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New Car Registrations in Europe Down 18.3% in February

In February, 968,159 new passenger cars were registered in Europe (the EU27 + EFTA), 18.3% less compared to the same month of 2008, according to figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers’s Association (ACEA). The downturn was more marked in the new EU Member States (-30.3%) than in Western Europe (-17.3%), where the German market pushed aggregate registrations upward.

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New car registrations in Europe. Source: ACEA. Click to enlarge.

There was on average one working day less across Europe in February. Two months into the year, the European market was down 22.6% compared to January-February last year.

In Western Europe, a total of 902,037 new passenger cars was registered in February (-17.3%). Germany stood out with a 21.5% growth, carried by strong demand in certain market segments following the recent motor vehicle tax reform and scrapping bonus introduced by the German government.

Except for Luxembourg (+0.3%), all other countries faced a downturn, varying from -83.6% in Iceland to -13.2% in France. The downturn of the French market was cushioned by fleet renewal incentives as well. Major markets such as the UK (-21.9%), Italy (-24.4%) and Spain (-48.8%) again recorded an important decrease. From January to February, new passenger car registrations in Western Europe dropped by 22.0%. Only Germany posted growth during that period(+4.0%). The French market declined by 10.6%, followed by the British (-28.2%), Italian (-28.5%) and Spanish (-45.5%) markets.

In the new EU Member States, passenger car registrations fell by 30.3% in February, with mixed individual country results. Poland registered the most cars (30,194) and improved last year’s performance by 7.3%. Other major markets were down with 7.7% (Czech Republic), 46.4% (Hungary) and 66.5% (Romania). Looking at the cumulative figures from January to February, Poland ranked first in absolute numbers with 56,841 new cars registered (+0.7%), followed by Romania (-58.8%), the Czech Republic (- 10.0% ) and Hungary (-31.4%). The overall decrease in the new EU Member States was -22.9% two months into the year.

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