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Latest European new car sales show signs of hope

According to the latest analysis from JATO Dynamics, Europe’s new car sales declined by 4.6% in October, and 7.2% year-to-date compared to last year.

Great Britain recorded the largest rise in sales out of the “Big Five”, with sales up 12.1% in October and 5.0% year-to-date, while Germany also saw a 0.5% increase in sales last month. Sales however declined in the other Big 5 markets, including the Netherlands, where continuing low consumer confidence and high unemployment compounded by the recent increase in VAT have contributed to the continuous decline.

Volkswagen's Golf continues to lead the European new car market in October, as it transitions to the 7th generation model.

The new Peugeot 208 is proving popular with customers across the region, selling in greater numbers than its predecessor, the 207, did a year ago, despite tougher market conditions. Meanwhile the new Fiat Panda is defying market trends in Italy, leading to a 23.9% increase in sales in Europe in October. Sales of the Fiat 500, while outside the Top 10, also rose in October, by 15.4%.

Among the top ten brands, only Audi and Mercedes recorded a sales increase in October, with Audi up 9.8% in October and 5.5% YtD, and Mercedes-Benz, up 3.7% in October and 1.0% YtD. Just outside the top 10, sales of Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and Volvo cars are also growing.

Commenting on the findings, Gareth Hession, vice president, research at JATO, said: ‘The rising sales in Great Britain and Germany show some signs of hope for the European car industry, but the industry must not be complacent. Market conditions are still tough, particularly in southern Europe and the Golf's dominance remains evident for its competitors.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.