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Europe December 2013: VW Golf up 64%, Skoda Octavia up 53%

January 21st, 2014 4 comments

VW Golf Europe December 2013. Picture courtesy of largus.frVW Golf

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and brands by clicking on the title! *

* The Full Year 2013 Report is here! *

The European new car market finishes the year on a great note: up 13% on December 2012 to 950,103 registrations, bringing the final 2013 total to 12,358,239 units, down 2% on 2012. This is Europe’s biggest monthly gain this year and for the last 3 years. Brand-wise, amazingly the Top 4 carmakers all deliver 20%+ year-on-year gains: Volkswagen is up 23% to 124,310 sales, followed by Renault (+22%), Ford (+20%) and Opel/Vauxhall (+22%). Notice also Audi up 16% and Skoda up 22%. In the models ranking, the VW Golf continues its supreme reign, holding the monthly European crown for the 45th month in a row but also lodging the biggest year-on-year progression at +64% to 37,066 sales, with December 2012 coinciding with the launch of the 7th generation Europa-wide.

Skoda Octavia Europe December 2013Skoda Octavia

The Renault Clio is back up to 2nd place for the 6th time this year (astoundingly very regular at #2 every second month!) thanks to sales up 29% year-on-year to 23,767, but this is not enough to reclaim the year-end #2 spot from the Ford Fiesta, also impressive in third position and up 33% on December 2012. Notice also the VW Polo up 19% to #4, Opel Corsa up 18% to #5 and the Skoda Octavia up a spectacular 53% to rank 7th with 15,766 units, only its 5th ever time inside the monthly European Top 10 after January 2012 (#10), last August (#10), last October (#5) and last month (#5).

Previous month: Europe November 2013: Skoda Octavia confirms best-ever #5

One year ago: Europe December 2012: Peugeot 208 up to #2

Full December 2013 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe: 1972-2013 More detailed Historical Data now available!

December 20th, 2013 14 comments

Fiat 127 Europe 1977The Fiat 127 was the European best-seller from 1973 to 1978.

* The direct links to 46 Historical Data articles are below! *

FURTHER UPDATE – Thanks to the great work of Chris and Flavio, today I am able to add no less than 11 years of data for Europe, bringing the cover of the continent on BestSellingCarsBlog to the last 40 years. There is now a podium ranking available all the way up to 1972! We learn that 1972 was the last year of reign for the VW Beetle before the Fiat 127 took the relay in 1973 when Fiat even managed to place two models atop the ranking with the 128 at #2!

Renault 5 Europe 1979I estimate the Renault 5 to have been #1 in Europe from 1979 to 1982.

The 127 would top the European sales charts for 6 consecutive years before being toppled by the Renault 5 in 1979. The French mini in all likeliness remained #1 until the VW Golf took charge in 1983 after making a first appearance on the European podium as early as 1976… The Ford Escort (in 1975) and Taunus (in 1977) both peaked at an outstanding 2nd place.

The VW Golf was the best-selling model in Europe during 25 of the last 30 years.

From 1983 onwards (exactly 30 years), the VW Golf went on to be the best selling model on the continent for no less than 25 years, with only four other models holding the pole position at year-end: the Fiat Punto in 1997Peugeot 206 in 2003Opel Astra in 2005 and 2006 and Peugeot 207 in 2007.

Launched in 1991, the Opel Astra had to wait for its 3rd generation to be #1 in Europe in 2005

If you go into the monthly detail, then a few more cars managed to lead the European market for that amount of time: the Renault Megane, Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Renault Clio and Opel Corsa all ranked #1 at some stage over the last 20 years.

Peugeot is the only carmaker to place 2 models at #1 in Europe in the last 10 years: the 206 (2003) and 207 (2007).

Thanks to Florian and STAC I have updated most of my European Historical Data articles with a lot more detail. From 1992 to 1996 there is at least a Top 30 models ranking available (used to be Top 10 only) and from 1999 onwards you can check out the sales of every single model sold in Europe for each year! There is also every Monthly Top 10 from 1996 to 1999 and from July 2005 onwards, so you can see the complete evolution of the market over the years.

At this stage I do not have any detailed ranking for 1980-1988 I just know the VW Golf was in the pole position from 1983 onwards. And before 1972 I have nothing at all, so if you happen to have access to more European models sales data, please make sure to get in touch by commenting on this post!

Europe Historical Data

Europe 1972: VW Beetle and two Fiats on top

Europe 1973: Fiat monopolises Top 2 spots with 127 and 128!

Europe 1974: Fiat 127 at highest, Renault 5 up to #2

Europe 1975: Fiat 127 and Ford Escort on top

Europe 1976: Fiat 127 leads, VW Golf on podium for the first time

Europe 1977: Fiat 127 and Ford Taunus dominate

Europe 1978: VW Golf threatens Fiat 127 for top spot!

Europe 1979: Renault 5 new best-seller

Europe 1980-1982: Renault 5 most probable leader

Europe 1983-1987: Second generation VW Golf takes the lead

Europe 1984: VW Golf ahead of Ford Escort and Fiat Uno

Europe 1988: VW Golf and Fiat Uno on top

Europe 1989: VW Golf and Opel Kadett dominate

Europe 1990: VW Golf, Opel Kadett and Fiat Uno on podium

Europe 1991: VW Golf leads, Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio follow

Europe 1992: New gen VW Golf and Opel Astra on top

Europe 1993-1994: VW Golf stays on top, Opel Astra #2

Europe 1995: Fiat Punto interrupts 154 months of VW Golf domination

Europe 1996: VW Golf resists Fiat Punto assault

Europe 1997: Fiat Punto crowned for the first time

Europe 1998: VW Golf, Renault Megane and Fiat Punto lead

Europe 1999: Opel Astra a serious threat to VW Golf

Europe 2000: VW Golf and Fiat Punto in the lead

Europe 2001: VW Golf, Peugeot 206 and Fiat Punto on podium

Europe 2002: VW Golf only 500 units above the Peugeot 206

Europe 2003: Peugeot 206 most popular, VW Golf down to #2

Europe 2004: VW Golf, Peugeot 206 and 307 on podium

Europe 2005: VW Golf keeps Opel Astra at bay, or does it?

Europe 2006: Opel Astra triumphs, Ford Focus and Renault Clio close behind

Europe 2007: Peugeot 207 edges VW Golf out

Europe 2008: VW Golf defies the GFC

Europe 2009: VW Golf and Ford Fiesta dominate

Europe 2010: VW Golf leader ahead of Ford Fiesta and VW Polo

Europe 2010: Top 371 All models ranking now available!

Europe 2011: VW Polo up to second spot for the first time

Europe 2011: Top 318 All models ranking now available!

Europe 2012: Nissan Qashqai in Top 10 for the first time

Europe 2012: Top 350 All-models and Top 60 All-brands ranking now available

Europe 2013: VW Golf leads, Renault Clio on podium for the first time in 7 years

Europe Light Commercial Vehicles Historical Data

Europe Light Commercial Vehicles 2004-2005: Ford Transit reigns

Central & Eastern Europe Historical Data

Central Europe 2002-2003: Skoda Fabia above 100,000 sales

Central Europe 2004: Skoda Fabia, Octavia and Peugeot 206 on podium

Central & Eastern Europe 2005-2007: Dacia Logan reigns

Central & Eastern Europe 2008: Dacia Logan resists Skoda assault

Central & Eastern Europe 2009: Skoda Octavia new favourite

Central and Eastern Europe 2010: Skoda Octavia strengthens lead

 

Categories: Europe

Europe November 2013: Skoda Octavia confirms best-ever #5

December 19th, 2013 20 comments

Skoda Octavia RS Europe November 2013Skoda Octavia RS

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and brands by clicking on the title! *

Has the European new car market finally turned the corner? November is the third consecutive month of year-on-year growth: +2% to 986,233 registrations, reducing the year-to-date decline to 3% at 11,416,108 units. The VW Golf not only continues to reign supreme over the models sales charts but also manages a very impressive 19% year-on-year gain, explained by the fact the Golf VII was just starting its career at the same time last year. It sells 42,740 units this month – or 67% above the next best-seller – and adds up to 433,452 so far in 2013, up 6% on 2012. The Ford Fiesta is back up to #2, up a timid 2% to 25,807 sales, and is followed by the VW Polo up 4% and the Renault Clio up 1%.

Audi A3 Europe November 2013Audi A3

But the biggest event this month comes from the Skoda Octavia again. In October it broke into the Top 5 for the first time, which was only its third appearance in a European Top 10 after January 2012 (#10) and last August (#10). Well this month it does the impossible and remains at an all-time high 5th place for the second month in a row thanks to 17,869 sales, up a mammoth 46% on November 2012. Definitely the start of a new era in the European models ranking, also symbolised by the all-new regular presence of the Audi A3 inside the Top 10: it ranks #8 this month with 14,979 units, up 42% year-on-year and the third appearance of the nameplate in the Top 10 in the last 9 months and… ever, after last August (#6) and April (#9).

Renault Captur Europe November 2013Renault Captur

Finally, JATO gives us a little bonus this month, revealing the scores of the impressively successful new French mini-SUVs. The Renault Captur sells 12,352 units which is less than 2,400 or 19% off the Top 10, compared to 3,445 and 27% in October and adding up to 73,196 year-to-date. Its archenemy the Peugeot 2008 is at 11,180 sales which is 3,570 or 32% off the Top 10 vs. 4,916 and 43% last month, for a 2013 total of 50,832 units.

Previous post: Europe October 2013: Discover the Top 333 best-selling models!

Previous month: Europe October 2013: Skoda Octavia breaks into Top 5 for the first time

One year ago: Europe November 2012: Renault Clio on podium for first time in almost 2 years

Full November 2013 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe October 2013: Discover the Top 333 best-selling models!

December 15th, 2013 23 comments

Renault Captur Peugeot 2008 Europe October 2013Both the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 are inside the European Top 25 this month…

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 333 best-selling models! Click on title to see *

Thanks to Bart from left-lane.com, I can give you the European Top 150 models for now, more data will follow shortly. Beyond the Top 10, we learn that the Audi A3 is eagerly waiting its turn to break in at #11 with 15,855 sales, up 44% year-on-year, the VW Tiguan (#15) and Renault Megane (#16) shoot a little above their year-to-date level, but most interestingly both the Renault Captur at #18 with 12,776 sales and the Peugeot 2008 at #23 and 11,305 units are starting to make well-rounded waves inside the ranking. Who else here think one of them (both?) will break into the monthly European Top 10 next year? Because I do.

Toyota Auris Touring Europe October 2013. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Toyota Auris is almost inside the European Top 20 this month…

The Toyota Auris benefits fully from the new generation and especially its hybrid and station wagon variants to gain a mammoth 174% year-on-year this month to #21 vs. #26 year-to-date, the Mercedes A-Class is up 66% to #24, the Peugeot 308 is starting to climb the ladder now the 2nd generation is becoming available across the continent: up 30% to #26 vs. #38 year-to-date, the Dacia Sandero up 59% to #29, Citroen C4 Picasso up 52% to #32 vs. #50, Seat Leon up 65% to #42 and Opel Insignia up 47% to #43.

Mazda6 Europe October 2013European Mazda6 sales are up 73% year-on-year in October.

Outside the Top 50, let’s salute the Fiat 500L up 183% to #52, Skoda Yeti up 20% to #61, Ford B-Max up 34% to #65, Toyota RAV4 up 77% to #78 vs. #94 year-to-date, Honda CR-V up 28% to #81 vs. #92, Nissan Note up 79% to #88, Mazda3 up 83% to #109, Mazda6 up 73% to #129, Kia Carens up to #130 and the BMW 4 Series breaking into the European Top 150 for the first time at #146.

Previous October post: Europe October 2013: Skoda Octavia breaks into Top 5 for the first time

Previous post: Europe 9 months 2013: Discover the Top 344 best-selling models!

One year ago: Europe October 2012: Peugeot 208 #3, Fiat Panda back in Top 10

Full October 2013 Top 333 models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe 9 months 2013: Discover the Top 344 best-selling models!

November 21st, 2013 45 comments

Audi A3 Europe September 2013. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Audi A3 is now knocking on the Top 10′s door!

* See the Top 344 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

* See also the Top 105 all-brands & Top 360 models for Europe Full Year 2012 here *

After going through the October European top sellers, we are backtracking a little bit as thanks to Bart from Left-Lane.com I can share with you today a Top 344 models ranking for Europe over the first 9 months of 2013. We learn that the Audi A3 is now knocking on the Top 10′s door, up from #24 thanks to sales up 22% to 124,571. Inside the Top 20, the Fiat 500 is also in great shape in spite of its old age, up 5 spots to #13, while the BMW 1 Series is up 4 to #15.

Dacia Sandero Europe September 2013. Picture courtesy of largus.frEuropean Dacia Sandero sales are up 62% so far in 2013.

Explosive growth for the Mercedes A-Class: the new model boosted sales up 122% year-on-year and the model went from #75 one year ago to #20 now. Let’s extend the net to the Top 50 and salute the VW Up! up 11 ranks to #23, the Dacia Sandero up a huge 35 spots to #25 and up 62% year-on-year, the Nissan Juke up 8 to #28, Toyota Auris up 36 to #29, Hyundai i30 up 9 to #36, Kia Cee’d up 15 to #40 and Seat Leon up 31 to #46.

Fiat 500L Europe September 2013. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Fiat 500L is already almost inside the European Top 50.

Among recent all-new launches, the most popular is the Fiat 500L up to #54 with 55,615 sales, followed closely by the Ford B-Max at #55 and 55,034 units and the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka at #56 and 54,087 sales. Further down we have the Renault Captur at #63 and 48,068 units, the Opel/Vauxhall Adam at #93 and 35,437 sales, Peugeot 2008 at #103 and 28,347 units, Skoda Rapid at #111 and 24,349 sales, Mercedes CLA-Class at #122 and 21,167 units, Dacia Dokker at #139 and 14,749 sales and the Seat Toledo at #158 and 10,828 units.

Aston Martin Vanquish Europe September 2013The Aston Martin Vanquish is the #297 best-selling model in Europe.

Other interesting developments involve the Citroen C3 Picasso up 20 spots to #63, Audi Q5 up 13 ranks to #75, Range Rover Evoque up 8 to #80, Mazda CX-5 doubling its sales year-on-year to #84, VW Beetle up 58% to #101, Dacia Lodgy up 68% to #108, Mazda6 up 75% to #110, Range Rover up 82% to #171, Renault Zoe landing at #191, Mercedes GL up 288% to #222, Porsche Cayman up 213% to #233, the Ferrari F12 arriving at #287 with 557 sales and the Aston Martin Vanquish catapulted inside the Top 300 at #297 and 304 units.

Previous post: Europe October 2013: Skoda Octavia breaks into Top 5 for the first time

Previous September update: Europe September 2013: VW Golf shines in market up 6%

One year ago: Europe September 2012: Toyota Yaris in Top 10, market down 11%

Full 9 months 2013 Top 344 models Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe October 2013: Skoda Octavia breaks into Top 5 for 1st time

November 19th, 2013 57 comments

Skoda Octavia Europe October 2013Skoda Octavia sales in Europe are up 46% year-on-year this month.

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and brands by clicking on the title! *

For the second month in a row, the European new car market is reassuringly up year-on-year at +5% in October to 1,049,596 registrations, reducing the year-to-date decline to just 3% at 10,428,545 units. As a reminder new car sales in Europe were down 5% year-on-year at end-August. Brand-wise, Volkswagen leads the dance by far at 12.8% market share ahead of Ford at 7.3% and Renault at 7%, up a shiny 13% on October 2012. Opel is up 6% to #5, Mercedes up 7% to #9 and Skoda up 24% to #10.

VW Golf Europe October 2013The VW Golf is up a whopping 31% year-on-year in Europe this month.

Unsurprisingly the VW Golf is the most popular model on the continent for the 43rd consecutive month thanks to 43,281 sales, up a huge 31% year-on-year and the only model above 25,000, 30,000, 35,000 and 40,000 sales this month… The Renault Clio is back up 2 spots on September to reach #2 for the 5th time in the last 9 months, up 6% to 24,500 units but remains #3 year-to-date below the Ford Fiesta. The VW Polo is back up 4 ranks to reclaim the #4 spot it holds year-to-date, the Peugeot 208 stays #6 but is down a surprisingly harsh 24% on October 2012 and the BMW 3 Series continues to shine, up 8% to #10.

1959 Skoda OctaviaWho would have thought the Octavia would rank #5 in Europe when it first launched in 1959?

But the best performance this month is delivered by the Skoda Octavia, breaking inside the European Top 5 for the very first time in the nameplate’s 17 year career: the Octavia name was re-launched in 1996 after a first generation was on sale between 1959 and 1971. The only other two times the Octavia managed to rank inside the European Top 10 were in January 2012 and last August when it both ranked #10. It is also the first time a Skoda ranks that high in Europe, with the only other model in the Czech manufacturer’s range to achieve a Top 10 finish being the Skoda Fabia reaching #10 in August 2008 and #8 in August 2009

Previous post: Europe: 1972-2012 more detailed Historical Data now available!

Previous month: Europe September 2013: VW Golf shines in market up 6%

One year ago: Europe October 2012: Peugeot 208 #3, Fiat Panda back in Top 10

Full October 2013 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe September 2013: VW Golf shines in market up 6%

October 21st, 2013 9 comments

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 2.0 TDI 184ch GTDVW Golf

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and brands by clicking on the title! *

Some good news coming from Europe for once! The overall market is up 6% year-on-year in September to 1,204,102 registrations, the largest year-on-year increase so far this year and reducing the year-to-date fall to 3.9% at 9,379,709 units, the lowest it’s been in 2013. The UK has definitely pushed the overall European market up this month thanks to its 12% increase and the license plate change bringing it past 400,000 registrations or one third of European sales! Within the ‘Big Five’, Spain (+30%) and France (+3%) are also on the up.

Renault Clio IV Europe Seprember 2013Renault Clio sales are up 29% year-on-year in September thanks to the 4th generation.

Thanks to strong showings in the UK and Germany, the VW Golf is up a very satisfying 17% on September 2012 to 45,212 sales while the Ford Fiesta is boosted by the UK market to #2 and 33,561 units, reclaiming the #2 spot year-to-date off the Renault Clio in the process. Another UK beneficiary, the Opel Corsa, holds the third spot this month with 28,347 sales but remains #6 year-to-date. Two additional models lodge very impressive year-on-year improvements: the Renault Clio is at +29% to #4 as the 4th generation had just launched one year ago and the BMW 3 Series continues to shine, up 23% to #7 and still #9 year-to-date ahead of the Opel Astra. Brand-wise, there are now 2 manufacturers up year-to-date in the Top 10: BMW at #7 (+1%) and Mercedes at #8 (+5%).

Previous month: Europe August 2013: BMW 3 Series and Audi A3 smash records

One year ago: Europe September 2012: Toyota Yaris in Top 10, market down 11%

Full September 2013 Top 10 Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe August 2013: BMW 3 Series and Audi A3 smash records

September 19th, 2013 16 comments

BMW 3 Series Europe August 2013. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe BMW 3 Series has never ranked so high in the overall European ranking…

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 10 models and Top 30 brands! Click on title to see *

New car sales in Europe are down 5% both in August at 686,526 registrations and year-to-date at 8,178,716 units. Traditionally the slowest month of the year, August is often the theatre of ranking reshuffles made easier by lower volumes. Well this year it over-achieves in this area! Reflecting the long-term “premium or low-cost” trend at play in Western European car sales, both the BMW 3 Series at #4 (previous best: #6 in December 2006) and the Audi A3 at #6 (previous best: #9 last April) absolutely and positively smash their European ranking records this month!

The 3 Series is up a whopping 47% year-on-year to 12,874 sales this month. It made its first appearance in the monthly European Top 10 back in July 1999 and lodged its first year-end Top 10 finish in 2000, then went on peaking at #8 in 2001 and 2012, totalling 6 year-end Top 10 finishes so far, ranking #10 in 2002, 2006 and 2007. It is now #9 in 2013 after 8 months with sales up 20% year-on-year. Now for the first time the 3 Series belongs to the Top 5 most popular models in Europe, even though it has only been for one month for now.

Audi A3 Europe August 2013. Picture courtesy of L'Argus…nor has the Audi A3!

As far as the Audi A3 is concerned, the progression is even more impressive: never had the nameplate, originally launched in 1996, ranked inside the monthly European Top 10 until last April when it ranked #9. This month the A3, bolstered by a record 2nd spot in Germany, even knocks on Europe Top 5′s door, up 42% year-on-year to 12,089 sales which is only 280 off the Ford Fiesta at #5, and ranks #2 in its segment behind only the VW Golf and above the Ford Focus and Opel Astra, both outside the Top 10 in August! A fantastic achievement indeed, with the sedan version only hitting European dealerships this September. As a reminder let’s note the A3 finished 2012 at #24 in the European ranking.

Skoda Octavia Europe August 2013The Skoda Octavia is among the Top 10 best-sellers in Europe for the 2nd time ever.

A European ranking more than ever dominated by the VW Golf which sells almost double any other model this month in spite of sales down 6% on August 2012 to 27,011 units. The Renault Clio is back up to #2 both this month and year-to-date, passing the Ford Fiesta. Finally, the third high achiever this month is the Skoda Octavia, breaking into the monthly European Top 10 for only the second time ever after January 2012 when it also ranked #10. A good testimony of how well the new generation of the model has been welcomed in the region.

Previous month: Europe July 2013: Ford Focus at highest in almost a year

One year ago: Europe August 2012: Peugeot 208 on podium, Audi #2 brand!

Full August 2013 Top 10 models and Top 30 brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Strategy: Will the European new car market ever grow again?

August 28th, 2013 14 comments

Carfree Paris. Picture courtesy of menly.frCar-free Paris, France.

As the whole industry is getting ready for the Frankfurt Auto Show, the European new car market is evolving at its lowest level in 20 years in 2013. Spain has had its weakest month of August on record, and in France we are looking at the lowest monthly sales figure in 37 years… Some insiders, including Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Ford Europe CEO Stephen Odell, don’t see a return to growth until 2016 at the very earliest, the end of the decade at worst. I will push this theory further and ask: will the Western European new car market ever grow again? Or has it reached saturation at around 12 million annual units?

Car scrappage in ItalyMore cars were scrapped than bought in Italy in 2012 for the first time since World War II…

There are a few signs on the continent that the car may not be the preferred mode of transport in the future, simply because other options, mainly public transport, offer a much cheaper and sometimes more convenient outlook. The first striking event that could announce this trend happened in 2012 in Italy: for the first time since the 2nd World War, there were less cars in circulation in the country than the year before. More cars were scrapped than bought. With a new car market down a further 9% in 2013, chances are this will happen again this year… In France, the tramway is making a spectacular resurgence with no less than 17 cities building a new network from scratch in the last decade – a trend I’m exploring in more detail further down.

Tramway Angers France. Picture courtesy of angersloiretourisme2.comCould the newly revitalised tramway kill the car in France?

What is your opinion? Is public transport a valid option in your city? Do you find yourself using your car less than you used to? Can you imagine a life without a car? I’m keen to hear your views so please comment on here if you want to share anything relevant to this subject. I will also update this post as I find more information on this trend in the near future.

EurostarEuropean cities are well connected, sometimes making the train a faster option than the plane.

A demographic trend is also at play in Europe, with most countries seeing their population ageing and stagnating, meaning less working people and less people in ‘real’ need of a car to commute every day. Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves, all is not doom and gloom for the European new car market and no time for car manufacturers to abandon the continent just yet! Proof: UK sales display insolent health this year, up 10% year-on-year and, most importantly, boosted by private demand, not leases or rentals. Denmark is posting record year after record year in spite of very high taxes on the price of cars. Also, saturated markets like Canada and Australia are reaching record levels in 2013. But their geography makes public transport a challenge and keep the car essential.

Velib' Paris. Picture courtesy of dailyphotostreamVelib’ system in Paris, France. 58% of Parisian households do not own a car.

And this is the core of the European trend. The cities of Europe are extremely well connected, both with each other and inside out, with many transport options to choose from for each trip. For example, 58% of households living in Paris do not own a car vs. 19% nationally! A very dense metro system coupled with the recent addition of electric car- and bike-share programs (autolib’ and velib’) have made this car-free situation possible.

However the car is still used in a very large majority of trips all across Europe, and this won’t change soon… (the following is mainly based on statistics for France where my family resides – if you have detailed info for other European countries please make sure to comment on here!)

Tramway Tours France. Picture courtesy of agglo-tours.frThe all-new tramway in Tours, France was inaugurated on 31 August 2013.

In France, since 2000 no less than 17 cities have built a tramway network for the most part from scratch! These cities are Montpellier (2000), Orleans (2001), Nancy, Caen (2002), Bordeaux (2004), Clermont-Ferrand, Mulhouse, Valenciennes (2006), Le Mans, Nice, Toulouse (2007), Reims, Angers (2011), Brest, Dijon and Le Havre (2012) and Tours, which inaugurated its new tram last 31 August. 5 more are due to receive a tramway line before 2020: Besançon, Avignon, Amiens, Lens and Toulon… A spectacular resurgence which has almost always prompted a sharp increase in the general use of public transport in these cities: in Toulouse for example, public transport, including but not limited to trams, use has increased by 35% since 2007.

More frequent public transport use means less frequent car use, right? Not so simple.

Tallinn Free Public Transport. Picture courtesy of directmatin.frTallinn in Estonia is the first EU capital to give its residents free public transport.

Many studies have tried to demonstrate that the appearance of a tramway network reduces the utilisation of the car in the city concerned, but the correlation is proving relatively hard to isolate. What seems to happen is the car is less used inside these cities, or at least on the routes served by the tramway network, but still used to get to the tram or public transport hub. ‘Relay’ parking lots have had to be created at the periphery of these cities to allow commuters to park their car before they jump on public transport on their daily commute. Toulouse, the 2nd city in France for relay-parking capacity, is already saturated and has launched the creation of 4,000 additional spots.

In Tallin, Estonia, public transport is now free for the city’s residents to encourage people to leave their car at home, or even better (worse for car manufacturers), not buy one in the first place. An interesting experiment that however shows the lengths needed to make commuters give up their car. What about inter-city commutes and inter-regional trips? In spite of a very dense train and plane network, the car is still king by very far. Out of 100 trips of more than 100 km in France, 75 use the car, 17 the train, 6 the plane and 2 the bus.

Yes, car manufacturers can breathe a sight of relief: Europe loves cars, and is not ready (yet) to give it up!

Sources: www.insee.fr, ladepeche.fr, La Croix, www.transbus.org, Ville Rail & Transports 16 July 2013

Categories: Europe, STRATEGY

Europe July 2013: Ford Focus at highest in almost a year

August 20th, 2013 19 comments

Ford Focus Europe July 2013. Picture courtesy of autobild.deFord Focus

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and brands by clicking on the title! *

For only the second time in the last 2 years with last April, new car sales in Europe gain ground year-on-year: up 5% in July to 1,023,086 registrations, however the year-to-date total is still down 5% on 2012 at 7,487,561 units. 4 of the 5 biggest markets in the region are up: Germany is up 2%, the UK up 13%, France up 1% and Spain up 16% while Italy is down 2%. No surprises atop the models ranking: the VW Golf celebrates 40 consecutive months in the European pole position and even increases the distance that separates it from all its pursuers thanks to sales up 15% year-on-year to 37,661 units. Its year-to-date total is now in positive as well at 274,984 sales, up 1% on 2012.

BMW 3 Series Europe July 2013. Picture courtesy of autobild.deThe BMW 3 Series is up 48% year-on-year in July.

For the first time since last August, Volkswagen does a 1-2 this month, with the Polo up one spot on June to land in 2nd place at 23,704 units. It is still #4 year-to-date however. The Ford Fiesta is up 2 to #3 with 22,580 sales and passes the Renault Clio again year-to-date to reclaim the 2nd spot at 176,364 units vs. 176,168 for the Clio, down 2 to #4 this month but up 29% on July 2012. The Ford Focus is back inside the European Top 5 for the first time since last August, up 2 ranks on last month and 13% year-on-year to #5 and 19,106 sales. Notice also the BMW 3 Series up 48% on July 2012 to #10 at 16,652 units.

Previous month: Europe June 2013: Renault Clio now #2 year-to-date

One year ago: Europe July 2012: Peugeot 208 in Top 10 for the first time at #5

Full July 2013 Top 10 Ranking Table below.

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Categories: Europe