European new car sales up 5.8 percent in first half of 2014

Seems like ‘achhe din’ are coming up for the European auto industry this year.

By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 17 Jul 2014 Views icon6240 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
European new car sales up 5.8 percent in first half of 2014

Seems like ‘achhe din’ are coming up for the European auto industry this year. Latest sales data, revealed by global automotive intelligence provider JATO Dynamics, indicates that in CY 2014 the European new car market has had a strong first half (H1), posting 5.8 percent growth in the January to June period. And sales growth of 4.3 percent in June means that year-on-year sales increased for the 10th consecutive month.

Some of the key findings are:

- Great Britain has posted the biggest year-to-date increase in units sold – over    120,000 more than H1 2013, a 10.6 percent increase.
- All of the top 10 brands have increased their sales for the year so far compared with the same period in 2013.
- Sales of Renault’s Captur have taken off in 2014. It is the seventh best-selling model in Europe in June.

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Overall, 24 of the 30 countries analysed recorded year-to-date (YTD) increases in volumes compared to the same period last year, including Europe’s five largest markets – France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain. With growth of 18.8 percent, Spain was particularly strong during H1 2014 following the re-introduction of government incentives, after very low sales a year ago. Great Britain also performed well with YTD growth of 10.6 percent – it saw sales of over 120,000 new cars compared to H1 2013, representing the largest increase in volumes in Europe.

Fewer available selling days in June contributed to a slight dip in sales volumes in Germany during June (-1.9%), however over the first half of 2014 this market grew by 2.4 percent. Italy recorded year-to-date growth of 3.4 percent, and France 2.9 percent.

The Czech Republic (+16.4%), Portugal (+37.7%) and Sweden (+17.7%) are amongst the medium-sized markets recording strong double-digit growth for H1, 2014. Conversely, sales in the Netherlands continue to slow as a result of tax changes brought in at the start of the year. New car sales were down 5.6 percent in June and down 5.1 percent for YTD.

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Seven of the top 10 brands saw increases in their sales in June and all 10 saw increases for the year-to-date. The two best-selling brands in Europe so far this year – Volkswagen and Ford – have both been affected by the slowdown in the Netherlands, where the former is the market leader. Volkswagen’s sales fell 3.1 percent in June compared to the same month last year, while its YTDe growth of 1.9 percent is below the market average. Ford’s H1 2014 sales have grown in line with the market (up 5.5% YTD) despite a slight fall in June (-1.2%).

It has been a good year so far for third-placed Opel/Vauxhall (up 8.3% YTD and 11.7% for June), with strong demand for the new Mokka small crossover and the revised, lower-CO2 Insignia model. Renault’s year-to-date growth of 13.5 percent helps close the gap on the top three. Its performance is further boosted by a strong June that saw new car sales rise by 20.8 percent. It was also a good month for BMW, which recorded a 7.8 percent rise in volumes.
Outside the top 10, Skoda (+12.6%), Seat (12.7%), Volvo (+15.0%) and Mazda (+12.9%) all recorded double-digit growth during June. Dacia is one of the fastest growing low-cost volume brands of 2014 with sales up 35.3 percent for the year-to-date and 32.4 percent for June.

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VW Golf remains best-seller
Volkswagen’s Golf remains Europe’s top-selling model thanks to impressive YTD growth of 14.2 percent. In contrast to the lower overall sales growth for the Volkswagen brand, the strong performance of the Golf in 2014 has resulted in it gaining market share.

Renault’s Clio is the second best-selling model in June following a 12.3 percent rise in sales compared to 2013; however the Ford Fiesta is the second best-selling model of 2014, recording growth of 9.3 percent for H1 2014. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa (up 3.5% for June and 1.5% YTD) and the Volkswagen Polo (down 14.5% for June and 1.5% YTD) complete the top five.

In June the Renault Captur (+116.0%) becomes the first small crossover to enter the top 10 models by sales volume. This breakthrough demonstrates how small crossovers have joined medium crossovers such as Nissan’s Qashqai, also in the top 10, as a mainstream choice for consumers in Europe.

Fiat’s 500 just misses out on the top 10, but nonetheless has performed well in 2014 so far. Sales were up 22.7 percent in June and 15.6 percent for the year-to-date. The other models recording strong double-digit growth for the first half of the year are the Skoda Octavia (+42.1%), Dacia Sandero (+35.7%) and the Audi A3/S3/RS3 (+30.4%).

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According to Gareth Hession, vice-president of research at JATO Dynamics, “Overall it has been a very positive first half of the year for the European new car market. Year-to-date growth of 5.8 percent and 10 consecutive months of sales increases are fantastic achievements in the current economic climate. These trends suggest that the industry has every chance of extending this level of performance for the remainder of 2014.”

 

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