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Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions

The Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions was published today and it can be downloaded from the Bank’s website at:

A direct link to the PDF can be found here:

If you have difficulty accessing this page please contact:

EuropeanEU to investigate regulators for failings in Volkswagen Group emissions cheating

The European Union will conduct an inquiry into whether regulators failed to prevent the car industry from cheating emissions tests.

The European Parliament has voted to set up a committee to investigate the Volkswagen emissions scandal, including scrutiny of the European Commission, the body which is required to uphold and enforce EU legislation and manage the day-to-day business of the EU.

The parliamentary inquiry could last for up to a year, reports the BBC.

It will investigate alleged breaches of European Union law and “maladministration”.

Forty-five members of the Parliament will sit on the committee and preside over public hearings of testimony from government, EU and industry representatives.

Volkswagen said in September that it rigged US tests for nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel cars and that up to 11 million vehicles could be fitted with illegal devices capable of cheating tests.

“Defeat devices are banned in EU law,” European Commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet said. “The policing in the area is the responsibility of the appropriate national enforcement authorities.”

UK competition lawyer Miles Trower accused the European Commission of giving “benign treatment” to Europe’s carmakers back in September.

Trower, who works with the National Franchised Dealers Association, believes the Commission’s reluctance to rebalance the powers of dealers and carmakers is an indication of how highly regarded vehicle manufacturers have been.

He highlighted that after six years of cheating it took a non EU regulator to identify Volkswagen’s abuse of the rules.

“Are these types of abuse inevitable when the most powerful companies in the supply chain are left unchecked by those supposed to regulate them, and benefit from continual benign treatment.

“The permission of dramatic imbalances in negotiating power in the supply chain will only encourage further examples,” Trower said at the CECRA European Car Dealers Day in Brussels.


salesNovember sees European new car sales grow for 27th consecutive month

European new-car sales in November saw the 27th consecutive month of growth with volumes up 13.5%, the second highest this year.

This followed a significant slowing in growth during October as a consequence of smaller increases coming from the ‘big five’ EU markets.

Last month the total market expanded to 1.13 million cars from 993,000 units registered in the same month of 2014 taking the year-to-date result to 13.06 million units.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), came in at 14.03m units.

Most of the markets analysed by JATO Dynamics showed positive signs in November, with 27 of the 29 countries posting an increase in sales and 21 of them posting double-digit increases.

The growth was driven largely by Spain and Italy, where registrations increased by 26% and 24%, respectively, while in France the total was up by 11% to 150,000 units, offsetting smaller increases in Germany and the UK.

However, these two markets performed better than the figures seen in October, as Germany increased by 9%, and the UK new-car market returned to growth with a 4% year-on-year increase.

The Czech Republic, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden are among the big winners during November as their registrations increased by more than 20% year-on-year.

Moving in the opposite direction were Luxembourg and Estonia, the only two markets to post a decline in sales last month.

“After the slowdown seen in October, the European new-car market is back to a healthy increase of 13% that benefited the majority of brands.

“Registrations continued to grow despite the lower than average growth posted by the Volkswagen Group, Europe’s largest car maker” said Brian Walters, vice president of data at JATO Dynamics.

In November the Volkswagen brand led the market but posted the lowest increase in the top 10 with only a 3.3% gain over the same month of 2014.

It was followed by a strong performance from Renault, Ford and Opel/Vauxhall, which sold between 75,000 and 80,000 units each.

Double-digit growth was also seen by volume brands Peugeot, Fiat and Skoda, while the premium brands were led by Mercedes, with registrations up by 18% – quite ahead of the growth posted by its rivals.

Outside the top 10, other brands that showed a significant increase included Jaguar, Smart, Land Rover, Jeep and Mazda.

The ranking by model shows that the Volkswagen Passat was again the fastest growing model in the top 10.

It helped the brand to offset the decline of the Polo and the smaller increase posted by the Golf.

The long-standing European leader had the smallest positive change among the models composing the top 10.

The Renault Clio occupied third position outselling the Ford Fiesta by more than one thousand units, but it was the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and the Peugeot 208, the subcompacts, that grew faster with sales gains of 18% and 23%, respectively.

The top 10 comprised of five subcompacts, three compacts, one mid-size sedan/SW and one SUV/crossover.

Outside of the top 10, other models that outpaced total growth include the Opel/Vauxhall Astra with registrations up by 29%, the Skoda Fabia (+57%), the Peugeot 2008 (+30%), the Dacia Sandero (+22%) and the Hyundai i30 (+83%).

The Renault Kadjar, Hyundai Tucson and Mercedes GLC were the best-selling new entries.

“Overall November was a strong month with the usual leaders keeping their positions, while the new launches helped boost sales.

“The growing demand is heading us to a strong full-year result that is benefiting specific segments such as the SUV,” said Walters.


Posted by Sue Robinson on 18/12/2015