Euro car registrations continue to drop
April 2012 passenger car registrations in the European Union hit ten-year lows according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association. There was a decline overall in the Union of 6.9 per cent in comparison with April 2011, itself a decade-long low – a fair comparison, given that there were the same number of working days in each month. The UK and Germany bucked the trend, posting modest growth in April at 3.3 and 2.9 per cent respectively.
In the first four months of the year, new registrations have been 7.5 per cent lower in the EU than a year earlier, at 4,332,342 units, though again the UK and Germany have experienced growth of 1.4 and 1.8 per cent. Other major markets Spain (down 7.0 per cent), France (-17.5 per cent) and Italy (-20.2 per cent) have continued to slide, having each posted contractions in April.
Markets to post growth in the first third of this year are mainly those in Central Europe, such as the Czech Republic (up 6.1 per cent), Slovakia (+4.8), Hungary (+20.6), though all three have registered five-figure volumes in the period, as opposed to the six or seven figures of the major EU markets.
4×4 brands and Korean cars make gains
Korean manufacturers have continued to grow registrations in the EU during the first third of 2012, with Hyundai (+9.3 per cent) and KIA (+23.2 per cent) making the most significant gains. The latter achieved six-figure registrations in 2012’s first four months, up to 106,017. Hyundai’s more modest gains saw it reach 144,993 registrations.
The third has been particularly kind to Jaguar Land Rover, with total registrations of 44,647 32.4 per cent up on the same period in 2011. Land Rover has been particularly successful, with 38.3 per cent growth or 36,326 registrations, while the FIAT Group’s Jeep brand achieving 49 per cent growth, with 8,981 registrations.