Swedish passenger car market declined in April 2019
The Swedish passenger car market has seen demand retreat further during April. According to data published by trade association BIL Sweden, registrations declined by 11.6% y/y to 30,253 units in April. Overall, the Swedish passenger car market has now slipped by 14.4% y/y to 104,133 units in the year to date (YTD). Meanwhile, registrations of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of less than 3.5 tonnes declined again, by 15.4% y/y to 4,061 units in April, leading to a decline in the YTD of 20.6% y/y to 14,115 units. However, sales of heavy commercial vehicles (HCVs) with a GVW of more than 16 tonnes improved by 11.6% y/y to 644 units in April, helping it further into positive growth territory in the YTD with a gain of 8.1% y/y to 2,158 units.
Significance: After several years of gains, the Swedish light-vehicle market shifted in the middle of last year following the end of a push of non-WLTP compliant vehicles and the introduction of a new CO2-based bonus-malus system. BIL Sweden's CEO, Mattias Bergman, has said previously that around 64% of vehicles sold last year were in the first half before its introduction. However, the introduction of the bonus-malus scheme is having a positive impact on the market, as it boosts the market for plug-in vehicles and notably fully electric vehicles (EVs). The market share of such vehicles reached 4.5% during last month, versus 1.1% during April 2018. EVs saw a particularly large increase due to new models coinciding with this support. This has led the trade association to lift its forecast for such vehicles to a share of 24% of the market during 2020 and 30% during 2021, compared with the previous forecast of 19% and 25% respectively. It also expected the share to reach around 13% this year. As for the wider market, IHS Markit anticipates that passenger car registrations will fall approximately 5% y/y to 336,000 units in 2019, with further declines to come as the market corrects after a period of extended highs. We also see the LCV category falling back over the next few years, beginning in 2019 with a fall of 12.6% to 49,800 units.
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