New car sales in Europe were 8.9% higher in the first three months of 2015 than in the same period last year and have grown for seven consecutive months.
Sales in March were 11.1% higher than a year earlier, according to the latest analysis from automotive intelligence provider JATO Dynamics.
> Volkswagen’s Golf maintained its lead, with sales up by 2.9% year-to-date, with Ford’s Fiesta in second place
> Spain recorded a remarkable 41.1% increase in registrations over March 2014
> Jeep’s new Renegade and Cherokee models drive a trebling of Q1 volumes
All of Europe’s five biggest car markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) recorded increased volumes in each month of the year
so far, with particularly large increases in units registered in March 2015 compared to March 2014.
Spain recorded an increase of more than 33,000 units, or 41.1% thanks to an improving economy, continued scrappage incentives supporting private
purchases, and a strong rental sector anticipating high demand for hire cars over the Easter and summer periods.
Other strong performances in March came from Poland (up by 35.6%), Ireland (up by 33.2%, due to improved consumer confidence, and lower vehicle and
fuel prices in real terms), the Czech Republic (a significant increase in previously postponed purchases by businesses which are now renewing their
fleet in an improving economy) and Latvia (up by 25.7%).
Brian Walters, vice president of data at JATO Dynamics, said: “The European new car market has now been growing for seven consecutive quarters,
demonstrating strong consumer confidence in the motor industry and the vehicles it produces.”
European monthly sales volumes year-on-year
Volkswagen remains the market-leading brand, with an increase in sales of 10.8% in Q1. Ford reclaimed second place by leading the traditionally strong
March market in the UK.
Renault holds third place for the quarter after high sales in January and February, while Opel/Vauxhall’s market share in the UK allowed it to claim
third place for the month of March.
All of the top 10 brands have recorded increased sales for the quarter.
Nissan’s 25.7% increase in volume in Q1 was the greatest of the top 10 brands, and can be attributed to the introductions of the new Pulsar medium
hatchback and new generations of the Qashqai and X-Trail crossover models during 2014.
Beyond the top 10 brands, new Renegade and Cherokee models drove a trebling of Q1 sales over last year for Jeep.
Top 10 brands
The Volkswagen Golf retained its lead of the market, increasing sales by 2.9% in Q1. The Ford Fiesta was second place for the quarter, thanks to
market-leading sales in the UK, ahead of the Renault Clio.
Nissan’s Qashqai and Opel/Vauxhall’s Corsa ended Q1 with volumes more than 20% higher than the same period of 2014, following the introduction of new generations of both models.
Outside the top 10, Mini increased sales by 99% following the introduction of the latest hatchback with the addition of 5-door versions, while new
generations of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Peugeot 308 and Volkswagen Passat all delivered sales increases of around 40%.
"New products are finding strong demand, while the increased total market also means greater sales of the many longer-standing models that remain
competitive and desirable in this complex market,” said Walters.
Top 10 models