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Sales of used cars in western Europe grow

The number of used cars sold in western Europe totalled close to 22 million in the first 9 months of 2004, 1 million up on those over the same period in 2003.

According to research from independent market analyst Datamonitor, this equates to a 4% increase on 2003 levels. Datamonitor's "Used Car Tracking 2004 (Q3)," research reveals that sales of used cars in Italy showed the strongest growth with 22% increase on 2003 levels.

However, those of the Netherlands and Germany in 2004 declined by 4% and 3% respectively.

Whilst the overall ratio between used and new car sales in the first 9 months of 2004 compared to the same period in 2003 decreased in the UK, Belgium and Germany, they showed an increase in Italy, France, and the Netherlands.

According to Datamonitor's research, Smart and Mini were Europe's top sellers, with 2004 used car sales volumes up 52% and 38% respectively on 2003 Q3 levels.

Renault continues to be the leading brand in western Europe accounting for 11.5% share of the market.

The six leading manufacturers - Renault, Ford, Opel, Volkswagen, Peugeot and Fiat, held 60% share of the overall used car market market in 2003. This however showed a slight decline in the first nine months of 2004.

In terms of used car sales channels, private sales accounted for largest share with 46%. The second largest channel was franchised dealers, with 35% of the market.

Cars over five years old accounted for the largest proportion of the European used car market in the first 9 months of 2004 with 57% share. Volume sales of used cars less than 1 year old increased 3.6% over the period January to September 2003-2004.

Across all seven western European countries, the multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) sector, for example Renault Espace, Renault Scenic, Volkswagen Sharan and Mercedes A-Class, showed significant growth with an average rate of almost 27% in the first nine months of 2004.

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