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European market shows signs of recovery in September

The European new car market made impressive progress in September with an overall increase in registrations of new cars of 5.6% for the month compared with September 2012 - the largest single monthly increase seen so far in 2013.

The UK led the way in Europe both monthly (up 12.1%) and year-to-date (10.8%) registration increases.

Also making significant progress out of the ‘Big Five’ (Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK) was Spain, where monthly sales increased by 30.7% from September last year. Compared with the same period in 2012, Spain now has just a 1.1% deficit in year-to-date sales.

Overall, the European new car market is now just 3.9% behind figures from this stage in 2012. France, Germany and the Netherlands all have some of the largest decreases in sales volumes in Europe; however all have either reduced the rate of reduction or, in the case of France, increased monthly sales performance during September.

Manufacturer performance

Manufacturers had a good month with Peugeot and Citroen the only two of Europe’s top 10 who did not increase registrations in Europe in September, year-on-year. Also within the monthly top 10, only Mercedes and BMW have seen an increase in registrations year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2012.

Renault, who finished fourth in both the monthly and year-to-date top 10, recorded the largest increase in volume, up by 10,444 (16.8%) for the month. The successful launch of the new Captur crossover and strong registrations of the Clio have contributed to this result.

Market leaders Volkswagen continued to dominate European registration figures, increasing monthly performance by 1.6% on September 2012. So far this year, the manufacturer has registered 1,164,131 vehicles, down 6.8% on the same period in 2012, but still selling 64.2% more volume than the next closest brand.

Model performance

The Volkswagen Golf also continues to lead the monthly top 10 models table, with increases of 17.4% for the month and 2.1% year-to-date compared with 2012, securing the model’s strong lead.

Behind the Golf are three B-segment models, including the Renault Clio, finishing third year-to-date and fourth in monthly top 10. The Clio recorded the largest percentage increase (28.8%) in the top 10 for both these periods.

It was also a strong September for the BMW 3 Series. Finishing the month in seventh for the month and ninth for year-to-date, it was the only model outside the volume B- and C-segments to appear in the top 10.

Gareth Hession, vice president of research at JATO Dynamics, said: “September’s results should be something for the European car market to celebrate. The fact that the deficit in year-to-date figures is the smallest we’ve seen this year is encouraging.

"Similarly, September saw the largest single monthly increase of 2013 so far. Although it is still too early to tell whether this signals the start of long-term improvement for the industry, our latest analysis shows there are certainly grounds for optimism.”

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