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Europe: Auto Recovery Continues without France

Western European new-car sales rose 6 percent in October as demand picked up in all major markets except France. Registrations increased despite deepening uncertainties over the region’s economic outlook.
Registrations last month increased to 1.03 million cars from 974,640 a year earlier, based on data compiled by consulting firm LMC Automotive.
That lifted the October selling rate to 12.6 million cars annually, a 3 percent increase from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis.
“Despite the increasingly gloomy economic outlook for western Europe, the car market posted a solid improvement,” LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt said.
European auto demand has picked up in 2014 after a six-year slump but remains well short of its peak before the financial crisis. A weakening economy is making itself felt in France, according to the data — an aggregation of monthly registrations published in each country.
France, which published a 4 percent sales decline, was the only major market where the annualized selling rate fell, dropping 6 percent from September’s pace, LMC said.
The annualised rate rose 4 percent in Germany, 4 percent in the UK, 9 percent in Italy and 12 percent in Spain.
“After a fairly strong result for September by recent standards, the French market slipped back in October, reflecting the wider stagnation of the French economy,” LMC’s Poskitt said.
The UK, which today posted a 14 percent year-on-year surge in October car registrations, “remains the key growth market this year,” Poskitt added.

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