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European new car market drops by 9.5% in February

The European new car market fell by 9.5% in February to 925,987 units.

Statistics from JATO Dynamics, the automotive intelligence provider, believes continued economic uncertainty has continued to keep customers out of showrooms across Europe.

Within the top 10 brands by volume, Renault suffered the largest fall in sales but manages to remain in the top three behind Volkswagen and Ford.

Mercedes is the only top 10 brand to record an improvement, primarily benefitting from an increase in sales of its B-Class and C-Class models to achieve sales 8.6% higher than last year for February and up 8.5% YtD.

Outside the top 10, the picture is similar to January, with Lexus, Kia and Land Rover significantly increasing their sales due to the launch of new vehicles. Jeep also performs strongly (up 55.1% in February and 57.7% YtD), the brand benefiting from the new Grand Cherokee and revised Compass models.

Volkswagen’s Golf and Polo models retain first and second place for best-selling cars across Europe in February, despite a reduction in sales for both during the month.

Ford’s Focus continues to perform well, achieving a 20.1% increase in sales in February, and 12.8% YtD – particularly surprising as much of this sales growth comes from the declining market in France. Fiat’s new Panda records a 2.6% fall in sales, but re-claims a place in the top 10 models by volume.

Gareth Hession, vice president, research at JATO, said: “What is clear is that maintaining investment in new models across all segments is critical despite the tough economic climate, evidenced by the success of vehicles like the Kia Rio, Range Rover Evoque and Audi A6, which are all performing well across the region.”

Download the full JATO Dynamics figures for February 2012

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