How Did Brexit Affect Car Sales?

Tell You After My European Holiday

Aug 3, 2016 7:54 am ET

Summertime and the livin is easy particularly for some statisticians. Investors anxious to take the post-Brexit temperature of European consumers will have to wait until September to get official aggregated statistics for July car sales. Normally the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, which goes by its French acronym ACEA, publishes statistics for European car sales each month. July is the exception. Like many offices across Europe, the Brussels agency shuts down for two weeks in August. Sales for July are therefore released alongside those for August in mid-September.

July isn t typically an important month for car purchases. But this year is different. Following Britain s vote to leave the European Union in late June, barometers of macro-economic demand are being closely monitored. Unlike consumer-confidence1 surveys, car sales offer hard data2. Fortunately, individual countries also release figures. So far, roughly two-thirds of the relevant data are out.

These show July volumes down about 2% year over year, calculates Royal Bank of Canada, not helped by fewer selling days. Crucially, the U.K. reports Thursday. Without the ACEA, auto watchers need to piece the puzzle together themselves. Some say one month s figures are never that useful anyway.

Maybe Brussels is right: better just to take a break.


  1. ^ consumer-confidence (
  2. ^ car sales offer hard data (

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