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Western European new car market weakens slightly in July

Western European new car sales fell in July by 1.16% with 1,244,822 units sold, according to data from JATO Dynamics.

The year-to-date (YTD) volume was recorded at 9,218,594 units - 0.42% less than the same period last year.

UK volumes were down by 6.6% on last year.

Volkswagen moved into first place in the Western European new car sales ranking for July, with a 1.1% increase in sales (to 125,558 units) compared to July 2004. Renault maintained its YTD sales lead (915,554 units January to July), ahead of Volkswagen, Opel/Vauxhall (up 0.7%), Ford and Peugeot.

Outside the Top 10, Kia continues to be the fastest-growing volume brand, with July registrations up 48.8%, and YTD total up 63.8% (to 139,093 units). Other brands posting strong increases in July were Land Rover (22.6%), BMW (19.1%), Honda (10.8%) and Mercedes-Benz (10.7%).

Of the top 10 best-selling models, the new Ford Focus showed the greatest increase in sales in July - up 11.2%. The Volkswagen Golf, with sales of 46,282 units, remained Western Europe’s best-selling car in July, ahead of the Focus (39,112 units), Opel/Vauxhall Astra (38,009 units), Peugeot 206 (33,429 units) and Peugeot 307 (30,789 units). YTD, the Golf (310,232 units) again leads, from the Astra (298,893 units, up 43.7%) and the Focus (260,597 units, up 1.6%).

The surge in sales of lower medium cars (up 7.4% to 2,329,325 units YTD) saw the segment increase its share of the market by nearly 2%, to 25.4% of the total market. SUVs also continued to sell strongly (up 11% to 580,181 units YTD), taking just under 7% of the new car market in Western Europe. In contrast, sales of small segment cars fell 5.2% to 2,681,887 units YTD. The luxury and MPV segments were down at approximately 15% YTD.

In the mini segment, the Fiat Panda (up 12.6%) led the segment in July, ahead of the Kia Picanto (up 67.6%) and Smart Fortwo. July saw the segment grow by 6.7% but YTD sales (479,050 units) still lag 4.7% behind last year. Small car registrations fell 4.1% in July. Peugeot's 206 was the top seller in July, ahead of the Ford Fiesta and the facelifted Volkswagen Polo (up 1.7%).

YTD sales of premium-compact lower medium cars leaped by 92,367 units (45.8%), led by Audi's A3 from the BMW 1-Series and Alfa Romeo 147. Toyota's Prius hybrid, in fourth place, recorded sales increases of 98.9% in July and 161% YTD. Volkswagen's Golf led YTD registrations from Opel/Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus.

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