Small SUVs such as Renault's Captur are popular in Europe right now
In European car sales data released by market analysts JATO, Renault emerged as a winner with sales so far this year up 10.6% on last year, helped by strong sales of the Captur small SUV.
JATO's data confirmed earlier data from LMC and ACEA that showed continued recovery in the European car market. April market the eighth successive month of growth and year-to-date sales to the end of April were 6.6% higher than the same period last year.
Gareth Hession, Vice President of Research at JATO Dynamics, was upbeat on short-term market prospects. "April was another strong month for the European car market, building on the great start made in the first quarter. Four months into the year and almost half of the 30 countries we analyse are showing double-digit growth for the year," he said. "With the German market expected to bounce back after its Easter lull, we think this positive performance will continue for the rest of the second quarter."
According to JATO's data Volkswagen retains its position as the top European brand despite a 0.6% fall in year-on-year sales for April. Meanwhile, the other brands in the top 10 increased their year-on-year sales for the month. Second-placed Ford and third-placed Renault both posted impressive 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.
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The Volkswagen Golf maintained its sizeable lead as the best selling car in Europe thanks to year-on-year growth of 15.3% for April. The Ford Fiesta posted an even bigger increase of 21.2%, helping it hold on to second place, while the Renault Clio, Volkswagen Polo and Opel/Vauxhall Corsa complete the top 5. The Skoda Octavia recorded a large year-on-year increase of 45.1% to claim tenth spot in the top 10, replacing the Fiat 500.
Overall, six of the top 10 models have recorded positive growth for April and year-to-date. Year-to-date performance has been particularly strong for the Skoda Octavia (+39.7%) and the Audi A3/S3/RS3 series (+37.8%).
Peugeot's new 2008 was one of the top performers outside the top 10. Having only recently been introduced, consumers appear to be choosing it over the 208, JATO said, which would explain the 18.8% fall in sales for this model compared to April 2013. The Citroen C3, Seat Leon and Fiat 500L were amongst the other models that recorded strong growth for the month.
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