PARIS: Registration of new cars jumped 5.4 percent last month in the EU, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said last week, the second time sales have jumped in the past three months.
Some 1.16 million vehicles were registered last month across the European Union, with gains for most major markets except Italy and Germany. Despite the gain, registrations—a proxy for sales—still came in at “the second lowest level for a month of September” since the ACEA began collecting data a decade ago.
For the first nine months of this year sales are down by 3.9 percent from the same period last year, with Britain the only major market to see a significant increase of 10.8 percent.
Car sales slumped along the economies of EU countries when the debt crisis struck, leaving several European manufacturers in dire straits as they struggled to cut capacity and build sales abroad.
Auto manufacturers have recently sounded optimistic about the European market hitting bottom this year and beginning to rebound next year as the region’s economy starts to grow again. Last month new registrations jumped 12 percent in Britain. They dipped by 1.2 percent in Germany and 2.9 percent in Italy, however. Spain reported a 28.5-percent leap in new registrations, Ireland 27.9 percent and Portugal 15.9 percent.
For the first nine months of the year the only European auto manufacturers to post gains are Mercedes-Benz-maker Daimler at 4.9 percent and Renault, which edged out a 0.4-percent gain thanks to its low-cost Dacia unit. VW saw its European registrations slip 3.4 percent, Volvo dipped 5 percent, Fiat dropped 8.1 percent and PSA Peugeot Citroen slumped 11.3 percent. BMW registrations were flat.
Asian carmakers were also hit with only Kia posting a 0.5-percent increase and Mazda climbing 11 percent. Toyota saw registrations drop 4 percent, Honda dipped 1.3 percent, and Mitsubishi fell 9.2 percent. Korean carmaker Hyundai saw a 1-percent dip in registrations.