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Portuguese passenger car sales fall during September
Portuguese passenger car registrations have fallen during September. According to the latest data published by the Automobile Trade Association of Portugal (Associação do Comércio Automóvel de Portugal: ACAP), demand fell by 14% year on year (y/y) to 12,771 units. This has had some impact on its year-to-date (YTD) growth, which is now up by 6.5% y/y at 182,677 units. However, light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations have grown by 4.8% y/y to 3,148 units, and they are now up in the YTD by 3.9% y/y to 28,247 units. Outside the light-vehicle categories, medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MHCV) registrations made a strong 17.4% y/y gain to 615 units in September. As a result, the growth rate in the first nine months has now returned to positive growth territory with an increase of just 0.2% y/y to 4,017 units.
Significance: The decline, like most markets in the European Union (EU), has been down to the introduction of the WLTP emissions certification for new passenger cars sold from 1 September. This led to automakers and dealers incentivising NEDC-certified vehicles as well as pre-registering them before the deadline. As well as these factors being a drag on demand in September, some automakers have also struggled to certify some models, which is limiting supply. One of those which is now just starting to meet demand is Volkswagen. However, this is expected to be a temporary blip, according to IHS Markit forecasts. We anticipate that passenger car registrations in this market will end the year at 233,600 units, an increase of 5.1% y/y, which will be followed by another year of growth in 2019. We see LCV production growing by 1.9% y/y to 39,500 units, and a further, larger gain is expected in 2019 as well.
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