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European car market holds firm

The European market for new cars grew 5.6% (or 69,183 units) in October 2007 compared to the same month last year, with a total volume of 1,298,704 units.

Year-to-date the total market has increased slightly, with growth of 0.8% (102,541 units) to a total 13,333,615 units, according to figures from JATO, the automotive intelligence company.

Nasir Shah, global business director at JATO, said: “The relatively strong market performance of the last few months is helping to negate the effect of poor registration figures in the early part of the year.

“The net result is that the market has remained fairly static compared to last year.”

Volkswagen was Europe’s top-selling car brand in October (up 1.1%), ahead of Renault, Opel/Vauxhall (up 3.1% in October, 1.1% YTD), Ford (up 4.8% in October, 1.4% YTD) and Peugeot (up 0.3% in October). The order of the top five brands YTD is Volkswagen, Opel/Vauxhall, Ford, Renault and Peugeot.

Other notable performances came from Fiat which posted a sales increase in October (by 9.4%) and a YTD increase of 7.6% due to the recently introduced Bravo, 500 and Linea models. Citroën sales increased by 7.6% in October and 2.5% YTD, thanks largely to strong sales of the C4 Picasso, Grand C4 Picasso and C-Crosser. Toyota registrations rose 2.7% on the YTD.

BMW’s market share increased by a significant 22.5% in October and posted increased sales in almost all markets.

Shah said: “The 1-Series, 3-Series, 5-Series and X5 have all done well, and have contributed to a 3.7% increase in sales year-to-date. More recently, the introduction of the 1-series coupé, and more efficient engines across the model range has further increased the brand’s appeal.”

Mercedes-Benz increased sales by 7.1% in October following the successful introduction of the new C-Class, bringing a YTD sales improvement of 1.5%. Audi sales increased 7.8% in October and 4.1% YTD.

In volume terms, the fastest-growing brands in the first ten months of 2007 are Fiat (up by 57,500 units), Honda (up by over 32,500 units, due to CR-V and Civic), Dacia (up by over 25,000 units) and MINI (up by more than 23,500 units).

In percentage growth terms, the fastest growing volume brands over the same period are Dodge (up 136%) due to an expanded range including Caliber, Avenger and Nitro, Dacia (up 71.9%) and Daihatsu, which is up 34.2% due to the introduction of the new Materia and the revised Sirion.

The Volkswagen Golf was Europe’s top-selling new car in October 2007 with 40,370 units sold (up 20.9%), ahead of the Peugeot 207 with 39,230 units sold (up 25.1%), Opel/Vauxhall Corsa with 31,192 units sold (up 37.5%), Renault Clio (31,016 units), Opel/Vauxhall Astra (29,937 units), Ford Focus (29,235 units), Fiat Punto (28,766 units), Ford Fiesta (25,032 units), Volkswagen Passat (24,987 units) and Volkswagen Polo with 24,925 units sold (up 1.5%).

The top sellers year-to-date were the Peugeot 207, Volkswagen Golf (up 2.7%), Ford Focus, Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa (up 49.3%), Fiat Punto, Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta (up 0.8%), Volkswagen Passat and BMW 3-Series (up 4.8%).

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