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European new car sales weak in Q1

According to the ACEA, European new car sales were weak in the Q1 of 2007 – some 0.3% down on the same period of 2006.

Germany is down 10% so far this year with less new car registration than Italy, which is up 4.1%. France is down 1.4% and 0.7% fewer cars have been registered in Spain than in the Q1 of 2006. The UK is up by 2.9%. Except for Hungary and Slovenia, the new EU members have all seen big increases in registrations in the Q1 of 2007 compared to 2006. Although off a smaller base than for western Europe, sales in the accession states increased by 13.8% with Latvia recording 73.8% and Estonia 48.9%.

The largest of the new EU member states – Poland – recorded a 24.5% increase to 72,763 units in the Q1. The best performing brand in Europe (EU+EFTA) was Honda – up 17.6% in the Q1 – followed by Toyota (up 12.9%) with the Fiat Group continuing its renaissance (up 6.4%). The Renault Group continued its downward trend with new car registrations falling 9.9% in the Q1 of 2007, although Mazda (down 11.9%) and Nissan (down 16.9%) posted much larger falls. (