New-car sales in Spain were up 6.5 percent last month to 131,797 units, according to industry association ANFAC. It was Spain's best June result since 2007, but market watchers see reasons to be concerned.
ANFAC said in a release Monday that it is “worried by the lack of growth in sales to private customers,” which started in the last quarter of 2016.
Registrations to private buyers rose 3.6 percent in June compared with a 23 percent rise in sales to fleet customers.
Another troubling trend is that registrations this year have been pushed, resulting in a total that is higher than actual market demand, Raul Morales, director of communication from dealer association FACONAUTO, said in a release on Monday.
“Targets imposed by brands to dealers are way too high. The numbers are not there and, to fulfill their targets, dealer have had to resort to self-registrations,” Morales said, adding that 25 percent of Spain’s June sales took place in the last two days of the month.
Sales to private customers are considered the most profitable of Europe’s three main sales channels followed by fleet sales and self-registrations, which are the least profitable. Self-registrations include demonstration vehicles and daily rentals.
“Self-registrations are great for customers, who can get heavy discounts, but dangerous for dealers who have to shoulder a growing stock of unsold vehicles,” Morales said in the release. “The pressure on dealers was expecially strong in June because it is the last month of the second quarter.”
The Renault brand was the market leader in June as its sales rose 5.1 percent to 12,361 units. Seat ranked No. 2 last month because of a 19 percent increase to 10,082 units. The surge was driven by the recently renewed Ibiza subcompact. Volkswagen brand rounded out the top three with a volume of 9,874 units, which was flat compared with the same period last year.
• Click above to download PDF for Spanish sales for June and six month by automaker and brand.
After six months Seat was the top-selling brand in Spain with a volume of 53,281 vehicles. Opel ranked second (52,390) followed by VW brand (51,028), Renault (49,229) and Peugeot (46.743).
Diesel-car registrations in June continued to slide, pulling down the monthly market share for the powertrain to 47.6 percent, the lowest level reached this year. Through six months diesels accounted for half of all vehicle sales in Spain.
Overall registrations in the market rose 7.1 percent to 667,494 units in the first half. Putting that number in perspective, ANFAC said that in the first half of 2008, just before the global financial crisis, the country’s sales were 19 percent higher at 823,000 units.