By Aysu Bicer
ANKARA (AA) – EU's new-car registrations in 2019 increased by 1.2%, reaching more than 15.3 million units in total and marking the sixth consecutive year of growth, an industry group said on Thursday.
The year started on weak footing due to the lasting impact of the introduction of Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) in September 2018, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA).
Under conditions defined by EU law, the WLTP is used to measure fuel consumption and carbon emissions from passenger cars, as well as their pollutant emissions.
"Yet, the final quarter of 2019, and December in particular, pushed the full-year performance of the EU market into positive territory," the group said.
Looking at the five major EU markets, Germany (+5.0%) recorded the largest increase last year, followed by France (1.9%) and Italy (0.3%), while both Spain (-4.8%) and the United Kingdom (2.4%) saw demand fall in 2019.
"In December 2019, EU passenger car demand grew for the fourth month in a row (+21.7%), marking the highest December total on record to date," it said, adding that this was partially the result of a low base of comparison, as registrations fell by 8.4% in December 2018,
According to the ACEA, a surge in car sales was observed in France (+27.7%) and Sweden (+109.3%), as both countries announced significant changes to the bonus-malus component of CO2-based taxation for 2020.
The Netherlands (+113.9%), on the other hand, decided to increase taxation of electric company cars from 4% to 8% as from January 2020.
All EU countries – including the five big markets – posted solid growth rates in December 2019.