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Premium brands shine in weakening European market

The European new car market decreased by 5.3% in August compared to 2012 and remains down 5.2% so far this year.

Four of the five biggest markets (UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and France) were down for both the month and year-to-date sales figures and over two thirds of the 30 markets analysed reporting a decrease in year-to-date sales compared to 2012, with 19 markets posting decreases in August.

Premium brands performed well, with Audi, Mercedes and BMW holding strong positions in the monthly top 10

Top 10 brands







According to the latest new car sales analysis from JATO Dynamics, BMW achieved an increase of 9.3% in August compared to 2012, with the 3-Series finishing fourth in the top 10, outselling the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208.

Volkswagen continued to lead both the manufacturer and model top 10 tables for the month and year-to-date.

Of the five biggest markets, Spain posted the largest decrease for the month of August, down 23.0% on 2012, and France for year-to-date, down 9.8% on the same period in 2012.

This compares to the UK which saw increases for both August and year-to-date, increasing sales by 10.9% and 10.4% respectively compared to 2012.

Of the top 10 manufacturers, only three brands posted an increase for August; Renault were up 0.8%, Mercedes 5.9% and BMW 9.3% compared to 2012; only one however, Mercedes, posted an increase for the year-to-date, up 3.9% over the same period in 2012.

Nine of the top 10 manufacturers have posted a decrease in sales for the year-to-date; even market leaders Volkswagen weren’t exempt from the overall downturn.

BMW, however, saw only a nominal decrease in year-to-date figures; selling only 502 fewer cars, this equated to a mere 0.1% decrease on the same period in 2012.

Also performing well in August was Audi; even with decreases for the month and year-to-date (down 6.7% and 3.6% respectively), the premium brand finished in second place in the monthly top 10. The last time Audi reached this position was August 2012.

With an increase of 47.0% over 2012, the BMW 3-Series reached fourth place in the monthly European models table, selling more units than popular models like the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208 in August.

So far in 2013, BMW has sold 19.6% more 3-Series’ than in same period in 2012.

This increase in sales can be attributed to new Touring (estate) and GT (hatchback) versions of the 3-Series which have sold well (especially in Germany), taking market share from competitors.

Also enjoying success for both the month and the year-to-date is the Audi A3 (including S3 and RS3 variants), which finished the monthly European sales table in sixth with an increase of 42.1%.

The Renault Clio finished second in both monthly and year-to-date tables, with increases of 13.1% for the month and 19.0% year-to-date compared to the same periods in 2012.

Remaining dominant however is the Volkswagen Golf; sales of the model dipped slightly in August resulting a 6.5% decrease for the month, but remain strong overall, up by 0.1% year-to-date.

Top 10 models






Percentage changes for the Peugeot 208 are not representative due to the new model’s
introduction in 2012 and have therefore been removed from the table 

Gareth Hession, vice president of research at JATO Dynamics, said: “August’s results demonstrate the popularity of premium brands, with Audi finishing the month in second position, while Mercedes was the only manufacturer to post increases for both the month and year-to-date.

"BMW is enjoying success too; new variants of the 3-Series have elevated the model to fourth place with an increase of almost fifty per cent over 2012, outselling popular models like the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208.

"Although the overall market continues to decline, it is clear consumers are still prepared to pay for premium brands.”

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