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Europe May 2018: SUVs soar 24.2%, Volkswagen, Jeep and Dacia strong

The VW Tiguan overtakes the Nissan Qashqai to become Europe’s #1 SUV in 2018. Picture Quattroruote

* See the Top 25 best-selling brands and models, Top 5 Hybrid, PHEV and EV models by clicking on the title *

Balancing out a particularly strong uplift in April (+9.3%) led by additional selling days, May sales in Europe 27 markets (excluding Russia and Turkey) only edge up 0.5% year-on-year to 1.434.000 units mainly because of, this time, less selling days than in May 2017. Far from indicating a cooling of the European market, this month is the second highest May score in history, only 10.000 units or 0.7% below the record of 1.444.000 deliveries set in May 2007. The year-to-date volume is now up 2.5% to 7.031.000, the highest level after five months this century. Among the main European markets, Germany (-5.8%) and Italy (-2.3%) are in negative whereas Spain (+5.9%), the UK (+3.4%) and France (+0.1%) grow. Romania (+43.3%), Lithuania (+33.2%), Hungary (+17.4%), Greece (+16.9%) and Finland (+12.8%) brilliantly manage double-digit gains while on the other end of the scale Norway (-8%), the Czech Republic (-4.8%), Luxembourg (-3.2%), Switzerland (-3%) and Portugal (-1.4%) are the other markets in decline.

The Dacia Duster posts the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 25 at +30.8%.

JATO Dynamics data including 17 markets conform the diesel demise with a 19% year-on-year freefall to just 36% share vs. 45% a year ago in May 2017. Reversely, petrol sales are up 15% to 56% share vs. 49% a year ago. Alternatively fuelled soar 27% to 5.3% share vs. 4.2% in May 2017. Like in May, Toyota monopolises the Top 4 spots in the hybrid models ranking with the C-HR in the lead ahead of the Yaris, Auris and RAV4. The Mitsubishi Outlander reclaims the PHEV pole position it holds year-to-date, distancing the VW Passat, BMW 5 Series and Volvo XC60 with BMW also placing the 3 Series at #5. Finally in the EV models ranking, the Renault Zoe edges back past the Nissan Leaf for just 53 units, but the latter remains in the YTD lead while the Tesla Model S is back in the Top 5. Once again, SUVs are the clear engine of growth in Europe with sales soaring 24.2% year-on-year whereas the rest of the market is down 8.5%. SUVs are the best-selling segment in 23 of 27 markets. Sub-compact SUVs are up 37% to 182.000 while compact SUVs are up 23% to 208.600.

Renault Captur sales are up 25.8% year-on-year.

In the brands ranking, leader Volkswagen vastly outpaces the market to post the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 12 at a stunning +7% to over 170.000 units. Renault (+4.6%), Ford (+1%) and Peugeot (+4.5%) follow and all also beat the market. However the rest of the Top 10 is in negative, with Fiat (-11.5%) once again hit the hardest followed by Mercedes (-7.9%), BMW (-7.4%), Audi (-5.3%), Opel (-3.8%) and Skoda (-0.8%). Jeep doubles its sales year-on-year thanks to the arrival of the Compass and is by far the best performing carmaker in the Top 25 ahead of Seat (+26.5%), Dacia (+14.2%) and Suzuki (+10.3%). Kia (+8.2%), Hyundai (+4.1%), Honda (+3.6%), Toyota (+2.8%) and Mitsubishi (+2.5%) also resist relatively well whereas Nissan (-14.5%), Mazda (-4.2%) and Land Rover (-3.1%) struggle.

The Peugeot 3008 continues to improve at +26.3% this month.

Model-wise, the VW Golf puts an end to 13 consecutive months of year-on-year gains with a 4.3% drop this month but remains comfortably on top, distancing the Renault Clio (+4.7%) whereas the VW Polo (-8%) and Ford Fiesta (-8.4%) post worryingly paltry scores given both nameplates now have an entirely new generation in dealerships across the continent. The VW Tiguan (+4.5%) brilliantly maintains itself in the monthly Top 5, also earning a YTD Top 5 ranking and overtaking the Nissan Qashqai to snap the title of best-selling SUV in Europe so far in 2018. The Dacia Sandero (+5.8%) edges up one spot on April to #6, its second best-ever European ranking below the #5 it hit in August 2017 and its 5th European Top 10 finish – add May 2017 (#10), July 2017 (#7) and April 2018 (#7). The Ford Focus (+27.8%) and Renault Captur (+25.8%) easily lodge the largest gains in the Top 10 while below, the Dacia Duster (+30.8%), Peugeot 3008 (+26.3%) and Seat Leon (+14.4%)

The Lamborghini Urus has landed in Europe.

The VW T-Roc tops recent launches (<12 months) for the third consecutive month but is stuck at #26, its best European ranking so far. The Citroen C3 Aircross follows, once again inside the Top 50. Fast forward to the bottom of the ranking and more “exotic” launches appear, such as the Kia Stinger (394 sales), Alpine A110 (194), Peugeot Rifter (96), Mitsubishi Shogun Sport aka Pajero Sport (30), Jaguar i-Pace (22), Ferrari Portofino (20) and the much anticipated Lamborghini Urus selling its very first two units on the continent this month.

Previous post: Europe April 2018: Discover the Top 357 models and Top 54 brands

Previous month: Europe April 2018: Volkswagen soars 21.4%, highest market in a decade

One year ago: Europe May 2017: Market up 7.5% to second largest May score

Full May 2018 Top 25 brands, Top 25 models and Top 5 Hybrid, PHEV and EV models below.

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