fiat, Volkswagen, Ford.

Authored by: Tim Harrup