The European car industry boomed in 2016 – with new car registrations for the year totalling 15.14 million units, a 6.5 per cent increase when compared to 2015. This is the second highest volume seen since 2007 when total registrations exceeded 16 million units, demonstrating that the market is proving resilient in the face of the geopolitical events of 2016 which have rocked consumer confidence.
The results show that the continuing SUV boom was the overwhelming trend of the year, with registrations growing by 21.4 per cent – increasing from 3.2 million units registered in 2015 to 3.9 million last year. In contrast, the traditional segments grew by just 2.2 per cent . In fact, European consumer preferences shifted further towards SUVs, and away from hatchbacks, sedans, station wagons and MPVs. SUVs accounted for more than a quarter of total registrations at 25.6 per cent , an increase in market share of 3.1 percentage points when compared to 2015. In contrast, MPVs lost 0.9 percentage points, with its market share falling to 9.5 per cent , whilst subcompacts lost 0.8 percentage points and accounted for 21.2 per cent of the market.
In a show of resilience, Volkswagen Group maintained its lead of the market, and despite 2016 being one of its most challenging years ever – the German car maker still managed to increase its registrations by 3.3 per cent . The overall market grew by 6.5 per cent , meaning that Volkswagen Group’s market share fell from 24.8 per cent in 2015 to 24.0 per cent last year. This was the highest market share decrease of all car groups. In contrast, FCA, Daimler, Renault-Nissan and Tata Group all increased their market share, thanks to their wider SUV ranges and the increase in sales seen in Southern European markets. As other manufacturers gain ground, Volkswagen Group will need to work hard to maintain its position as Europe’s leading manufacturer.