Portuguese vehicle production grows 12.2% y/y during April
Vehicle production in Portugal grew by 12.2% year on year (y/y) during April, according to data published by the Portuguese Car Trade Association (Associação Comércio Automóvel de Portugal: ACAP). Output of passenger cars, light commercial vehicles (LCVs), and medium and heavy commercial vehicles (MHCVs) increased to 28,602 units last month, which helped support a 25.8% y/y gain to 123,073 units in the year to date (YTD). Supporting this growth was passenger car production, which increased 13.5% y/y to 23,506 units last month, and was up by 26.9% y/y to 101,662 units in the YTD. In addition, LCV production increased 7.9% y/y to 4,700 units in April, and was up by 21.6% y/y to 19,518 units in the YTD. MHCV output declined 14.1% y/y to 396 units last month, although it grew by 11.5% y/y to 1,893 units in the YTD.
Significance: The Portuguese vehicle production totals for last month are likely to have been hampered partly by the timing of Easter this year. However, the limited number of light vehicle producers in Portugal makes it relatively easy to analyse how this growth situation materialised. In terms of passenger cars, the improvement will have come from Volkswagen's (VW's) Autoeuropa facility and is likely to be mainly down to the popularity of its T-Roc crossover, which is built there and is continuing to win over customers. With it now being in production since the second half of 2017, it is also unsurprising to see growth rates in output start to flatten. As for the LCV category, this increase is mainly down to Groupe PSA's facility in Mangualde. However, it added an extra shift in April 2018, and as such may also see a flattening in growth rates at this higher level. It will also be supported by a further increase in production later this year with the addition of the latest-generation Opel Combo being built there. IHS Markit expects that Portugal's passenger-car production will grow 12% to 247,300 units in 2019, before starting to slip back during 2020. LCV production is forecast to expand by around 20.4% to nearly 82,000 units in 2019, with a further more modest gain expected in 2020.
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