European car sales race past pre-crash high, but motorists shun VW – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The data also revealed that Europe’s car market has finally recovered to pre-financial crisis levels, with the six-monthly sales total rising 9.1pc and finally accelerating past levels not seen since 2008, when 8.42 million cars were sold.

While the overall European market was strong, the UK displayed a wobble in the number of new cars being registered in June as uncertainty created by Brexit hit. There was a 0.8pc decline in registrations from British motorists in the month, against 3.2pc growth over the entire six-month period.

Boosted by the strong pound, Britain’s car market has been in rude health for the past four years as manufacturers direct production to the UK to reap the benefit of sterling’s spending power. In contrast, the rest of Europe has seen anaemic sales growth since the financial crisis.

How Brexit – which is set to knock consumer confidence, putting them off big-ticket purchases like cars – will impact the region’s performance remains to be seen.

“The first half results show a healthy market,” said Mr Munoz. “The second half will be more challenging due to current uncertainty in the UK, and possible stagnation in other key markets.”

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