European registrations fall 23.5% 'post-WLTP'
Registration numbers are interesting indicators, but they can be quite artificial, too. After August's registration spike (+31.2 per cent), September saw the new passenger car registrations in the European Union fall by 23.5 per cent. The explanation lies in a four-letter word that has been haunting OEMs and fleet owners alike: WLTP. August 31st was the final day to register pre-WLTP stock vehicles, forcing many dealers, importers and car manufacturers to register them en masse.
Still, over the first nine months of 2018, EU demand for passenger cars remained positive (+2.5 per cent), ACEA reports, in line with growth expectations for this year. Looking at the five biggest markets, demand is strong in Spain (+11.7 per cent), France (+6.5 per cent) and Germany (+2.4 oer cent), while Italy (-2.8 per cent) and the United Kingdom (-7.5 per cent) are contracting.
If there is any growth area in Europe, it is in the centre: things are really looking up in Bulgaria, Hungary and especially Romania. A bit further to the South, Greece and Croatia are equally posting hopeful numbers.
FCA, Renault and VW Group pay the price
Looking at the numbers in detail, it immediately becomes clear which OEMS were were well-prepared for WLTP and which weren't. In the first category we find Volvo Cars (+2.9 per cent), Kia (+2.9 per cent) and Jaguar (+33.5 percent) - the only brands to have registered more cars in September than in August 2018.
There is another element at play, though: the introduction of brand-new hence automatically WLTP-approved cars. In the case of Volvo, the brand-new XC40 is far exceeding its maker's target. Its nemesis at Jaguar, the equally new E-Pace, is also becoming a regular sight on European roads.
In the second category the most painful losses (EU figures) are to be found at FCA (-31.9 per cent), Renault Group (-27 per cent), Nissan (-45.5 per cent) and VW Group (-48 percent). Compared to its premium competitors BMW (-7.2 per cent) and Mercedes (-11.8 per cent), Audi took a knock-out blow worth -60.7 percent.