New car sales in Europe have increased by 6.8% in the year to date compared to the same period in 2015, despite growing global economic uncertainty and concerns that the Brexit vote could impact consumer confidence.
Research compiled by London automotive industry analyst JATO Dynamics shows that Europeans bought a total of 13,937,339 cars in 2016 so far, with 1,184,140 of those sales taking place last month. November’s figure represented a growth of 5% compared to the same month in 2015.
The UK ranks as Europe’s fourth-fastest-growing market, with the year-to-date sales here increasing by 2.9% compared with the same period last year. Spain and France were the continent’s fastest growers, with their demand up by 13% and 8.2% respectively.
In the face of Dieselgate the Volkswagen Group maintains its place as Europe’s biggest car maker. It accounted for 24.56% of sales, which represents a drop of just 0.28% on the year before. Renault-Nissan ranks second with 14.1% of sales, a 0.72% increase.
Daimler experienced the highest growth of 0.83%, ranking it fifth overall, while the PSA Group has experienced a decline in sales of 1.19% but still ranks third overall.
The SUV segment is the fastest-expanding car segment, accounting for 316,278 sales in November alone – a growth of 16.1% compared with November 2015 – and representing 26.7% of European sales.
“It’s looking highly likely that 2016 will top 2015’s strong registration figures, which is a remarkable feat given the political and economic uncertainty that has dominated,” said Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics. “However, it’s important that this growth isn’t taken for granted, as 2017 will bring further uncertainty, with the UK expected to trigger Article 50 in March, beginning the process of exiting the EU.”
Britain’s exit from the EU is expected to dent consumer confidence in the UK and Europe, meaning 2017 could be the year in which growth halts in the new car market.