Strong start to 2014 for European new car sales

According to the latest new car sales analysis from automotive intelligence provider JATO Dynamics, there was a much healthier start to 2014 for the European new car market compared to one year ago, with January sales up 4.9 per cent on last year at 965,406 vehicles. Building on a strong finish to 2013, 44,823 more units were sold in January 2014 compared to the same period last year, confirming a fifth consecutive month of year-on-year growth in sales volumes.

JATO’s analysis also shows:

•              23 out of 30 European countries analysed showed sales growth in January

•              Volkswagen continued to perform strongly, with a 7.8 per cent increase in January volumes, with the Golf and Polo models taking first and second in the top 10 models table respectively

•              Eight of the top 10 brands increased sales in January

Sales growth was reported in the vast majority of European markets, including all of the ‘Big Five’ – France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Great Britain. The latter two continue to perform well, with year-on-year growth of 7.2 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively. While unable to replicate December’s double-digit growth, Spanish volumes still increased by 8.9 per cent. Just seven of the 30 countries analysed showed negative growth for January culminating in a very positive start for the sector.

Volkswagen expanded its market share to remain the number one brand in Europe thanks to a 7.8 per cent increase in volumes in January. Opel/Vauxhall, however, had a slower start to the year with sales down 8.0 per cent on 2013 mainly due to lower sales of the Astra in Great Britain and Germany.

Peugeot (9.4 per cent) and Renault (3.7 per cent) both took advantage of this to move up to third and fourth places respectively in the top 10 brands table. It was also a good month for second-placed Ford (8.5 per cent) and sixth-placed Audi (7.7 per cent). Outside the top 10, Dacia, Mazda, Skoda and Toyota also recorded significantly increased sales in January.

Increases of 28.4 per cent for the Golf and 9.0 per cent for the Polo, the top two models by sales, were key to Volkswagen’s strong performance during January. The Ford Fiesta dropped from second to third place as a result, despite an 8.4% increase in volumes.

The new Skoda Octavia climbed to sixth place following a strong start to the year with year-on-year sales up by 32.7 per cent. The Audi A3 was the only top 10 model to better this, recording a significant increase of 83.7 per cent for its recently expanded model range.

Gareth Hession, Vice President of Research at JATO Dynamics, commented: “This is an encouraging start to 2014 for the European new car market, with volumes up almost five per cent on this time last year. The industry has been hoping to avoid the slow start we witnessed at the start of 2013, so a fifth successive month of growth and the fact that the five biggest individual markets all grew during January should be grounds for optimism.”

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