* See the Top 20 best-selling models and Top 10 brands by clicking on the title *
The European new car market – 29 countries excluding Russia and Turkey – is up a very dynamic 8.9% year-on-year in April to 1.319.285 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 8.3% to 5.254.920 units, 403.000 additional sales compared to the same period a year ago. Only one market is down, Switzerland (-2%), with Cyprus (+55%), Serbia (+36%), Croatia (+27%), Greece (+25%), Poland (+21%) and Spain (+21%) the most dynamic, showing a bias towards Southern Europe. The recovery is well and truly entrenched in Europe after years of stagnation and the March Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) comes in at 15.38 million units vs. 14.2 million over the Full Year 2015.
Volkswagen though, with an emission scandal still far from being resolved, lags behind the market once again with a meagre 2.4% increase this month to 158.574 sales. Only Ford (+1.5%) grows slower in the Top 10. Renault (+8.7%) leaps to 2nd place and Audi (+9.6%) is back to the #1 luxury brand spot it holds year-to-date but below, Mercedes (+23.4%) overtakes BMW (+11.3%) in the year-to-date charts to rank 7th overall thanks to a very promising start from its new SUV lineup, notably the GLC. Fiat (+14.2%) is the last Top 10 brand to post double-digit gains.
Model-wise, the VW Golf is sovereign, posting a 73rd consecutive month atop the European sales charts (the last time it did not rank #1 in Europe was over 6 years ago in March 2010), followed by five superminis: the Renault Clio is #2 despite sales down 7%, the VW Polo is up 10% to #3 and now #2 year-to-date, the Peugeot 208 gains a splendid 17% thanks to its refresh at #4, while the Ford Fiesta (-16%) and Opel Corsa (-9%) disappoint gain. The Skoda Octavia shoots back up from #13 in March to #7 with sales up 11%, the Opel Astra is up 25% to #8 thanks to the new generation and the VW Passat is back inside the Top 10 at #9, up 7 ranks on last month.
Outside the Top 10, despite launching three years ago the Renault Captur is up another fantastic 17% to 18.844 sales, taking the lead of the SUV category off the Nissan Qashqai, down 5% to #14 and hurt by the tremendous success of its more recent cousin the Renault Kadjar, accounting for almost 1% of the overall European market. In the same category, the Hyundai Tucson has also hit the bullseye of European consumers’ tastes, ranking at #23. In fact, the SUV segment is now the most popular in Europe with 24% share vs. 22% a year ago, above superminis (21% vs. 23%) and compact cars (20% vs. 21%). The Fiat Panda (+14%), Toyota Yaris (+14%) and Skoda Fabia (+11%) also shine while the Audi A4 (+61%) reappears inside the Top 20 thanks to the new generation.
Previous month: Europe March 2016: Opel Astra and Fiat 500 shine in Top 10
One year ago: Europe April 2015: VW Passat leaps up to 7th place
Full April 2016 Top 20 models and Top 10 brands below.