JATO Dynamics: European new car market down despite some growth
The German brands demonstrated a strong performance within the European new car market during the first quarter of 2012. Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all ending March on a positive note up 3.2%, 6.9%, 4.8% and 8.1% respectively. These brands, with the exception of BMW, also ended Q1 up (1.2%, 4.3% and 8.4% respectively) on last year but BMW was only slightly down 0.4%.
Outside the top ten, there was some positive news as a number of the value brands such as Hyundai, Kia and Skoda along with some specialist premium brands like Land Rover, Jaguar, Jeep, Porsche and Ferrari recording improved sales. @[email protected]
Commenting on the findings, Gareth Hession, vice president, Research at JATO said: 'Mainstream brands have been hit hardest by the continued economic uncertainty with French and Italian brands – Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat – particularly affected as their home markets saw a reduction in sales year–to-date with a combined loss of over 200,000 units.'
Volkswagen’s Golf, Nissan’s Qashqai and the new Toyota Yaris are the only models in the top ten to record improved sales in March. The Qashqai and new Yaris performed particularly well last month, with sales up 21.5% and 18.1% respectively. They are also the only models, along with the Ford Focus, to end the quarter positively.
Ford’s Fiesta moved into second place despite reductions of 4.8% in March and 10.4% YtD and Volkswagen’s Polo dropped to fourth place behind Opel/Vauxhall’s Corsa.
Although the Volkswagen Passat ends the quarter with increased sales, it was edged out of the top ten for March due to the new registration plate change in Great Britain which made the market larger than Germany for the month.
As a result those models that are popular with consumers in the UK moved up the table.
Hession concluded: 'It’s important to recognise the appeal of new products, premium brands and crossover vehicles even in a difficult European car market. The Mercedes C-Class, new BMW 1-Series, and Nissan Juke have also all recorded increased sales over the last quarter.'