European car demand shows improvement after 8-month hiatus

After eight consecutive months of deceleration across Europe, new car registrations moved upward very modestly in May, according to the latest release by the European carmakers association ACEA.

Passenger car registrations in May increased 0.1% year-on-year, mainly supported by demand in Central Europe. Among the largest markets Germany and France showed good results (+9.1% and 1.2% respectively), while Italy, UK and Spain continued to suffer from falling demand compared with last year’s levels. Automotive production in the vast majority of European countries has been well down in 2019.

Overall during the January-May period passenger cars registrations in Europe remained over -2% below the same period in 2018, at 6.7 million units.

The last monthly y-o-y rise European passenger cars registration was in August 2018, according to ACEA data.

Automotive demand has been among the main uncertainties for steelmakers since the mid of 2018. Some market observers explained during recent weeks that the bottom of the current negative trend in demand appears to have been reached. This implies that the second half of the year could well be carachterised by a slight recovery in registrations with an associated knock-on effect on production.