With 2019 in the rear-view mirror and fading fast we still wanted to bring our look at what happened in 2019 within the EU-5 but also to bring in January, as 2020 has certainly not started the same as in 2019.
We already know that Germany had a great year, with True Fleets + 14.6% and RAC + 9.2% (Short- term rentals), even the Dealer/Manufacturer channel (+ 2.3%) scored its highest registration volume since our records begin in 2001. However, the answer is somewhat subjective as to whether this is a positive result given the tactical nature of the channel. Private registrations dropped slightly over 2018 end figures, but this was a very minimal 5000 units. January 2020 though has not set off with the same pace as seen in 2019. The Private market was down (over 10,000 units) and the Dealer Manufacturer channel was also, almost by the same volume. True Fleets kept its positive trend up by 0.6% but was the only channel to register a positive January leaving the Total market down by 7.3% in comparison to January 2019.
A quick look into True Fleets premium brands for January shows Mercedes pushing up by 15.5%, BMW producing a + 7.1% and Jaguar a super 75.4%, thanks to the F-Pace and I-Pace but also the XE and XF. Jaguar sister company Land Rover certainly had the Discovery models to thank as the only two models from their line-up which produced a positive growth for January. It was also interesting to see the ramp up in Petrol-PHEV registrations from Audi, BMW and Volvo while the largest majority from Mercedes were Diesel-PHEV. With the CO2 targets now coming just over the horizon this is certainly a fuel segment that will be hotting up over the year and the tactical channels will likely play a heavy role.
The UK continues to suffer from a perfect storm of pressures, Brexit, Dieselgate and political upheaval have all taken their toll on the market which have resulted in it losing its crown as largest True Fleet market in 2018 (to Germany). New car registrations have continued to fall throughout 2019 for most channels with only the RAC channel posting a positive 2019 result over 2018. The total market finished on some 2.31 million registrations down by 2.4%, True Fleets loss was a similar 2.7% while the Dealer/Manufacturer Channel also dropped at years end by 1.8%. As mentioned, the only positive came from the RAC channel which was up by 3.0%. Our Forecast analysts predicate another carving of the market in 2020 with an almost 90,000 registration loss, these losses are centred on the Private and True fleet retail channels. The tactical Dealer/Manufacturer and RAC tactical channels are forecasted to bump upwards slightly as OEMs scramble to push cars into the market and reduce as much as possible the likely fines from missing CO2 targets and while Brexit has now been confirmed and the UK has officially left the EU there is still some more pain to come, starting with the January 2020 figures. Total market is down by 7.3% finishing below 150,000 registrations, the last time this happened was back in 2013. The Private market was hit with a 13.5% drop while RAC fared slightly better with a – 8.5%, Dealer & Manufacturers was down by 4.3% and True Fleets kept it chin above water with a + 0.5% (just over 200 registrations).
Inside the UK’s True Fleet top 6 premium brands again we saw some interesting numbers, Audi, BMW and Land Rover all produced + 30% growth figures but absolute star of the month was Lexus up by 103.2% and not surprisingly they are all, bar one, Hybrid registrations (the LC is the odd one out). Both Audi and BMW registered over 100 electric versions while three-digit PHEV registrations came from Audi, Land Rover and Volvo (Volvo with over 250) but it was BMW who registered an increase of 262.1% and managed a four-digit registration volume for the month.