Vehicle registrations continue to grow in Spain, but with each passing year with less force. In 2018, 1,321,438 units were registered, a figure that reflects an increase of 7% compared to last year but the worst growth rate of the last five years, according to the data of the Institute of Automotive Studies (IEA) with data from the Traffic Department. This new deceleration occurs in an exercise in which there was no aid from the Administration to the acquisition of a new vehicle and in which the uncertainty about the future of vehicles powered by diesel engines grew even more.
The 2018 was not an easy year for manufacturers (Anfac) and car dealers (Faconauto and Ganvam), which also had to face the new European emission control standard that came into force in September, the WLTP, according to its acronym in English. As a result of this new emission control testing framework, there was a previous campaign to try to liquidate the stocs of vehicles prior to the new homologation due to the fear that the registrations would become more expensive, which translated into a final part of the year. in which sales fell. In fact, from September to December these have fallen continuously, including December, which fell by 3.5%. The first negative data since 2012.
In this context, we must add the successive announcements made by the administrations about the end of polluting cars, which culminated in October, when the Government announced its plans to prohibit, from 2040, all those vehicles that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, whether they are gasoline, diesel or hybrids. Manufacturers and sellers – even unions – denounce since then that it is generating confusion that is retracting the intention to buy, especially diesel. In November sales of that type of cars fell by 40% and in December that fall continued with a new reduction of 29%.
In the accumulated of the year diesel passenger cars have lost 20% of sales compared to last year (473,491) and only represent 31.3% of the total sales. Gasoline vehicles are the ones that, at this moment, hold the market. 29.7% more were sold (739,527). Of other technologies, 108,420 were sold, representing an increase of 59.6%.
The renting, which grows the most
The company channel is the one that has withstood the growth of registrations in 2019. Renting companies registered 13.6% more vehicles this year and were responsible for the commercialization of 420,651 vehicles. Its boom is interpreted from the sector as an additional insurance that private buyers are taking in the face of the uncertainty generated by classic combustion technologies (gasoline and diesel). Rental companies acquired 237,777 units, 5.7% more. For their part, individuals were responsible for the registration of 639,451 vehicles, the largest figure and the one that least grows compared to 2018 (3.7%).
"The consumer has before him a panorama of much uncertainty in order to face the acquisition of a vehicle, due to the different statements made in recent months," says Nomé Navas, communication director of Anfac, who fears that the economic context will not accompanies: "The news about lower economic growth does not encourage the intention to buy". From the management of dealers, Faconauto, its director of communication, Raul Morales, believes that the increase of 7% "is not a bad data", although it laments the last four months of sales drops, which blames the WLTP and "the negative climate that currently surrounds the automotive industry "and the loss of consumer confidence.
Although sales continue to grow, they will hardly reach the 1.65 million that were sold in 2007, the historic maximum in Spain. In Spanish factories there is a fear of this context: that the loss of the domestic market becomes an argument for brands to stop betting on their facilities in the Peninsula to allocate the production of new vehicles.
In all the autonomous communities, vehicle sales grew with one exception: Catalonia, where registrations fell by 2.8%. The reason, explain sources of the sector, is that it has affected the transfer of social addresses outside the autonomous community, which has caused companies to be enrolling vehicles from other regions.