Central and Eastern Europe outperform rest of Europe in Q1 new car sales
So says JATO Dynamics, which has released data showing that markets in the Baltic region performed strongly during Q1, with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania up 71.4%, 122.9% and 108.5% respectively.
In comparison, only two of the "big five" markets showed positive growth during Q1 2011: France and Germany were up 8.9% and 13.9% respectively while Great Britain, Italy and Spain were down 8.7%, 23.3% and 27.3%. Out of these markets, Germany experienced the greatest unit growth in Q1, up 92,993 units, while Italy saw the biggest decline, down 156,269 units.
Commenting on the findings, Gareth Hession, vice president, research, said: 'While there had been some positive signals from the industry during the first three months of this year, economic instability in some of the more mature automotive markets have hit overall sales. Despite this, it is encouraging to see growth in Central and Eastern Europe, where manufacturers will no doubt be looking to expand further. Investment in vehicles tailored for this region will be crucial to their success there.'
Looking at brand performance, JATO reported that Volkswagen maintains its leading position in Europe for the quarter, extending its lead over rivals, with sales increasing 5.7%. In contrast, Fiat saw the biggest decline out of the regions' top ten brands, down 25.3%, largely reflecting the poor performance of its home market.
Outside the top ten brands a number of premium brands have experienced strong sales for the quarter, including Alfa Romeo and Porsche, up 49.6% and 26.5% respectively, largely due to strong sales of the new Giulietta and latest Cayenne models. JATO said that this 'not only demonstrates the importance of investing in new products but also shows the appetite for premium brands, despite continued tough economic conditions'.