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Sales up at VW, Peugeot, Renault & Audi despite continued European downturn, says JATO

The company’s latest new car sales analysis shows that the year-to-date downturn in European car sales continues, with a decline of 7.1%. This is despite registrations being up in April with a 2% increase compared to the same month last year.

Within the “Big 5” markets, the UK continued to record increased registrations and both Germany and Spain also experienced an increase in April. The Italian and French markets remain down year-on-year.

JATO also highlighted Finland’s increase in sales of 141.6% in April compared to last year but added that the year-to-date figures remained down 27.8% on 2012. The  company said the dramatic change year-on-year is due to an increase in car tax in April last year that resulted in an artificially high sales volume the previous month. Therefore the dramatic negative shift year-on-year is only reflective of a return to a more expected sales pattern.

Looking at individual brands, five carmakers recorded increased sales in April (Volkswagen, Ford, Opel/Vauxhall, Audi and Mercedes), although Mercedes was the only brand in the top 10 to record an increase in year-to-date sales (2.4% higher than the same period in 2012).

Outside the top 10 the story was similar to March. Dacia, SEAT, Land Rover and Subaru all recorded significant increases in April sales. Subaru reported the highest increase out of these brands, with a 61.6% increase year-on-year.

The Volkswagen Golf continued to be Europe’s best-selling car, increasing year-on-year sales by 17.9% for the month. The Renault Clio recorded an increase in sales in April 2013, compared to April 2012, with the successful introduction of the new shape model, contributing to an increase of 29.0% year-on-year and 17.1% year-to-date.

Four out of the top five best-selling models were B-segment models, with the VW Polo and Peugeot 208 achieving increased sales volumes over April 2012 while the Ford Fiesta experienced a small drop in sales compared to last April.

Commenting on the findings, Gareth Hession, vice president of research at JATO, said: ‘The latest figures show just how much difference having a new product can make, with Volkswagen, Peugeot, Renault and Audi all enjoying increased sales and all but the latter producing one of the top four best-selling models in April.’

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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.