Lithuania and Bulgaria saw new car sales increase by 57.4% and 55.4% respectively in November 2017 compared to the same month of last year, which was nearly 10 times the EU average growth of 5.9%, as reported by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (APIA).
This was despite nearly all the big five EU markets performing well, with both Spain and France posting double-digit growth, while sales in Germany and Italy were up by a healthy 9.4% and 6.8% respectively. By contrast, the British car market contracted for the eighth consecutive month.
Several other CEE markets outperformed the big 5 west European countries. New car sales were up 24.4% in Croatia in November, 14.3% in Estonia, 31.4% in Hungary, 10.8% in Poland and 17.9% in Slovenia.
By contrast, sales only inched up by 0.2% in Latvia, and they declined by 1.0% in the Czech Republic.
The overall increase across the bloc was party attributed to the extra working day in November, APIA said.
Still, the two East European outliers maintained a similar stellar growth through the year; car sales in Lithuania were up 26.4% y/y in the first 11 months of 2017 — the fastest in the EU29 — followed by a 23.5% increase in Bulgaria.