In December 2019, EU passenger car demand grew for the fourth month in a row (+21.7%), marking the highest December total on record to date.
In December 2019, EU passenger car demand grew for the fourth month in a row (+21.7%), marking the highest December total on record to date. This was partially the result of a low base of comparison, as registrations fell by 8.4% in December 2018. However, specific market changes also contributed to this exceptional growth.
A surge in car sales was observed 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.
Overall in 2019, new-car registrations increased by 1.2% across the European Union, reaching more than 15.3 million units in total and marking the sixth consecutive year of growth. The year started on weak footing due to the lasting impact of the introduction of the WLTP test in September 2018. Yet, the final quarter of 2019, and December in particular, pushed the full-year performance of the EU market into positive territory.
Looking at the five major EU markets, Germany (+5.0%) recorded the largest increase last year, followed by France (+1.9%) and Italy (+0.3%). By contrast, both Spain (-4.8%) and the United Kingdom (-2.4%) saw demand fall in 2019.