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UK: Audi and Mercedes buck the falling trend in Europe’s car market

By Dave Leggett | 19 September 2012

Figures released by JATO show that some of Europe’s premium brands are faring relatively well in Europe's depressed car market.

JATO's figures show that the European car market declined by 8.4% in August (to 726,562 units), and 6.9% (to stand at just over 8.6m) in the first eight months.

Spain recorded the largest rise in sales out of the ‘Big Five’ markets, ahead of the Spanish VAT increase in September.

In the list of sales by brand, Audi claims second place for the month behind Volkswagen and was up 8.7% in the month of August. JATO said that the Audi gains for the month followed a good performance in Germany with increased sales of the A4, A1 and Q3 models. JATO noted that the Audi growth 'further demonstrates the challenges facing the non-premium manufacturers'. Mercedes was the only other brand in the top ten to increase sales for the month.

Peugeot’s new 208 continues to perform well as it climbed into the top three behind Volkswagen’s Golf and Polo models

Just outside the top ten, Skoda, Kia, Dacia and Honda recorded increased sales for August. Honda has been particularly successful in Great Britain following its recent announcement to make further manufacturing investment in the market.

The Volkswagen Golf continues to be Europe’s best-selling car, despite sales falling by 12.9% compared to August 2011. The Volkswagen Polo is second despite a 22.3% fall in August sales, while Peugeot’s new 208 has climbed to third place in the sales charts, ahead of rivals Ford Fiesta, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and Renault Clio. Combined sales of 207 and 208 exceed those of the second placed Volkswagen Polo in August, and would achieve fifth place for the Year-to-Date.

The recently revamped Audi A4 came in at tenth position for the month and was the only one of the remaining top ten models to record an increase in sales, of 4.3% over August 2011.

Outside the top ten it was new or recently revised models, such as the Toyota Yaris, Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Volkswagen Tiguan, Fiat Panda, Volkswagen Up and BMW 1-Series that saw improved sales compared to August 2011.

Commenting on the findings, Gareth Hession, Vice President, Research at JATO said: “August has been another tough month for the European new car market. Economic conditions, holiday periods and the expected slow month in the UK ahead of September’s registration plate change have conspired to depress sales across the region. Against this background the 208’s performance is impressive.”

Sales by Market

Country Aug_12 Aug_11 % Change Aug Aug YtD_12 Aug YtD_11 % Change YtD
Austria 24570 25884 -5.1% 239797 242784 -1.2%
Belgium 31256 37788 -17.3% 353073 399119 -11.5%
Croatia 1714 2807 -38.9% 24652 29656 -16.9%
Cyprus 691 900 -23.2% 7363 9024 -18.4%
Czech Republic 13092 14105 -7.2% 118435 114507 +3.4%
Denmark 13557 12495 +8.5% 114460 113264 +1.1%
Estonia 1518 1427 +6.4% 13643 11181 +22.0%
Finland 7545 10037 -24.8% 80851 89919 -10.1%
France 96067 108462 -11.4% 1293984 1493745 -13.4%
Germany 226455 237561 -4.7% 2108716 2121047 -0.6%
Great Britain 59433 59346 +0.1% 1260997 1220618 +3.3%
Greece-Regional 3872 7286 -46.9% 41938 72382 -42.1%
Hungary 3588 3469 +3.4% 36060 30519 +18.2%
Iceland 473 299 +58.2% 5901 3799 +55.3%
Ireland 3098 3237 -4.3% 74163 84409 -12.1%
Italy 56868 71132 -20.1% 981910 1229853 -20.2%
Latvia 894 856 +4.4% 7251 6851 +5.8%
Lithuania 952 1075 -11.4% 8197 8770 -6.5%
Luxembourg* 3283 3018 +8.8% 36134 36143 0%
Norway 11932 11558 +3.2% 94326 92352 +2.1%
Poland 18005 19514 -7.7% 187495 179191 +4.6%
Portugal* 7120 8136 -12.5% 69780 114317 -39%
Romania 5044 8747 -42.3% 44392 49004 -9.4%
Serbia* 1767 2045 -13.6% 15503 20977 -26.1%
Slovakia 5951 5198 +14.5% 46541 45005 +3.4%
Slovenia 3072 4170 -26.3% 35504 41855 -15.2%
Spain 48820 47134 +3.6% 509546 568659 -10.4%
Sweden 21065 24368 -13.6% 181772 201031 -9.6%
Switzerland 21653 21741 -0.4% 222521 205435 +8.3%
The Netherlands 33207 39062 -15% 395700 409469 -3.4%
Grand Total 726562 792857 -8.4% 8610605 9244885 -6.9%

Top 10 Brands

Make Aug_12 Aug_11 % Change Aug Aug YtD_12 Aug YtD_11 % Change YtD
VOLKSWAGEN 104253 108605 -4% 1113577 1135354 -1.9%
AUDI 47507 43724 +8.7% 484937 458437 +5.8%
PEUGEOT 46466 50441 -7.9% 552337 645850 -14.5%
FORD 44592 62471 -28.6% 653954 745056 -12.2%
OPEL/VAUXHALL 43787 53915 -18.8% 575682 679969 -15.3%
RENAULT 43497 55535 -21.7% 567018 705048 -19.6%
MERCEDES 37198 37171 +0.1% 398612 390940 +2.0%
BMW 35759 40318 -11.3% 415877 426950 -2.6%
CITROEN 35631 43070 -17.3% 474608 540631 -12.2%
TOYOTA 31941 32682 -2.3% 353195 357236 -1.1%

Top 10 Models - August

Make & Model Aug_12 Aug_11 % Change Aug
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 29056 33363 -12.9%
VOLKSWAGEN POLO 16996 21883 -22.3%
PEUGEOT 208 14721 0 -
OPEL/VAUXHALL CORSA 13198 16800 -21.4%
FORD FIESTA 12980 17732 -26.8%
RENAULT CLIO 12959 15346 -15.6%
OPEL/VAUXHALL ASTRA 12742 17065 -25.3%
VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 11727 15476 -24.2%
RENAULT MEGANE 11714 13134 -10.8%
AUDI A4/S4/RS4 11226 10767 +4.3%

Top 10 Models YtD

Make & Model Aug YtD_12 Aug YtD_11 % Change YtD
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 301575 327740 -8%
FORD FIESTA 206614 239033 -13.6%
VOLKSWAGEN POLO 204207 242845 -15.9%
OPEL/VAUXHALL CORSA 180427 210739 -14.4%
FORD FOCUS 166060 193582 -14.2%
OPEL/VAUXHALL ASTRA 160715 203741 -21.1%
RENAULT CLIO 160039 200543 -20.2%
NISSAN QASHQAI 142145 142585 -0.3%
RENAULT MEGANE 138808 162394 -14.5%
VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 135347 156235 -13.4%