Media & Insight

April 21, 2015

Europe’s new car market ends Q1 on a high

  • European new car sales grew by 8.9% in Q1, 11.1% in March
  • All of the Big 5 markets have recorded increased registrations throughout the quarter
  • Volkswagen Golf and Ford Fiesta are the best-selling cars so far this year

New car sales were 8.9% higher in Q1 than in the same period in 2014, according to the latest new car sales analysis from JATO Dynamics, the world’s leading provider of automotive intelligence. Sales in March were 11.1% higher than a year earlier.

JATO’s headline market analysis:

  • Volkswagen’s Golf maintained its lead, with sales up by 2.9% year-to-date, with Ford’s Fiesta in 2nd place
  • Spain recorded a remarkable 41.1% increase in registrations over March 2014
  • Jeep’s new Renegade and Cherokee models drive a trebling of Q1 volumes

 All of Europe’s five biggest car markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) have recorded increased volumes in each month of the year so far, with particularly large increases in units registered in March 2015 compared to March 2014. Spain recorded an increase of more than 33,000 units, or 41.1% thanks to an improving economy, continued scrappage incentives supporting private purchases, and a strong rental sector anticipating high demand for hire cars over the Easter and summer periods.

Other strong performances in March came from Poland (up by 35.6%), Ireland (up by 33.2%, due to improved consumer confidence, and lower vehicle and fuel prices in real terms), the Czech Republic (a significant increase in previously postponed purchases by businesses which are now renewing their fleet in an improving economy) and Latvia (up by 25.7%).

Brian Walters, Vice President of Data at JATO Dynamics, commented “The European new car market has now been growing for seven consecutive quarters, demonstrating strong consumer confidence in the motor industry and the vehicles it produces.”

European Monthly Sales Volumes Year-on-Year Comparison

European Monthly Sales Volumes Year-on-Year Comparison

Volkswagen remains the market-leading brand, with an increase in sales of 10.8% in Q1. Ford reclaimed second place by leading the traditionally strong March market in Great Britain. Renault holds third place for the quarter after high sales in January and February, while Opel/Vauxhall’s market share in Great Britain allowed it to claim third place for the month of March.

All of the top 10 brands have recorded increased sales for the quarter. Nissan’s 25.7% increase in volume in Q1 was the greatest of the top 10 brands, and can be attributed to the introductions of the new Pulsar medium hatchback and new generations of the Qashqai and X-Trail crossover models during 2014.

Beyond the top 10 brands, Jeep is the rising star, with the new Renegade and Cherokee models driving a trebling of Q1 sales over last year.

Top 10 Brands
Top 10 Brands - March 2015
The Volkswagen Golf retained its lead of the market, increasing sales by 2.9% in Q1. The Ford Fiesta claimed 2nd place for the quarter, thanks to market-leading sales in Great Britain, ahead of the Renault Clio.

Nissan’s Qashqai and Opel/Vauxhall’s Corsa ended Q1 with volumes more than 20% higher than the same period of 2014, following the introduction of new generations of both models.

Outside the top 10, MINI increased sales by 99.0% following the introduction of the latest hatchback with the addition of 5-door versions, while new generations of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Peugeot 308 and Volkswagen Passat all delivered sales increases of around 40%.

Top 10 Models

Top 10 Models - March 2015

Brian Walters continues “New products are finding strong demand, while the increased total market also means greater sales of the many longer-standing models that remain competitive and desirable in this complex market.”

For more information email jatoteam@firstlightpr.com, visit https://www.jato.com/ and follow JATO on LinkedIn & Twitter.

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