Central and Eastern European markets down by 4.9% in 2010, reports JATO
A total of 880,043 units were sold in CEE in 2010 compared to 925,770 in 2009, a decline of 4.9%. This is in contrast to a positive final quarter of 2010 for the region that saw sales increase by 9.3% and all of the top ten brands, apart from Fiat, experienced growth.
A number of markets experienced double-digit sales falls in 2010 with Hungary (-27.9%), Romania (-18.3%) and Slovakia (-22.6%) amongst the worst affected. In terms of growth, Latvia experienced the most positive 2010, with a sales increase of 18.6%.
'The strong performance of these markets in Q4 can be largely attributed to consumers purchasing ahead of expected local taxation changes to be effected in 2011, for example the implementation of new CO2 related taxation, abolition of taxation relief from the next year, and the promotional efforts of the importers, although these improvements must be viewed in the context of very low sales in Q4 2009,' said Evangelos Hadjistavrou, regional general manager, JATO Dynamics.
'However, overall the region is still down compared to 2009 demonstrating the tough conditions experienced by the industry last year. The region's impact on the overall sales performance of Europe will be monitored with interest over the next twelve months,' continued Mr Hadjistavrou.
The majority of the most popular CEE brands suffered a sales decrease in 2010, with only Skoda, Volkswagen and Opel experiencing marginal increases, up 4.7%, 3.9% and 3.5% respectively. Of the top ten brands, Opel recorded the largest growth in terms of units sold, bolstered by strong sales performance in Poland and Romania. Fiat experienced the largest decrease as sales fell by over 25%.
Skoda dominated both the number one and two spots for top selling models. Skoda's Octavia ended 2010 with a sales increase of 7.7% while the Skoda Fabia, the second most popular model, decreased by 12.1%.
The Opel Astra saw the highest increase in sales, up 33.7% and ended the year with 20,352 units sold. 2010 was also a good year for the Volkswagen Polo, which increased its sales by 22.9%.
Looking at segment trends, there has been a significant upward trend in medium SUVs as sales increased by 41.6% over the course of 2010, which can be attributed to the successful introduction of new products such as the Dacia Duster, Hyundai ix35 and Mitsubishi ASX. The small SUV segment also performed well thanks to the introduction of the new Kia Sportage. Overall the segment experienced a 10.2% increase while the sales of the Kia Sportage more than doubled and ended 2010 with 5,290 units sold.