September Car Sales Plunge in Europe

Paul Ausick

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) on Wednesday reported new vehicle registration totals in the European Union for the month of September. Sales tumbled by 23.5% year over year in the month, primarily due to the September 1 implementation of new emissions and fuel-consumption testing procedures that drove sales much higher in July and August as automakers and dealers cleared out non-compliant vehicles.

Overall monthly sales totaled 1.09 million vehicles, and sales for the first nine months of 2018 totaled 11.95 million, an increase of 2.5% compared with the same period in 2017.

Over the prior three months, new registrations rose by 31.2% in August following a rise of 10.5% year over year in July and a 5.2% increase in June. September sales fell for nearly every automaker.

Of the Detroit Three, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) saw its August market share in the EU dip to 5.5% from 6.2% year over year. Unit sales totaled 60,400, down by 31.9%. Sales of the Fiat brand fell by 32.8%, while Jeep sales dropped by 8.5%.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) sold 77,936 units in September, a year-over-year decline of 13.7% for the month. The company’s September market share rang in at 7.1%, up from 6.3% last year.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has left the EU market and had sales of just 213 units in September. GM stopped selling vehicles in Europe in July of last year.

The top-selling maker in the EU is Volkswagen, which sold 171,963 vehicles in September, down 48% year over year for the month. VW’s market share for the month totaled 15.8%, down from 23.2% in September 2017.

PSA Group, makers of Peugeot and Citroen among other brands, posted a September sales decrease of 7.7% to 198,988 units. The company’s market share increased from 15.1% to 18.2%.

Renault Group posted a volume decline of 27% to 94,964 units in September, and its year-over-year share dropped from 9.1% to 8.7% in the month.

BMW Group’s market share increased in September from 7.6% a year ago to 9.1%. The company sold 99,371 units last month, down 8.6% compared with year-ago September sales of 108,690.

Daimler posted a market share increase last month, rising from 6.8% in September 2017 to 7.8%, with sales totaling 85,439 units. On a volume basis, sales fell 11.8% year over year.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) posted a market share of 6.1% in September, up from 4.7% a year ago. Sales volume slipped by 1.2% to 66,681 units.

For the month of September, the United Kingdom was the volume leader with nearly 339,000 units sold (down 20.5% year over year for the month), followed by Germany with sales of more than 200,000 (down 30.5%), France with nearly 149,000 sales (down 12.8%),and the Italy with nearly 125,000 vehicles sold (down 25.4%).

EU sales totaled 15.14 million units in 2017, compared with 2016 sales for the 27 EU members of 14.64 million, up 3.4% compared with 2016 unit sales.