EU new car sales up 11% in January except in Germany, Acea says

In January 2023, the EU car market showed growth of 11.3% in new vehicle registrations compared with the corresponding month last year, reaching a total of 760,041 units, the European Automotive Manufacturers Association (Acea) said on Tuesday February 21.
But this increase was from the historic low base figure of last year, Acea added.

The positive performance was reflected in three of the region’s four key markets, with Spain showing the strongest gains at 51.4%, followed by Italy with 19.0%, and France with a more modest but still solid growth of 8.8%.

But on the other hand, Germany, the Europe’s largest car producer and consumer, recorded a decline of 2.6% in the same period.

On average, the automotive sector consumed around 40% of EU strip mill products and 2.9% of quarto plate products in 2021, according to regional steel association Eurofer. This accounted for around 16% of total steel consumption in the EU, according to the same source.

On average, a car contains 820-1,134kg of steel in the car body, chassis, engine, transmission and other components, depending on the type of vehicle and the manufacturing process, according to the World Steel Association (Worldsteel).

Passenger cars accounted for 82% of all vehicles manufactured in the EU, according to Acea.

The European steel hot-rolled coil market has been quiet recently, with prices largely flat amid a lack of trading. Most mills in Northern Europe claimed to be sold out for April-delivery coil and only able to offer May lead times.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €772.26 ($825.14) per tonne on Tuesday, stable day-on-day.

This compared with an average monthly price in January 2023 of €720.36 per tonne ex-works, versus €920.41 per tonne ex-works in January 2022.

The current signs of recovery in Europe, with the exception of Germany, were foreseen by industry market participants which estimated that, despite many uncertainties ahead – including acute component shortages and lack of consumer confidence caused by the energy crisis and recession concerns – about 9.8 million new cars will be sold in the region this year, up by 5% from 2022.

This figure was, however, still 25% down from pre-Covid pandemic levels in 2019, indicating that the industry was still in a delicate position.

Published by: Elina Virchenko