6 Feb 19

UK loses first place in EU's True Fleet ranking

True Fleet sales in the European Union declined by -0.7% last year, from around 4.28 million in 2017 to 4.25 million in 2018, figures released by Dataforce show. Even though Germany’s True Fleet sales declined, the country took over the lead from the UK in the EU ranking. 

True Fleet sales took a tumble following the financial crisis, from around 2.75 million in 2008 to less than 2.2 million in 2009. Following a dip in 2012-13, they’ve been rising steadily, reaching record heights in 2017. Last year marks the first decline since 2013. 

In both 2017 and 2018, the EU’s Big 7 markets took more than three quarters of the total. Yet that lion’s share declined slightly, from 76.6% in 2017 to 76.4% last year. Combined with the overall decline in True Fleet sales, that represents a bigger drop in the EU7 combined than in the overall market: -0.9%, from 4.28 million to 4.25 million.

The breakdown per EU7 country is as follows:

1. Germany

In 2018, German True Fleet sales represented 19.2% of the EU total, less than the 19.7% in 2017. The decline in absolute numbers is even starker: from 843,000 to 814,000 units, or -3.4%. Nevertheless, Germany managed to grasp first place by just outperforming the UK.
2. United Kingdom

Though statistically just below Germany’s figures, British True Fleet sales in 2018 rounded up to the first digit after the decimal divider also were 19.2% of the EU total. That’s more than a full percentage point less than in 2017 (20.4%). In absolute figures, the decline is even starker: from 873,000 to 814,000 units (-6.8%). That abysmal performance, no doubt at least partly the result of pre-Brexit anxiety, cost the UK its first place in the EU True Fleet ranking.

3. France

France managed to improve its share of EU True Fleet sales, from 10.9% to 11.2%. In absolute figures, that represents progress from 467,000 to 476,000 units (+1.9%).

4. Italy

Italian True Fleet sales remained static at 8.5%. Considering that overall EU sales declined slightly, that represents a drop in absolute figures from 364,000 to 361,000 units (-0.8%).

5. Spain

True Fleet sales in Spain progressed from 6.2% of the EU total in 2017 to 6.9% in 2018. Or from 265,000 to 293,000 units. That’s +10.5%, the highest relative increase among EU7 markets. 

6. Poland

Poland is the strongest grower in Eastern Europe. It managed to increase it share of overall True Fleet sales in Europe from 5.7% in 2017 to 6.3% in 2018. In absolute figures, that’s an increase from 244,000 units to 268,000, or +9.8%.

7. Belgium

The smallest of the Big 7, Belgium saw its share of EU True Fleet sales shrink from 5.2% in 2017 to 5.0% in 2018. That represents a decline in absolute figures from 223,000 to 212,000 units (-4.9%).

Over the past decade, the SUV segment as an element of True Fleet sales has soared from less than 400,000 in 2013 to around 1.1 million in 2018 (see graph).

According to Dataforce projections, the segment will continue to rise, breaking the 1.25-million barrier in 2021. Remarkably, the rise of SUVs does not correspond to a similar decline of one or more other segments: with the exception of MPVs, which have declined significantly, all other segments have remained relatively static.

Graph: Dataforce

Authored by: Frank Jacobs