2018 European Auto Sales Fizzle

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) on Wednesday reported new vehicle registration totals in the European Union (EU) for December and for all of 2018. Sales declined by 8.4% year over year in the month. Registrations (sales) fell for the fourth consecutive month.

Full-year sales totaled 15.16 million, up just 0.1% from sales of 15.14 million in 2017. In November, sales to date for the year were 0.8% higher than in the first 11 months of 2017. December’s sharp drop, like those in the preceding months, continue to be attributed to new emissions and fuel-consumption testing procedures that went into effect in September.

Of the Detroit Three, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) saw its December market share in the EU rise from 5.6% in 2017 to 6.0%. Unit sales totaled 59,612, down by 2.1% year over year. Sales of the Fiat brand fell by 9.2%, while Jeep sales rose by 37%.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) sold 63,592 units in December, a year-over-year decline of 4.1% for the month. The company’s December market share rang in at 6.4%, up from 6.1% a year ago. Last week Ford announced that it plans to cut thousands of jobs in some of its European plants and yesterday announced a development agreement with Volkswagen.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has left the EU market and had sales of just 148 units in November. GM stopped selling vehicles in Europe in July of 2017.

The top-selling maker in the EU is Volkswagen, which sold 231,011 vehicles in November, down 11.3% year over year for the month. VW’s market share for the month totaled 23.1%, down from 23.2% in December 2017. For the full year, VW sold 3.61 million vehicles in the EU, an increase of 0.9% in volume. Full-year market share rose from 23.7% in 2017 to 23.8%.

PSA Group, makers of Peugeot, Citroen and other brands, posted a December sales decrease of 5.8% to 157,505 units. The company’s market share increased from 15.3% to 15.9% for the month and from 12.2% to 16.2% for the year. PSA sold 2.5 million vehicles in 2018, a year-over-year increase of 32.8%, primarily due to the acquisition of the Opel and Vauxhall brands from GM in 2017.

Renault Group posted a volume decline of 16.1% to 117,906 units in December, and its year-over-year share dropped from 13.0% to 11.8%. For the full year, volume rose by 0.8%, while the company’s market share was flat at 10.6%.

BMW Group’s market share remained flat year over year at 8% in December. The company sold 79,696 units last month, down by 8.2% compared with year-ago December sales of 86,835. For the full year, BMW’s share dipped from 6.6% in 2017 to 6.5%, and unit sales drop 0.9% to 989,688.

Daimler posted a market share increase last month, rising from 6.1% in December 2017 to 7.3%, with sales totaling 72,448 units. On a volume basis, sales rose 8.9% year over year. For the full year, volume dropped by 1.9%, and the company’s market share dipped from 6.3% in 2017 to 6.2%.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) posted market share of 4.4% in December, flat with a year ago. Sales volume dropped by 10.2% to 43,512 units. For the full year, Toyota sales rose 4.7%, and its market share rose from 4.6% to 4.8%.

For the month of December, Germany was the volume leader with more than 237,000 units sold, down 6.7% year over year for the month and down 0.2% for the full year to 3.44 million units. France posted December sales of just over 165,000, down 14.5% for the month while full-year sales rose by 3% to 2.17 million. In the United Kingdom, monthly sales dropped by 5.5% and full-year sales slid 6.8% to 2.37 million units. Italy saw unit sales rise 2% in December, while full-year sales dropped by 3.1% to 1.91 million units.