The central and eastern European market for new cars dropped by 31.8% year on year (100,526 units) in the first quarter of 2009.

"Although the region is overshadowed by western Europe in volumes terms, the region has enjoyed enormous growth over the last couple of years as many markets joined the EU," said David Di Girolamo, head of Jato Consult, which analysed the data.

"The car market crash has clearly been felt very hard there, with some markets down by as much 74% compared to last year. By any standards, to lose up to three quarters of vehicle sales in only 12 months is an enormous adjustment."

Brands

Skoda dominated as the region's favourite car brand, selling 25,012 units in Q1, a drop of 34.5% year on year. Volkswagen was second (down 29.9%) followed by Ford (down 23.9%), Opel (down 37.4%) and Renault (down 30.2%). The only highlight of the top 10 brands was Hyundai, which managed to sell 43 more units compared to last year, up just 0.4%.

Top Models

The D segment Skoda Octavia was the region's best selling model though the 11,900 units sold in Q1 were down 26.5% year on year.

The snaller C-segment Skoda Fabia was the region's second favourite choice (down 45.8%), followed by the Opel Astra (down 31.4% with a full redesign due later this year), the Dacia Logan (down 69.5%) and the Ford Focus (down 34.5%). None of the top 10 models saw an increase in sales during the period.

By region

Like the top models on sale in the region, no individual market managed to escape the economic downturn and drop in demand for new cars.

Poland remained the biggest market by a large margin, with 76,040 units sold in Q1 (down 9.2%), well ahead of the Czech Republic with 36,820 units (down 13.9%). Romania (down 56.0%), Hungary (down 43.5%) and Slovenia (down 22.1%).

Latvia was the biggest loser in percentage terms, down a staggering 74.7%. Romania saw the biggest volume drop in the region, down 37,747 units in Q1.

Top 10 brands

Make

Q1 2009

Q1 2008

Diff

% Change

SKODA

25,012

38,183

-13,171

-34.49%

VOLKSWAGEN

16,796

23,975

-7,179

-29.94%

FORD

16,792

22,070

-5,278

-23.91%

OPEL

16,096

25,691

-9,595

-37.35%

RENAULT

14,670

21,014

-6,344

-30.19%

TOYOTA

12,445

21,565

-9,120

-42.29%

FIAT

11,884

14,357

-2,473

-17.23%

HYUNDAI

10,484

10,441

43

0.41%

PEUGEOT

10,435

15,089

-4,654

-30.84%

DACIA

9,642

21,449

-11,807

-55.05%

Top 10 models

Model

Q1 2009

Q1 2008

Diff

% Change

SKODA OCTAVIA

11,900

16,195

-4,295

-26.52%

SKODA FABIA

9,628

17,769

-8,141

-45.82%

OPEL ASTRA

6,984

10,173

-3,189

-31.35%

DACIA LOGAN

6,546

21,449

-14,903

-69.48%

FORD FOCUS

5,422

8,275

-2,853

-34.48%

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

5,231

5,972

-741

-12.41%

KIA CEED

4,949

6,287

-1,338

-21.28%

FIAT PUNTO

4,497

4,766

-269

-5.64%

RENAULT CLIO

4,266

7,836

-3,570

-45.56%

OPEL CORSA

4,137

6,227

-2,090

-33.56%

Regional Summary

Country

Q1 2009

Q1 2008

Diff

% Change

Poland

76,040

83,752

-7,712

-9.21%

Czech Republic

36,820

42,741

-5,921

-13.85%

Romania

29,676

67,423

-37,747

-55.99%

Hungary

22,380

39,621

-17,241

-43.51%

Slovenia

14,648

18,799

-4,151

-22.08%

Croatia

12,740

21,858

-9,118

-41.71%

Slovakia

12,647

15,667

-3,020

-19.28%

Cyprus

4,397

5,898

-1,501

-25.45%

Estonia

2,704

7,435

-4,731

-63.63%

Lithuania

1,928

6,837

-4,909

-71.80%

Latvia

1,515

5,990

-4,475

-74.71%

Grand Total

215,495

316,021

100,526

-31.81%