• Registrations remained stable in April after seven consecutive months of decline
  • Drops posted by VW Group, Renault-Nissan, FCA and Ford were offset by growth at PSA, Daimler and BMW Group
  • Electrified vehicles counted for 6.9% of the total market

The European car market stabilised in April 2019 after an extended period of decline. In total 1.34 million vehicles were registered – the same number as in April 2018, when the market posted its highest April volume of the last 10 years. The year to date figures show the overall market has dropped by 2.5%, with 5.47 million registrations recorded so far in 2019.

Looking at the breakdown by countries in April, the strong results in Spain, Italy, Poland and Switzerland offset the declines posted in the UK, Germany, Benelux, where the market was down by 2.4%, and Scandinavia, where the market was down by 13.5%.

The commanding position of gasoline cars and the double-digit growth posted by electrified cars made up for a 12% drop in diesel registrations. With the exception of Germany and Croatia, diesel registrations fell everywhere in Europe. Year to date figures show diesel’s volume has dropped by 15% during the first four months of 2019, counting for 32.5% of the total market.

Meanwhile, electrified car registrations continued to grow in April, as they totalled 91,200 units and made up 6.9% of the total market. This was largely due to an increase in demand for pure electric cars, where registrations increased by 71% to 22,900 units.

Although Tesla still posted growth and led the BEV rankings, its overall volume returned to a normal level in April following March’s exceptional results, where the brand recorded 15,755 registrations of the Model 3. There were 3,700 Model 3 registrations during April, signifying that March’s boom was a result of the long waiting list for the vehicle. However, “We should expect to see another boost of the Model 3 once it hits British dealers,” predicts Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst.

SUVs continued to grow during the month, as the segment recorded 495,000 registrations – up by 11% on April 2018. Year to date figures show there has been 2.02 million SUV registrations since the start of 2019 – up by 8% on the same period last year. In April, the segment’s growth was driven by BMW Group (+29%), VW Group (+23%), PSA (+14%) and Hyundai-Kia (+14%).

Demand for the Dacia Duster grew by a huge 30% in April, as the vehicle led the SUV rankings for the first time since its launch. Meanwhile, the Toyota C-HR, Rav4 and Niro were the top-selling electric SUVs, and the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Audi Q2 led the premium SUV rankings.

Elsewhere, demand for MPVs fell by 21%, with only 65,200 registrations recorded during April. It was closely followed by the LCV-derived van segment, which recorded 54,600 registrations as demand increased by 3%. JATO’s insights expect the van segment to overtake the MPV segment, given it offers consumers vehicles with the same amount of interior space but with cheaper prices.

In the breakdown by brands, Volkswagen continued to lead the market, but its volume fell by almost 7% due to declines in its three best-selling products – the Golf, Polo and Tiguan. Similarly, Ford’s volume was negatively affected by the Fiesta, Kuga and Ka+; Opel/Vauxhall lost ground despite the double-digit growth posted by the Crossland and Grandland, as the Corsa, Astra and Mokka fell in the rankings. Meanwhile, Audi also recorded a drop due to the results of the A3 and A4, while it sold 963 units of the E-Tron.

In contrast, April was a good month for BMW due to the strong performance of the X1, 1-Series and the new 3-Series, which recorded 10,000 registrations as demand increased by 19%. Similarly, Peugeot, saw a volume increase due the strong results of the 3008 and 108 – and it recorded 2,384 registrations of the newly introduced 508. Skoda also grew, with volume up by 3% due to the Octavia and Karoq, while it recorded 704 registrations of the Scala.

Toyota had a stable month, as the 25% increase in demand for the Auris/Corolla offset the 16% drop in demand for the C-HR, and it registered 475 units of the Camry. Meanwhile, Fiat dropped by 1% due to declines of the 500, Tipo and 500L.

Among the market’s latest launches, the following totals were registered: Toyota Corolla 11,381 units; Toyota Rav4 7,016; Citroen C5 Aircross 6,799; Mercedes B-Class 6,431; Peugeot Rifter 4,457; Mercedes CLA 3,666; DS 7 Crossback 2,509; Volkswagen Touareg 2,104; BMW X4 2,070; and Seat Tarraco with 1,963 units.