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Swedish light-vehicle registrations in June slump on high base
Registrations in the Swedish light-vehicle market have slumped during June on the high base of comparison with June 2018. According to data published by trade association BIL Sweden, demand fell by 52% year on year (y/y) to 31,830 units. Overall, the Swedish passenger car market is now down by 25.6% y/y to 167,882 units in the year to date (YTD). Registrations of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of less than 3.5 tonnes collapsed 73% y/y to 4,530 units in June, leading to a decline in the first half of 2019 of 44% y/y to 22,960 units. However, sales of heavy commercial vehicles (HCVs) with a GVW of more than 16 tonnes more than doubled in the month from 524 units to 1,169 units in June, helping it further into positive growth territory in the YTD with a gain of 31.9% y/y to 4,045 units.
Significance: The significant downturn in the passenger car and LCV categories in Sweden this month is a result of the surge during June 2018 as customers sought to avoid the impact of a new CO2-based bonus-malus scheme. This benefits very low emission vehicles, but heavily affects those traditional vehicles that lack a degree of electrification. The overhang of this pull-forward has been hitting the market for the past 12 months, compounded by the shift from NEDC to WLTP which saw incentives on old stock and an impact on the supply of compliant new vehicles from some OEMs. However, given the exceptionally low base of comparison in the coming months, it is likely that we will see some strong gains. After this rough first half of the year, BIL Sweden has said that it expects that 335,000 passenger cars will be sold in 2019, which will make it the sixth best year ever. IHS Markit broadly agrees with this expectation, forecasting registrations of 336,000 units during the year, a decline of 5% y/y, and further declines to come in the coming few years. We also anticipate that LCVs with a gross vehicle weight of up to 6-tonnes will fall to around 49,800 units, a decline of 12.6% y/y.
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