Small SUVs such as Renaults Captur are popular in Europe right now

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.

Top 10 Brands





Make Apr_14 Apr_13 % change Apr YtD_14 YtD_13 % change YtD
VOLKSWAGEN 146099 146942 -0.60% 539217 525715 2.60%
FORD 86058 79972 7.60% 339210 308517 9.90%
RENAULT 75479 69249 9.00% 291273 263471 10.60%
OPEL/VAUXHALL 72841 68200 6.80% 298421 277031 7.70%
PEUGEOT 69880 65660 6.40% 277846 255539 8.70%
AUDI 67564 67036 0.80% 252436 237204 6.40%
MERCEDES 57646 56796 1.50% 215677 208518 3.40%
BMW 56241 54430 3.30% 225260 213196 5.70%
CITROEN 55820 53669 4.00% 219202 210238 4.30%
FIAT 54125 52805 2.50% 211639 206870 2.30%
Source JATO





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.

Top 10 Models





Make & Model Apr_14 Apr_13 % change Apr YtD_14 YtD_13 % change YtD
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 49653 43049 15.30% 179428 155472 15.40%
FORD FIESTA 28421 23456 21.20% 114027 101219 12.70%
RENAULT CLIO 26231 26063 0.60% 100688 101412 -0.70%
VOLKSWAGEN POLO 23442 25500 -8.10% 96888 94387 2.60%
OPEL/VAUXHALL CORSA 20326 19752 2.90% 85214 83306 2.30%
FORD FOCUS 20179 18660 8.10% 81311 79924 1.70%
NISSAN QASHQAI 19535 16052 21.70% 73406 77938 -5.80%
PEUGEOT 208 19485 24011 -18.80% 81968 90959 -9.90%
AUDI A3/S3/RS3 18880 16859 12.00% 68895 49999 37.80%
SKODA OCTAVIA 17693 12192 45.10% 69328 49612 39.70%
Source JATO