Baltic markets drive Q3 growth in new car registrations
The firm’s figures show that the European market grew by 1.4% during Q3 2011 compared to the same period last year, while year-on-year sales were up 0.8% in September.
Sales in the Baltic region continued to perform consistently well during Q3, with Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia recording increases of 62.6%, 60.4% and 58.5% respectively.
However, out of the “big five” European markets only Germany experienced positive growth during Q3, up 11.6% following the sale of 779,157 units. Great Britain, Spain, France, and Italy were down 0.7%, 1.4%, 2.0%, and 6.3% respectively.
Local market sales in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal also reflected the continued economic uncertainty in these regions.
Commenting on the findings, Gareth Hession, vice president, research, JATO Dynamics, said: ‘This quarter’s data clearly demonstrates the continued importance of growth markets and potential of regions such as the Baltics. It’s a relief to see these markets showing such strength when many of the bigger markets are struggling. The big five remain critical though, and doubtless the competition for market share will remain fierce.’
Looking at the brands, Volkswagen continued to be Europe’s leading brand with sales increasing by 15.1% during Q3 2011. Other German brands continued to perform well in 2011 with Audi, BMW and Mercedes experiencing increases of 14.2%, 6.3% and 4.4% respectively.
Mr Hession said: ‘German brands continue to perform well, no doubt helped by a strong domestic market but also implying that the premium end of the market is more resilient to economic uncertainty.’
In terms of models, Volkswagen’s Golf remains Europe’s best-selling car, increasing its sales by 11.3% during Q3 2011, selling 119,409 units. The Volkswagen Polo has also made progress with a 4.5% increase in Q3, making it Europe’s second most popular car.
The recently-revised Passat and third-generation Focus also continued to climb, with Q3 sales up 48.3% and 26.3% respectively, demonstrating the importance of new product ranges for manufacturers, added JATO.