Car Sales Slide In March, But UK Sales Beat The Trend.
“Any significant year on year growth is likely to come in the final four months of 2019”
Car sales in Western Europe fell 3.7% in March, while in Britain sales were a bit stronger showing a decline of only 3.4% compared with the same month last year despite the political uncertainty surrounding the Brexit crisis.
Sales in Western Europe fell to 1,641,252, for an annual selling rate of 14.1 million, down from the previous month’s 14.9 million rate, according to LMC Automotive. Sales in Britain fell to 458,054.
LMC Automotive forecast sales in Western Europe will slip 0.3% in 2019, slightly better than last year’s fall of 0.8%.
For the first quarter of 2019, Western European sales fell 3.5% to 3,783,645 compared with the same period last year.
“The fact that the recent selling rate growth has gone into reverse is certainly a setback, leading us to forecast a virtually flat West European car market for the full-year, with growth of just 0.3% seen. This forecast assumes that an orderly Brexit and an easing of trade tensions help to boost confidence in the coming months. Any significant year on year growth is likely to come in the final four months of 2019, when sales were weak in 2018 due to WLTP-related disruption,” LMC said.
The WLTP disruption refers to the problems many manufacturers had from September as they failed to initially meet new EU fuel economy regulations.
The negotiations between the EU and Britain are currently in limbo, and experts are divided as to the outcome.
Western Europe includes all the big markets like Germany, Britain, France, Spain and Italy.