Sales of the Peugeot 207 increased dramatically during April, catapulting the model from fifth to top-selling car in Europe.

According to Jato Dynamics, 207 sales soared 373.2% year on year, from 7,874 units to 37,260 in 2007. This was due to limited availability of the model during 2006, its introductory year.

The 207 – with 152,638 sold year to date, is now comfortably ahead of other relatively new models such as Fiat’s Punto (150,035) GM Europe’s Opel/Vauxhall Corsa (148,339), the older Ford Focus (146,555) and the Renault Clio (145,147). The perennial European favourite, the VW Golf is next at 137,190. All bar the Corsa posted slight year on year falls in volume.

Jato said European new car sales fell 1.8% (22,742 units) during April while year to date volume was off 0.9% (51,760) to 5,418,041 units.

Volkswagen nonetheless remains at the top of the table as Europe’s best selling car brand during 2007, although new car sales of 133,857 units in April represent a 3,301 unit decrease on the same month last year for the brand. Renault also remains in second position, followed by Opel/Vauxhall and Ford, which recorded a 0.6% rise during April and increase of 1.8% year-to-date.

Peugeot saw new car sales rise by 1.3% in April thanks to the booming 207 which helped maintain its position as the fifth best performing brand throughout Europe.

Other brands that recorded a rise in sales last month (April) were Fiat, Toyota, Audi, Skoda, Honda, Suzuki, Volvo and KIA, largely due to new models entering the market.

Despite the slump in its new car market, Germany recorded the highest sales in April with 264,871 units sold. This is a significant change in fortunes for a market which has suffered due to tax changes in recent months. Italy took second place with 206,743 units, France was third with 172,754, Great Britain in fourth place with 170,163 and Spain in fifth position with 121,359 new car units sold.

The Renault Clio also made a significant hike from eighth position to second, the Golf from seventh to third, the Punto from sixth to fourth, the Focus from first to fifth, and VW’s Passat from 10th to ninth. The arrival of the Renault Scénic / Grand Scénic at tenth position pushed BMW‘s 3 series out of the top 10 last month.

Many manufacturers benefited from the registration plate change in the UK during March, which as a core European market for the volume brands always has influence on overall sales figures. Therefore it was no surprise to see that Opel/Vauxhall and Ford both saw reduction in new car registrations during April as the market settled back into a more typical trading pattern.

The Opel/Vauxhall Astra, moved down four places to sixth position and the Corsa down from fourth to seventh. Ford’s Fiesta also lost ground, dropping from third down to eighth in the table.

Other new models performing well in the European market during April include the new Corolla-replacing Toyota Auris, Citroen C4 Picasso, Fiat Bravo, Ford S-Max, Nissan Qashqai, Kia Cee’d, Skoda Roomster, Volkswagen Eos, Volvo C30, Chevrolet Captiva, Suzuki SX4, Fiat Sedici, Opel Antara, Dodge Caliber and Audi Q7.

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