EU car sales rev up despite Brexit and ‘dieselgate’

Car sales returned to growth in Europe last month, the latest industry data showed Thursday, but that Brexit and the so-called dieselgate scandal are making their impacts felt.

New car sales climbed 5.9% in October compared to the same month last year, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, after a fall of 2.0% in September.

In the first ten months of the year, passenger car sales rose 3.9%.

Car sales rose almost everywhere on the continent, but not in Britain where consumer confidence was undermined by uncertainty about the conditions of the imminent exit of the country from the Union European.

They fell by more than 12% last month, and decreased by 4.6% from January to October.

Car sales are down even more sharply in Ireland, which is probably the EU country most directly exposed to Brexit, with Irish exports accounting for 11 of the EU's 15 products. more exposed to the British economy.

They fell by almost 14% in October and are down 10.3% in the first ten months of the year.

"Brexit uncertainty and the weakness of the pound sterling have a negative impact on the industry," said the Irish Auto Industry Corporation (SIMI) at the beginning of this month.

The lower value of the British pound has caused a wave of occasional cars at attractive prices coming from Britain on sale in Ireland, which is also a country of driving on the left.

SIMI stated that "with an increase in imports of less than 3 years, it is likely that some of them will cause new car sales".

The dieselgate scandal, sparked by Volkswagen's admission in 2015 that it was equipping millions of cars with software to cheat on pollution tests, seems to have an impact on sales because consumers are turning to engines in the absence of taxes and regulations being considered or imposed by EU countries.

In Germany last month, according to the issuing authority of the KBA nation's driving licenses, diesels accounted for 34.9 percent of the 272,855 cars registered. A year ago, diesel engines accounted for 44.2%.

In France, diesel sales are down 4.7% over the first 10 months of the year, or 47.6% of the total, according to the professional association of French automobile manufacturers CCFA . Diesel engines still accounted for the majority of cars sold last year at 52.1%. In Britain, the uncertainty surrounding the taxation of diesel seems to affect overall sales.

"The decline in business and consumer confidence is undoubtedly affecting demand in the new car market, but it is compounded by confusion over the government's diesel policy," said Mike Hawes, general manager of society. this month.

"Consumers need to be reassured that the latest low-emission diesel cars on sale will not be subject to any prohibitions, charges or other restrictions," he said. anywhere in the UK, "he added.

By car manufacturers, the sales of the European leader Volkswagen were lagging in October and during the first ten months of the year, growing less than the overall market. Its market share dropped to 23.6% from January to October.

PSA Group sales, which makes Peugeot and Citroën, were boosted by the inclusion of Opel / Vauxhall in its accounts, but otherwise the automaker has only shown that modest increases over the overall market gain.

Among the leading automakers, Toyota had the highest percentage of sales in Europe with a 14.4% increase in the first ten months of the year, bringing its market share to 4.7% .

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