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UK props up European car market as sales continue to fall

The UK was the only large market in Europe to post growth in new car sales in Q3.

The UK saw growth of 7.5% in Q3, while overall European new car sales fell by 11.2% in September to 1,132,908 units and by 9.4% in Q3.

According to the latest analysis from JATO Dynamics the considerable sales decreases last month in Germany, France, Italy and Spain (down 10.9%, 17.9%, 25.5% and 40.9% respectively on last year) has brought the overall European total for September to its lowest figure this year.

Brand performance

Although the German market has been under pressure during the last quarter, German brands continue to perform relatively well. BMW and Audi were the only brands in the top 10 to record a sales increase in September, up 9.0% and 0.2% respectively compared to last year, while Audi was the only brand to end Q3 2012 with a sales increase on last year up 6%.

Audi can attribute its positive performance last month to the popularity of its new Q3, A6 and A1 models, while BMW can credit its new offerings (1-Series and 3-Series) with its success last month.
Volkswagen remains the top European brand despite a decrease of 7.6% in Q3 2012 compared to 2011.

Toyota is just outside the top 10 with its 2.7% increase in Q3 sales bolstered by the new Yaris. Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Land Rover and Subaru also recorded strong sales increases in last quarter following the launch of new and revamped models from these brands.

Model performance

The Volkswagen Golf still leads the European market, despite sales for the quarter falling by 17.2% compared to 2011.

Considering the current model is at the end of its lifecycle, with the new model Golf due within weeks, this is an impressive performance. The Ford Fiesta came in second with the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa third.

Toyota’s new Yaris rounds off the top 10 European models in September with an impressive 68.6% increase in sales last month, compared to September 2011.

Outside the top 10 new or revamped models, such as the Hyundai i20, Kia’s Rio and new Cee’d, Honda’s new Civic, Land Rover’s Evoque and Subaru’s new XV, all saw improved sales compared to September 2011.

Gareth Hession, vice president, Research at JATO said: “The European new car market has shown little sign of improvement in the last quarter and September has been the most challenging month so far this year.

“Strong sales in Great Britain, driven by the new registration plate change, did little to lift overall European performance as the unfavourable economic conditions continue to take their toll in most countries.”



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