Peak car in EU? Bacon saved by former basket cases

Is peak car reaching Europe? EU car sales took 10 long years to slowly claw back towards pre-crisis levels, and now, the downer: In September, passenger car registrations dropped 2% across the common market, says Europe’s auto manufacturer association ACEA.

Remember how Europe’s southern periphery seemed sick for many years? Interestingly, Europe’s former basket cases are now the bright spots. All over the South, healthy improvements are reported. Passenger vehicles sales in formerly near-dead Greece, for instance, were up nearly 30% in September.

Car sales in what stood for the Mediterranean malaise now balance-out strong losses up north. In Denmark, the overall car market collapsed by 22%. Latvia, Ireland, UK, Finland, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Austria all registered losses compared to September 2016.

Year-to-date, EU registrations are up 3.6% .

In the manufacturer ranking, the biggest statistical loser is the GM Group, down 100% after GM’s Opel business was sold to France’s PSA in August. Opel/Vauxhall now appear under PSA, and helped lift the registrations of Peugeot-Citroen by a statistical 70% in September. Opel/Vauxhall sales would be down 10.5% compared to September 2016, but nobody is counting any more. Ford’s September registrations were down nearly 13%, while market leader Volkswagen Group lost 0.9%.

If you want all the data, click here.