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EU car registrations up for sixth year running in 2019

New car registrations in the EU increased 1.2% in 2019, hitting 15.3 million units in total and marking the sixth consecutive year of growth.

EU car registrations rose 1.2% in 2019

Although the start of the year was hit by the aftermath of the September 2018 introduction of the WLTP test, the final quarter of 2019 – and December in particular – pushed the full-year performance of the EU market into the black, as reported by ACEA.

It was a different picture when looking at the five major EU markets though. Germany (+5.0%), France (+1.9%) and Italy (+0.3%) all posted increases. By contrast, both Spain (-4.8%) and the United Kingdom (-2.4%) saw demand fall in 2019.

There was more positive news when it came to December registrations, which rose 21.7% across the EU; partly again the result of the introduction of WLTP but also down to surges in sales in various markets ahead of new regulations.

December’s rise – which marks the fourth month running of growth – comes on the back of an 8.4% decline seen in December 2018 due to WLTP.

But December also saw a surge in car sales in France (+27.7%) and Sweden (+109.3%), as both countries announced significant changes to the bonus-malus component of CO2-based taxation for 2020, while the Netherlands (+113.9%) decided to increase taxation of electric company cars from 4% to 8% as from January 2020. As a result, all EU countries – including the five big markets – posted solid growth rates in December.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.