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In April the European new car market (30 countries excluding Russia and Turkey) posts its largest year-on-year gain in the past 13 months at +9.6% to 1.35 million units according to ACEA, the largest volume for the month since 2008. This result is helped by the fact that all main markets lodge significant gains: Germany (+8%), France (+9%), Italy (+6.5%), the UK (+10.4%) and Spain (+12.3%) all evolve markedly above their April 2017 levels, some helped by additional selling days and strong private demand. Hungary (+38.9%), Lithuania (+38.9%), Greece (+24.2%), Norway (+24%), Finland (+17.5%), the Netherlands (+17.5%) and Slovakia (+15.6%) are the overall best performers with only Iceland (-11.8%) and Cyprus (-2.8%) in decline. Year-to-date volumes are now up 2.6% to 5.631.331 units, with Spain (+11%), Germany (+5%), France (+4.4%) and Italy (+0.2%) in positive among the main markets but the UK (-8.8%) in steep negative. Hungary (+32.2%), Greece (+26.1%), Romania (+25.4%), Lithuania (+23.5%), Bulgaria (+23.1%) and Croatia (+22.6%) are the best performers.
JATO Dynamics data including 18 markets show diesel registrations continue to implode in April at -13.2% to 453.500, going from 46% to 36.7% share while petrol sales gain 25% to 692.300 and see their share shift from 49% in April 2017 to 56% this month. Alternative Fuelled Vehicles are up 53.5% to 67.700 units and 5.5% share vs. 3.9% a year ago. The Toyota C-HR overtakes the Yaris to become the best-selling hybrid in Europe this month with the Auris, RAV4 and Kia Niro in tow, the Volvo XC60 outsells the VW Passat and Mitsubishi Outlander to snap the PHEV pole position and the Nissan Leaf passes the Renault Zoe to become the most popular EV with the BMW i3 and VW Golf following. SUVs surge 32% year-on-year and are the best-selling segment in 24 out of 27 markets, with double-digit gains in 25 markets led by a 116% surge in Croatia. They now account for exactly 1 in 3 sales in Europe at 33.3% share vs. 27.5% in April 2017 and 21.4% in April 2015. While compact SUVs gain 27%, the overall segment is being boosted by numerous new models in the small SUV category up 45%.
In the brands ranking, Volkswagen more than doubles the continent’s growth with a fantastic 21.4% surge to just under 162.000 sales. That’s the brand’s first double-digit gain since June 2015 (18%) and its largest in at least 4 years. Renault (+4.6%) is back to #2 but trails followers Ford (+13.7%) and Peugeot (+14.2%) when it comes to year-on-year gains. Mercedes (+0.6%) posts its first Top 5 finish since last November, distancing Opel (+2.6%) and Audi (-1%) while BMW drops 3.2% to #9. Skoda (+11.4%) is up four spots on March to #8 but Fiat (-8.8%) is hit hardest in the Top 10. Below, Jeep (+72.4%), Seat (+23.3%), Kia (+22.2%), Suzuki (+20.4%), Toyota (+20.1%), Dacia (+19.7%), Mazda (+16.3%) and Hyundai (+14.5%) shine.
Over in the models charts, the VW Golf signs a 13th consecutive monthly win and a 4th double-digit gain in a row at +12.3%, distancing the Renault Clio (+6.1%), VW Polo (+7%) and the Ford Fiesta scoring the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 10 at +32.6%. The Peugeot 208 (+7.7%) posts a 5th Top 5 finish in the past 7 months at #5 while at #6 the VW Tiguan (+1.1%) snaps back the title of #1 SUV in Europe ahead of the Renault Captur (+16.3%) at #8 and the Nissan Qashqai (+7.2%) at #11. But it’s the Dacia Sandero that arguably delivers the biggest surprise in the Top 10, up ten spots on March and 20.9% year-on-year to land at #7, the nameplate’s only fourth foray into the European Top 10 – all happening in the past 12 months – after May 2017 (#10), July 2017 (#7) and August 2017 (#5).
Further down, notice the Toyota Yaris (+35.6%), Dacia Duster (+26.1%) and Peugeot 3008 (+25%) while the VW T-Roc soars 13 spots to a new record #26. Among recent launches (<12 months), it distances the Citroen C3 Aircroos (#45), Opel Crossland X (#53), Seat Arona (#54), Opel Grandland X (#77), Kia Stonic (#94) and Hyundai Kona (#99). The Volvo XC40, Jaguar E-Pace, BMW X2, Range Rover Velar and DS 7 Crossback follow.
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