Portuguese vehicle production grows 30.6% y/y in Q1
Portuguese vehicle production has seen strong growth during the first quarter of 2019. According to data published by the Portuguese Car Trade Association (Associação Comércio Automóvel de Portugal: ACAP), output increased by 30.6% year on year (y/y) during the first three months of the year to 94,471 units, with a gain of 37% y/y in March alone to 31,693 units. Supporting this growth has been passenger car production, which gained by 31.5% y/y in the quarter to 78,156 units, with a 39.5% y/y uplift in the most recent month to 25,885 units. In addition, light commercial vehicle (LCV) production has increased by 26.7% y/y in the quarter to 14,818 units, while in March this was an improvement of 28.7% y/y to 5,276 units. As for medium- and heavy commercial vehicles (MHCV), output in the quarter has increased by 21.1% y/y to 1,497 units, while in March this is up by 9.5% y/y to 532 units.
Significance: Although there may have been some benefit from the timing of Easter this year, data for the quarter show that this is a longer-term trend. Also, with a limited number of light vehicle producers in Portugal, it relatively easy to analyse where these improvements have stemmed from. IHS Markit expects that passenger car production will grow by a further 11.5% y/y to 246,300 units in 2019, before starting to slip back during 2020, while LCV production is forecast to expand by around 20% y/y to nearly 81,800 units, with a further more modest gain expected in 2020.
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