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The European new car market posts a euphoric 15% gain in May to 1.326.958 registrations, boosted by very dynamic performances in four of its five largest markets: Italy (+28%), France (+22%), Spain (+19%) and Germany (+12%). Greece (+49%), Lithuania (+47%), Hungary (+45%), Czech Republic (+34%), Cyprus (+31%) and Estonia (+30%) also record impressive gains while only two markets out of 29 post a decline: Ireland (-6%) and Switzerland (-7%). This is the biggest May score since 2012, lifting the year-to-date total up 10% to 6.582.810 units. SUV sales across the continent are up 29% to hit 24.4% of the market, now frankly ahead of the once-dominabt subcompacts at 22% (+11%).
Once again scandal-embroiled Volkswagen trails the market with a shy 4% increase to 148.635 sales and 11.2% share, the brand’s lowest for May since 2008. According to JATO Dynamics, Volkswagen SUVs are down 14% and its compact cars down 3%. French manufacturer Renault on the other hand is one of the continent’s engines of growth this month with sales up a stellar 34% to 101.476, buoyed by its home market where it gains 33%. Ford (+5%) and Opel/Vauxhall (+11%) are handicapped by a hesitant UK market and lose share while Peugeot is up 17% in 5th place and Fiat up a fantastic 26% to #7. Again contrasting with its mass market stablemate, Audi shines bright with sales up 19%, winning the luxury race again ahead of Mercedes (+13%) and BMW (+22%)
If the VW Golf posts a 74th consecutive month in the models ranking position, declining sales pull the star nameplate to its lowest European market share since June 2011 at 3.2%. Reversely, the Renault Clio is up 25% to cling the #2 spot both in May and year-to-date, distancing segment competitors the VW Polo (+16%), Opel Corsa (+10%), Ford Fiesta (-9%) and Peugeot 208 (+30%). The Opel Astra is up 18% to land in 7th place, its highest European ranking since July 2013. The Renault Captur surges 31% to break into the Top 10 for the first time this year and the 5th overall at #9, outselling the Nissan Qashqai to remain the best-selling SUV in Europe for the 2nd time running and the 4th time ever. Below, the Fiat Panda (+20%), Toyota Yaris (+20%), Peugeot 2008 (+24%) and Dacia Sandero (+32%) also frankly outpace the market.
Previous month: Europe April 2016: Volkswagen (+2%) lags in market up 9%
One year ago: Europe May 2015: VW Passat confirms Top 10 spot
Full May 2016 Top 10 brands and Top 20 models below.