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European new car registrations boom in 2016 - SUVs at record high

Europe from space at night

Car manufacturers enjoyed the second highest sales in Europe in 2016, with SUV registrations at an all-time high.

New car registrations for the year totalled 15.14 million units, a 6.5% increase on 2015.

This is the second highest volume seen since 2007 when total registrations exceeded 16m units.

SUV registrations grew 21.4% - increasing from 3.2m units registered in 2015 to 3.9m last year.

In contrast, traditional segments grew by just 2.2% with European consumer preferences shifting further towards SUVs, and away from hatchbacks, saloons, estates and MPVs.

SUVs accounted for more than a quarter of total registrations at 25.6%, an increase in market share of 3.1% when compared to 2015.

In contrast, MPVs lost 0.9%, with its market share falling to 9.5%, whilst subcompacts lost 0.8% and accounted for 21.2% of the market.

“2016 was a great year for the industry, with the second highest volume of registrations since 2007. European car registrations have shown good momentum, with 27 out of 29 markets in Europe recording positive growth last year, and 14 of those markets posting double-digit increases.

“Car makers are now better prepared to face the challenging times ahead,” said Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global automotive analyst.

Brand performance

Volkswagen Group maintained its lead of the market, and despite 2016 being one of its most challenging years ever - the German car maker still managed to increase its registrations by 3.3%.

The overall market grew by 6.5%, meaning that Volkswagen Group’s market share fell from 24.8% in 2015 to 24.0% last year.

This was the highest market share decrease of all car groups.

In contrast, FCA, Daimler, Renault-Nissan and Tata Group all increased their market share, thanks to their wider SUV ranges and the increase in sales seen in Southern European markets.

Regarding the performance of brands in 2016, Munoz said “The challenges seen by VW benefitted mainstream brands such as Renault and Fiat.

“The premium brands also performed very well, increasing their market share by almost 1 percentage point from 23.0% in 2015 to 23.8% last year.”

Brand performance figures

Euro new car sales in 2016 - brands


























Model performance

The Golf maintained its lead but lost ground in the model ranking.

The Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Renault Captur, Fiat Panda, VW Tiguan and Peugeot 2008 also performed well. The highest market share gains were posted by the Hyundai Tucson, Renault Kadjar and Fiat Tipo.

Model performance figures

Euro new car sales 2016 - models

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