2 Number of Vehicles

New car registrations in the EU increased to 15.2 million in 2017. That number is about the same as in the years 2001–2007, before the economic crisis that hit new car sales in Southern European countries particularly hard. Registrations in the EU are dominated by the larger Member States; the three largest alone (Germany, France, United Kingdom) account for nearly 60 % of the total (Fig. 2-1).

Germany is the largest market, with a 23 % share of the overall European market. Registrations in Germany dropped in 2006–2008, then rose in 2009 thanks to a government scrappage scheme, and from that point on increased again to around 3.4 million vehicles per year. By contrast, in Spain fewer than half as many new vehicles were registered in 2012 as in 2001–2007. But since 2014 sales in Spain and Italy are again trending upward sharply (Fig. 2-2). The UK is the only larger country in which registrations decreased, by 6 % between 2016 and 2017. As in previous years, by far the strongest growth in vehicle sales took place in the sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. About 4.3 million new cars in 2017 were SUVs, more than 6 times as many as 15 years before (Fig. 2-4).

At 2.0 million, new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations account for approximately 12 % of the total light-duty vehicle market (Fig. 2-9).

The VW Golf remains the most popular car model in Europe. It accounted for about 3 % of all new vehicle sales in the EU in 2017. The VW Tiguan, an SUV, entered the list of top-selling car models in 2017. On the LCV side, Ford Transit leads, with about 13 % of the market (Fig. 2-10 and Fig. 2-11).

The total number of newly registered heavy trucks and buses in the EU was 0.4 million in 2017 (Fig. 2-12). The truck market in the EU is dominated by only five manufacturers, together accounting for nearly 100 % of all sales (Fig. 2-15).