The European new car market was down by 26% in January a loss of 335,364 vehicles to a monthly total of 954,234 units.
David Di Girolamo, head of JATO Consult, said: “Nobody in the industry is surprised at what we’re witnessing across the European market, but the in the cold light of day, the raw figures do paint a very bleak picture.
“There are few high spots to focus on, but we can see that successful new model launches do seem to deliver a very welcome shot in the arm for the market.
“Witness what the new XF has achieved for Jaguar with a 35.5% improvement in sales. It’s a buyers market, so purchasers are looking for the best deals on the best cars.”
Volkswagen was again Europe’s top-selling car brand in January, ahead of Ford, Peugeot, Opel/Vauxhall and Fiat.
The Volkswagen Golf has maintained its stranglehold on the European new car market in January 2009, increasing its share of the market when compared to January 2008 despite lower sales. The Golf led the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 207, Ford Focus, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo, Fiat Panda, Audi A4, Fiat Punto and Renault Clio.
The Ford Fiesta and Audi A4, both having received full model updates during 2008, have bucked the market and recording sales increases of 11.4% and 20.8% respectively.
Other successful models
Other models recording an increase in sales over January 2008 include the new Fiat 500 (up 5.9%), Nissan Qashqai (up 2.8%, additional “+2” versions), Peugeot 107 (up 11.5%), Volkswagen Tiguan (up 62.1%, greater availability) and Honda Jazz (up 28.7%, new model).
As expected given the global economic conditions, all markets across Europe recorded significantly lower new car sales in January 2009 than in January 2008.
The French market has been the least affected by the downturn, with only a 7.9% drop in new car registrations. In contrast, Iceland saw a reduction in registrations of 88.1%.