EU Passenger Vehicle Sales Up in 2019


EU Passenger Vehicle Sales Up in 2019

Passenger car registrations across the European Union grew 1.2 percent to more than 15.3 million in 2019, marking the sixth consecutive year of growth, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Among the five major EU markets, Germany led with growth of 5.1 percent, followed by France at 1.9 percent and Italy with a 0.3 percent increase. Registrations in Spain and the United Kingdom declined by 4.8 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

The association said in a Jan. 16 news release that new-car registrations started on weak footing in 2019 due to the lasting impact of the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure in September 2018. Under conditions defined by EU law, the laboratory test measures fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions from passenger cars, as well as their pollutant emissions.

Registrations picked up during the fourth quarter and in December, pushing the full-year performance of the EU market into positive territory. EU passenger car registrations grew in December for the fourth month in a row, increasing by 21.7 percent. In December 2018, the registrations had fallen by 8.4 percent.

ACEA attributed a surge in December car sales in France – 27.7 percent to 211,194 new passenger cars registrations, and Sweden – by 109.3 percent to more than 48,000, to the two countries passage of significant changes to the bonus-malus component of CO2-based taxation for 2020. The bonus-malus (Latin for good-bad) tax system provides subsidies for purchasing low-emission vehicles and more heavily taxes cars with high emissions.

The Netherlands also experienced a strong increase in car sales in December – 113.9 percent, reaching 42,463 – compared to 19,842 in December 2018. ACEA noted that the country decided to increase taxation of electric company cars from 4 percent to 8 percent as of January 2020. This means that company car drivers will have to pay 8 percent of the value of electric cars up to 45,000 (about U.S. $49,875), while through the end of 2019, they were only liable for tax on 4 percent of this value, according to a Dec. 23 news release from motoring organization Bovag.

Photo: Goran Jakus/Shutterstock

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