The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) president says a 5 per cent step-up in 2016 new car sales is now the expectation, up from ACEA’s January target growth of 2 per cent.
The upwards forecast “would mean over 14 million cars sold,” said Zetsche, with commercial vehicles also growing “substantially”.
But the industry shouldn’t yet get too excited, he added. “It’s important to note that we are still below pre-crisis levels of 15.5 million units. We need political partners who continue to stand by the principles of free trade and are determined to safeguard the positive momentum of our industry.”
Upwards growth of European new car sales is particularly good news for the UK: in 2015, 77 per cent of cars built here were sold overseas, with the EU accounting for 57.5 per cent of them. Our next-biggest automotive trade partner is the United States, where we send 10.9% of cars built here.
At a recent industry test day, the SMMT preferred not to comment on the risks to this EU trade of a Brexit vote, preferring instead to point out nearly 800,000 Brits are employed in automotive, with exports worth almost £35 billion accounting for 11.8 per cent of the UK’s total export goods.