Brussels, Belgium – Vehicle production in Europe is on a slow recovery path from the very low levels of 2009. Production grew by 11 per cent in 2010, although output was still 8 per cent below the levels reached in 2008, and 14 per cent less than in 2007 prior to the economic crisis.

With stimulus measures phasing out, new passenger-car registrations fell by 5.6 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009. The demand for vehicles emitting less than 120 grams of CO2/km rose by 20 per cent to a total of 3.9 million cars, which is 29 per cent of the total market.

A total of 16.9 million motor vehicles were produced in the EU in 2010. Of that, 15.1 million were cars, the lowest level recorded since 1997 with the exception of 2009. Vans were up 41 per cent and trucks up 50 per cent, but volumes remained well below the average level of past years.

In absolute figures, Germany remained the largest car producer in the EU, with 5.6 million units in 2010, 11.8 per cent more than in the previous year. France and Spain manufactured 1.9 million cars, increasing their production by 5.7 and 5.6 per cent respectively when compared to 2009. Among the largest markets, the U.K. expanded the most in 2010, up 27.1 per cent, with a total of 1.3 million cars. For the first time, the Czech Republic produced over one million cars, which is 9.5 per cent more than in 2009.

Globally, car production increased by 22.4 per cent in 2010, after a global 9.6 per cent downturn in 2009. Worldwide, 58.3 million cars were manufactured in 2010. The EU was the biggest producer, accounting for 26 per cent of world figures. China, the second largest, produced 13.9 million units, with output growth four times higher than production growth in Europe, expanding by 33.8 per cent compared to 8.3 per cent growth in Europe in 2010.

Japan, the world’s third-largest producer, manufactured 21.1 per cent more cars in 2010 than in 2009. The next largest producers, in order, are South Korea (up 22.4 per cent), Brazil (up 9.8 per cent), India (29.4 per cent), and the U.S. (up 24.4 per cent). Canada, 11th in production size worldwide, was up 17.8 per cent. (These figures do not include trucks.)

The European Union accounted for 23.8 per cent of all new passenger cars registered in the world in 2010. The United States was next with 20.6 per cent (which includes light trucks), and China with 20.1 per cent.

According to the latest data available, for 2009, the European Union fleet totalled 236.1 million passenger cars, 1 per cent more than in 2008. Of that, 87.2 per cent were cars. While the average age of the car fleet in the EU is about 8.2 years, 35 per cent of the cars on European roads are older than ten years.

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