European new car sales rose 2.5% or 22,823 units year on year last month to 920,498 units.

According to UK-based analyst Jato Dynamics, eben though August is traditionally a slow month in Europe, sales still grew at the same level as the previous month and year to date sales are up 0.5% (51,717 units) to 10,627,879 units.

Brands

Despite a year on year fall in August, Volkswagen remained Europe's top-selling car brand last month, ahead of General Motors Europe's Opel/Vauxhall (up 6.3% in August and 0.3% YTD), Ford (+1.4% YTD), Renault and Peugeot (both +0.1% YTD). The order of brand performance reflected the order of the top five brands year-to-date.

"The fact that sales have continued to grow during this period reflects the strength of the current European new car market," said Jato's global business director Nasir Shah.

"The Golf continues to be a key player for the Volkswagen marque this year, whilst the Astra and Corsa models remain an equally important source of growth for Opel/Vauxhall."

"However, Toyota is one of the most noticeable performers thanks to the new Auris, and a continued upward trend in sales for the Prius reflects the increasing concern about the environment. The C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso models are still in popular demand which allowed Citroen to increase its year to date sales by 1.9%," added Shah.

The introduction of the new Fiat Bravo and 500 models continued to bolster the recovering Italian automaker's sales as it posted a rise 9.8% rise in August (+7.6% YTD). Mercedes followed a similar trend helped by the launch of the redesigned C-class sedan. Its August sales were up 7.7% for the month  but just 0.2% YTD. The addition of the C-class wagon line this month should give the brand a further boost.

Models

The Volkswagen Golf overtook the Peugeot 207 as Europe's top-selling new car in August 2007 with 27,704 units sold (+13.3%), ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Astra (23,240 units), 207 (22,701 units, +31.2%), Opel/Vauxhall Corsa (21,122 units, +32.9%), Renault Clio (20,062 units), Ford Focus (19,530 units), Volkswagen Polo (18,771 units, +7.9%), Ford Fiesta (18,433 units, +0.7%), Volkswagen Passat (17,746 units), and Fiat Punto (17,094).

Year-to-Date, the top sellers were the 207, Focus, Golf (+1.0%), Astra, Corsa (+49.0% due to the ongoing rollout of redesigned models), Punto, Clio, Fiesta (+2.8%), Passat and BMW 3-series (+7.1%).

New models to the market that have also enjoyed notable success in the European market during August include the Nissan Qashqai, Fiat Bravo, Kia Cee'd, Hyundai i30, Fiat 500, Opel/Vauxhall Antara, Skoda Roomster, Chevrolet Captiva, Audi A5/S5, and Volvo C30.

Models posting significantly increased sales following a full redesign include the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Twingo (available with right hand drive for the first time), Smart Fortwo, Ford Mondeo, BMW X5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Honda CR-V, Audi TT and Mini. The Dacia Logan, Seat Altea and BMW 1-series also benefited from the addition of new versions that widened their appeal.

Markets

Eastern Europe markets continued to lead the charge in terms of growth with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia recording significant increases during August while Poland continued its recovery with YTD volumes up 25.7% over 2006. Cyprus was also worth noting with volume up 30% in August and 23% YTD.

Germany continued to struggle with August registrations 2.2% lower, a stronger performance than in the early months of the year, but YTD sales were off 7.6%.

Austria and Denmark are also facing harder times compared to last year - August and YTD sales were down 3.8% and 4.5% respectively.

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