Following robust growth in April, new registrations in Europe flattened in May, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).
A total of 1,398,913 units were sold across the continent during the last month, representing a rise of just 0.8% compared to the same time last year. Two of Europe’s big five markets posted a decline in sales while the UK continued its upward trend.
During the last month, passenger car sales grew by 7.2% in Spain, with the UK posting a rise of 3.4%. The French market remained stable with just a 0.1% increase. However, Italy’s market dropped by 2.8% while Germany registered a 5.8% decrease in sales, bringing the total continental market in line with the same period in 2017.
Europe’s monthly registrations have been erratic this year as all European markets suffer from various factors. Diesel sales have declined, with no strong alternative other than petrol vehicles emerging to replace them. While April saw a rise of 9.6%, March saw declines of 5.3%, a first for that month in four years.
For the year to date, the European car market has remained positive, despite monthly fluctuations. Currently, registrations are up by 2.4% across the first five months of 2018, with 6,879,885 passenger cars sold, with the results of new EU member states boosting this number, coming in 11.5% up on last year.
The big five markets in Europe have had mixed fortunes between January and May. Spain has increased its market by 10.6% with France up 3.5%, and Germany posing a sales rise of 2.6%. Italy has so far recorded a drop of 0.3% while the UK’s to-date figures show a 6.8% decline in 2018.
Amongst vehicle manufacturers, Volkswagen Group again remained the market leader, with growth of 3.7% across all its brands. However, Audi and Skoda fared poorly in the month, down 5.3% and %, with 2.2% respectively. The group was helped by Volkswagen (VW) sales, up 5.7%, with SEAT registering growth of 25.3%.
PSA Group again remained in second place on volume, thanks to its acquisition of Opel in August last year, a move which means its 57.8% growth is due to the addition of vehicle sales it was not credited with up until August 2017. Removing these sales, the French company achieved a modest 1% rise in sales, with Citroen losing 3.3% in May.
Rival Renault Group had a strong month, with sales across all brands (but not including Nissan), up 6.5%. The Renault brand itself rose 3% and was the second biggest selling brand of the month behind VW, with 109,739 units sold.
Elsewhere, BMW saw sales drop 6% across its brands with the core manufacturer down 7.7%, while FCA made a modest rise of 0.2%, with Jeep doubling sales compared to last year, a 101.3% rise the best of the month. Daimler sales dropped 5.7% while Ford remained stable with a small 0.5% growth.