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European new car market dips in January

The European market for new cars is down by 1.7% (21,713 units) in January compared to the same month last year, with a total of 1,272,243 units sold.

The figures come from JATO Dynamics, the automotive data supplier, and show Volkswagen maintaining its position as Europe’s top selling car brand with 127,350 units sold, 4.9% higher than January 2007. Ford, Opel/Vauxhall, Renault and Fiat complete the top five places.

Nasir Shah, global business development director for JATO, said: “January tends to be a slow sales month in Europe, so it’ll take a few more weeks to see how 2008 is shaping up.

“Now that the German market has recovered at least from last year’s VAT depression we should see it make a far greater contribution to European volumes this year. We are already seeing a resurgence of the German brands as a result.”

Shah said Fiat’s sales performance was of particular note.

He said: “This is the first time we have seen Fiat in the top five for some time. “This is a major turn-around, and with sales 5.6% higher than a year ago they are demonstrating significant growth. With the immediate success of the new 500 model, it is likely that Fiat will consolidate its position as the year progresses.”

Nissan is also notable for its 46.1% increase in sales over January 2007, a success that has largely been driven by continued demand for the Qashqai model.

The Volkswagen Golf was Europe’s top-selling new car in January with 39,887 units sold (up 31.4%) ahead of the Peugeot 207 (37,506 units, up 9.2%), Ford Focus (33,884 units), Opel/Vauxhall Corsa (32,688 units), Fiat Punto (30,293 units), Renault Clio (29,859 units), Ford Fiesta (28,673 units), Opel/Vauxhall Astra (28,391 units), Volkswagen Polo (22,498 units, up 2.2%) and Fiat Panda (21,858 units).

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