UK: Europe sales off 5.3% last month
Economic uncertainty across Europe is continuing to influence the car market as new vehicle sales dropped 5.3% year on year in July to 1,259,130 units, London-based analysts Jato Dynamics said on Monday.
European sales of new vehicles were down 2.5% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2007, with 9,475,111 units sold so far in 2008.
Jato spokesman Nasir Shah said: "Most countries are feeling the pinch as a combination of high fuel prices and economic uncertainty across Europe filter down to the consumer.
"Yet while markets, including the UK and Spain, show negative growth, central and eastern Europe have reported healthy sales virtually across the board, and we expect Europe's heavyweights to continue to perform well in these markets.
"There is cause for optimism in western Europe as well as new models defy overall trends by posting healthy sales."
Volkswagen continued its dominance in the Europe, retaining its position as the region's top selling brand in both July and YTD. Ford, Opel / Vauxhall, Renault and Peugeot completed the top five.
Sixth-placed Fiat continued to buck the overall market trend, and that in its home market of Italy, by recording sales up by 0.4% in July and 2.6% YTD.
BMW (up 3.8% in July and 5.9% YTD), Audi (up 3.6% in July) and Skoda (up 0.8% in both July and YTD) also performed well given the market conditions.
Nissan has stormed ahead in 2008, boosting sales 23.5% or 43,462 units to 228,643, and the brand's July performance (30,092 units, up 3,274 units or 12.2%) was also impressive.
Mazda has also done well, with July sales up by 3,473 units (20.4%) to 20,514 and YTD sales of 160,687 units up by 13,585 units (9.2%).
Other significant increases were achieved by Smart (up 33.1% YTD), Dacia (up 45.5% in July, up 38.0% Yd), Daihatsu (up 10.6% YTD), Subaru (up 37.7% in July, up 10.6% YTD) and Jaguar (up 36.5% in July, up 16.5% YTD).
Model by model
VW Golf sales (in its swansong year; redesigned model sales start in October) were up 4.6% compared to the same period in 2007, thanks in part to a robust performance in Germany where registrations last month grew 34.5% year on year.
July was the fourth consecutive month in which the Golf has led the European market, and the fifth month this year. It has held the YTD top spot since January.
The Peugeot 207, Ford Focus, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and the Opel/Vauxhall Astra followed, while the Audi A4 broke into the European top 10 as it full range of new models, including the Avant, became available. The A4 sold 27,767 units in July 2008, an improvement of 42.5% over the same period in 2007. Audi has a revised A6 with more efficient, lower CO2 engines in the pipeline, too.
Year-to-date, the Golf (up 15.8%) again led from the 207 (up 1.3%), Focus, Corsa, Clio, Astra, Fiesta, Punto, Polo and BMW 3-series.
The overall European new car market's fall in July was caused by significant drops in Spain, Italy and Britain, with Ireland and Sweden also contributing to the YTD fall.
Denmark saw tax changes introduced at the beginning of July. The market had been depressed in previous months, as customers waited for the change to take effect, and the pent-up demand led to July registrations that were almost 2.5 times those achieved in July 2007 while YTD registrations were 28.5% higher than a year ago.
Ireland also introduced new taxes in July, leading to an increase in sales over the same month last year, but YTD registrations remained lower than a year earlier.
Recent Jato data suggested tax incentives can have a significant impact in persuading car purchasers to choose vehicles with lower CO2 emissions. The eventual effect of these new changes has yet to be determined.
The French market fell slightly in July, as the markets started to settle after tax changes in January. YYD registrations remained higher than last year while the German market continued to grow slowly.
Many of the major markets in central and eastern Europe continued to record significant growth, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Top Ten Brands
|Make||Jul_08||Jul_07||% Change July||Jul YtD_08||Jul YtD_07||% Change YtD|
Top Ten Models
|Make & Model||Jul_08||Jul_07||% Change July||Jul YtD_08||Jul YtD_07||% Change YtD|
Volumes by Market
|Country||Jul_08||Jul_07||% Change July||Jul YtD_08||Jul YtD_07||% Change YtD|
Tables: Jato Dynamics