New-car registrations in Europe surged 5.5 percent in September 2013, helped by a surge in vehicle sales in the United Kingdom as well as an extra working day. The surge is an indication that European vehicle market’s decline might be bottoming out, according to industry watchers. Registrations in the EU and EFTA markets hiked to 1.19 million vehicles in September, industry association ACEA said in a statement.
According to ACEA, sales in the first nine months of 2013 dropped 4 percent to 9.34 million cars – with industry-wide sales in Europe still on pace to reach a two-decade low this year. Helping boost demand in September is the end of an 18-month recession in the euro-area, where the gross domestic products of 17 countries returned to growth in the second quarter.
In fact, investor confidence in Germany, regarded as Europe's largest economy and vehicle market, surged to a three-year high this month. Likewise, consumer confidence in the UK was at a six-year high in September.
Industry observers were waiting for September sales results to determine whether the decline in August was a quick glitch or an indication of a further slide.
Peter Fuss, Senior Advisory Partner at Ernst & Young's Global Automotive Center, told Automotive News, “the worst is behind us,” noting the decline in sales has considerably slowed and there are signs of recovery in demand.
He also noted that sales continue to be artificially boosted by huge discounts and self-registrations by dealers. He remarked that it will take at least two years before the vehicle market will be strong enough to grow on its own without the aid of incentives.