Brussels – A 22% year-on-year increase in the sales of passenger cars in December has helped Europe finish 2019 on a positive note.
Registering its fourth consecutive month of growth, passenger car sales rose to over 1.2 million units in the final month of the year to mark the highest December total on record, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).
This was partially the result of a low base of comparison, as registrations fell by 8.4% in December 2018.
However, specific market changes also contributed to this exceptional growth, ACEA noted.
Over the month of December, Sweden and France saw significant surges of 109% and 27.7% in sales respectively as both countries announced major changes to the bonus-malus component of CO2-based taxation for 2020.
The Netherlands, which decided to increase taxation of electric company cars from 4% to 8% as of January 2020, also saw a sales soar by just under 114%.
“As a result, all EU countries – including the five big markets – posted solid growth rates in December,” said the ACEA.
Overall in 2019, new-car registrations increased by 1.2% across the European Union, reaching more than 15.3 million units in total and marking the sixth consecutive year of growth.
The year started on weak footing due to the lasting impact of the introduction of the emissions test in September 2018.
However, the final quarter of 2019, and December in particular, pushed the full-year performance of the EU market into positive territory.
Looking at the five major EU markets, Germany recorded the largest increase by 5.0%, followed by France and Italy which saw annual growths of 1.9% and 0.3% respectively.
By contrast, both Spain and the UK registered a fall in demand in 2019.