European sales highest for a decade
Market analyst Jato has produced its full year European car registrations for 2018. The headline figure is that 15.6 million vehicles were registered, which is the market’s highest result since 2007. The figure is, however, just a few units higher than in 2017, and Jato reports that despite the record, consumer confidence was offset by the effects of the diesel demise, WLTP and Brexit.
Looking at model segments, SUV demand continued to rise, with volume up by 19%, while traditional segments fell by 8%. Their market share increased from 29.2% to 34.6%. Demand for SUVs grew by 20% between 2016 and 2017, by 21% between 2015 and 2016, and by 24% between 2014 and 2015, and has more than doubled over the last four years. Most of the SUV growth was driven by small SUVs, where volume was up by 29% to 2 million registrations,
Moving on to fuel types, diesel registrations fell by 18% to 5.59 million, accounting for just 36% of all sales. Jato reports that this led to almost one million more consumers opting for a petrol-powered vehicle in 2018 than in 2017. Alternatively fuelled vehicles also benefitted with almost 200,000 more registrations than in 2017. 2018 thus marked the best ever performance for AFVs, recording 944,800 registrations and a 6.1% market share. This is a huge increase in ten years, having counted for just 0.5% of total registrations in 2008.
In terms of brands, Volkswagen again topped the charts with a 3% increase over 2017 to 1.75 million units. Renault and Ford come next, both topping the million mark, with Peugeot and Opel/Vauxhall completing the top five. The top five in models reads Golf, Clio, Polo, Fiesta, Qashqai.
Looking at the Big 5 markets, Spain and France were the only two to post increases over 2017, up by 6.9% and 2.9% respectively. Germany was down just a fraction, Italy down 2.9% and the UK, unsurprisingly, down 6.8%. Of other significantly-sized markets, Poland and the Netherlands, with total sales either side of half a million, were both up by 8-9%. Belgium, with a similar unit sales figure, was up 0.6%.