Downturn in European car market shakes up brand hierarchy
This is particularly highlighed in Germany, where continuing poor sales have changed the competitive landscape, benefiting other models than Volkswagen Golf, Opel Astra and Ford Fiesta, which have traditionally dominated sales.
David Di Girolamo, head of JATO Consult, explained: 'The economic waves that are buffeting the European countries are now starting to affect sales of brands that traditionally enjoyed loyalty in their “home” markets, allowing other brands to benefit and establish a stronger foothold.'
Both Ford and Volkswagen are suffering heavily from the downturn in the German market. Renault’s contrasting good fortune has helped the brand retain its second place above Ford in third and YtD have closed the gap to 13,684 units in sales.
Ford’s third place has been regained from Peugeot, which was unable to sustain its April gains.
In terms of model performance, the biggest net winner is Renault and its success has been driven largely by Clio sales, particular notable performances in Italy (+83.8%), the UK (108%) and its home market France (37.5%) contributing to its overall 43.3% rise YtD.
This success contrasts with the current performance of key segment rivals, with the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 207 both down over 22% in May when compared with the same month last year.
Building on the Clio’s performance the French brand adds Mégane to the three models in the top 10 recording an increase in the month.
Looking at national sales trends, Germany and Greece feature amongst the largest contributors to the decline in May, reflecting the wider economic issues that have tied these two countries together.
Italy and France have also experienced a dip, joining some Central and Eastern European countries in a lack of consumer confidence pervading the euro-zone.
David Di Girolamo concluded: 'The current situation is significant, in not being one of the industry’s own making as it had hoped that the economy would have recovered by now. Without the assistance of scrappage, national markets and brands can only hope to ride out the storm and wait for more favourable and stable economic conditions.'