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European new car market continues return to health

Demand for new cars continues to grow in Europe, with year-on-year sales increasing for an eighth consecutive month.

At the end of April volumes were up 4.2% on 2013, and year-to-date volumes were 6.6% higher than the same period last year, according to JATO Dynamics.


* Nine of the top 10 brands record year-on-year sales increases for April
* Renault has mounted a strong recovery in 2014 with year-to-date sales 10.6% higher than last year
* There is strong demand for the two best-selling cars in Europe this year – the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Fiesta, resulting in double-digit year-to-date growth for both models

Of the 30 European countries analysed 21 recorded a year-on-year increase in new car sales for April.

In 11 of these countries growth was in excess of 10%.

Amongst the ‘big five’ markets, performance was particularly strong in Spain (+29.4%) and the UK (+8.2%).

The 3.6% decrease seen in Germany, JATO suggests could be the fewer sales days available during April (due to a number of bank holidays) rather than any underlying fall in demand. 

Germany was the only ‘big five’ market that failed to record sales growth for April as volumes grew in both France (+5.8%) and Italy (+2.1%).

Year-to-date performance across Europe was even more impressive, with 25 out of 30 markets growing over the first four months of 2014 compared to the same period last year.

Of these countries, 14 have seen double-digit growth in sales so far this year.

With close to flat growth recorded in Austria and Belgium, only three countries have seen a significant reduction in year-to-date sales compared to 2013. One of those countries, the Netherlands, has been affected by a tax change at the start of the year that shifted sales to late 2013.

With this taken into account, Serbia and Switzerland are the only markets where underlying demand has fallen so far this year.

European monthly sales volumes year-on-year comparison

Brand analysis

Volkswagen retains its position as the top European brand despite a 0.6% fall in year-on-year sales for April.

The other brands in the top 10 increased their year-on-year sales for the month.

Second-place Ford and third-placed Renault both posted sales increases of 7.6% and 9.0% respectively, with Opel/Vauxhall (+6.8%) dropping to fourth place as a result.

Strong sales of the Renault Captur have helped Renault’s sales recover in 2014, with year-to-date sales growth of 10.6% across its range. Volumes for all the top 10 brands have seen year-to-date growth for the first four months of 2014.

Outside of the top 10 brands, Dacia (+32.2%) and Skoda (+22.0%) continued their strong performance with impressive year-on-year growth. Nissan and Mazda also saw strong growth with year-on-year increases of 21.1% and 20.4% respectively.

Top 10 brands


Top 10 models

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