EU automotive growth

Automotive production in Europe expanded by 5.1 per cent on last year according to the ACEA autumn Economic Report.

Of the 50 million cars produced globally, one third are manufactured in the EU. This makes Europe the world’s largest vehicle producer, providing jobs to 2.3 million people and indirectly to another 10 million.

In the first nine months of 2007 production in the automotive industry reached nearly 14.6 million vehicles. New EU member states accounted for 15 per cent of production over the same period. Passenger vehicles accounted for 87 per cent of the total, a rise of five percent on 2006. The truck sector saw growth of 13.8 per cent thanks to a rise in demand in European markets. The production of light commercial vehicles saw a rise of 3.9 per cent but production of new buses declined by 25 per cent.

Automobile demand improved by 1.5 per cent with 14.3 million new vehicles registered between January and September 2007. The only decrease was seen in registration of new buses and coaches, down by 8.4 per cent over nine months.

Automotive demand forecasts for 2007 have been revised upwards after new passenger car registrations picked up in October by 5.5 per cent, an increase of 1.2 per cent on the same period last year. The market for new cars is expected to slow down during the next two months; in particular, new car registrations in Germany have been influenced by an increase in sales taxes since January 2007 and are likely to remain below the late 2006 levels until the end of the year.

The economic outlook of the enlarged EU has been favourable despite the crisis on financial markets this summer. GDP went up by 0.7 per cent in the Euro area and 0.8 per cent in EU27. The European Commission have revised the forecasts for 2008 and 2009 downwards, taking into account the impact of turmoil in the financial markets.

The economies of the EU’s main partners, US and Japan, are expected to grow more slowly than the EU’s in 2007 and 2008 but they are likely to rebound in 2009.

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