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Europe May 2019: Germany pulls market to first gain in 9 months (+0.04%), BMW shines, Fiat 500 hits record ranking

BMW sales surge 15.1% year-on-year in Europe in May.

This article has been updated with the Top 55 brands and Top 355 models.

Preliminary figures from ACEA covering the European Union and EFTA – 30 markets show a first uptick in 9 months at a tiny +0.04% to 1.443.708 units vs. 1.443.127 in May 2018. This is the highest result for the month in 12 years and the 2nd-highest in history below an estimated 1.450.000 in May 2007. The JATO Dynamics group of 27 markets reports a +0.2% increase to 1.44m units, also the 2nd highest in history below 2007 (also 1.44m). The year-to-date tally now stands at 6.935.028 vs. 7.077.244 at the same stage a year ago, a 2% drop. Germany (+9.1%) can claim sole responsibility for this uptick, with France (+1.2%) the only other main market in positive just as Italy (-0.9%), Spain (-4.6%) and the UK (-4.6%) skid down. Among smaller markets, Romania (+12.6%), Poland (+11.2%), Greece (+10.9%), Hungary (+10.4%) and Bulgaria (+10.1%) fare best, whereas Iceland (-29.5%), Denmark (-15.3%), Sweden (-15.3%) and Finland (-12.8%) are hit the hardest.

The Fiat 500 smashes its European ranking record at #6.

In terms of segments, SUVs are clearly responsible for the May market growth with sales up 10% to 534.700 units according to JATO Dynamics, improving their market share to 37.2% vs. 34% a year ago in May 2018. Year-to-date, SUV sales are up 8% to 2.56m. Small SUVs are the most dynamic at +13% to 209.600 with compact SUVs coming close at +10% to 225.900. These two sub-segments represent 81% of all SUV sales in Europe this month. The VW Group is the SUV leader this month with 123.100 units (+29%) ahead of PSA at 93.100 (+12%) and Renault-Nissan at 83.300 (-5%). Subcompact cars see their share thaw from 20% a year ago to 18.7%, compact cars from 17.6% to 17% and MPV from 6.3% to 5%. Meanwhile electrified cars surge 34% to 94.000 registrations in 18 markets for a 7.1% share vs. 5.3% in May 2018. Petrol holds 59% vs. 57% and diesel holds 32% vs. 36%.

Volvo sales are up 15.3% year-on-year in May.

According to ACEA data, the VW Group (-1.9%) easily remains on top despite a year-on-year drop, distancing the PSA Group (+4.1%) in excellent shape, a struggling Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (-5.4%) and FCA (-8.3%) and strong Hyundai-Kia (+2.3%) and BMW Group (+8%). Toyota Motor (+12.1%) and the Geely Group (+15.7%) post the largest gains among the Top 10 groups.  Brand-wise according to JATO Dynamics, leaders Volkswagen (-7.3%) and Renault (-10%) both post very poor results with Peugeot (+2.9%) the only carmaker in positive on the podium. Below Ford (-4.2%), Opel/Vauxhall (+1%) edges up but it’s BMW (+15.1%) that shows the best health in the Top 10 by far, helped by a 42.1% surge in Germany to lodge the only double-digit lift in the Top 10. Skoda (+4.8%) and Mercedes (+4.4%) are the only other Top 10 gainers, with Audi (-1.1%) and Fiat (-4%) both sliding down. Extending the scope to the Top 20, Volvo (+15.3%), Mazda (+13.5%), Citroen (+13.1%), Seat (+12.8%), Toyota (+12.6%), and Dacia (+7.9%) are the best performers, with Tesla (+187.6%), Alpine (+111.5%), Bentley (+75.1%), Lamborghini (+56.6%), MG (+49.4%), Mahindra (+44.8%), Mitsubishi (+24.7%) Lexus (+21.6%) and Lancia (+20.3%) shining beyond.

The Dacia Sandero equals its highest European ranking at #4.

The VW Golf (-11.8%) endures its 8th double-digit year-on-year drop in the past 9 month, seeing its advantage over the Renault Clio (+3.2%) reduce to under 3.200 units vs. almost 9.000 a year ago in May 2018. The new generation Clio is already here, whereas the new Golf may not end up pointing its bonnet before the start of 2020 despite VW CEO’s cries to the contrary, so we may see a Europe #1 model swap shortly… Including the Allspace variant (which JATO excludes from its totals), the VW Tiguan (-7.7%) is estimated to climb back on the podium, edging past the Dacia Sandero (+3.3%) equalling its record European ranking at #4 (also reached last November) even though a new model is supposed to hit dealerships within the next 6 months. The Skoda Octavia (+11.8%) reappears in the Top 5 for only the 2nd time in the past 18 months after last January.

Citroen sales soar 13.5% across Europe this month.

The hero of the month is arguably the Fiat 500 (+15.1%) loading up on rentals in anticipation for the Summer holidays, up a stunning 15 spots on April to reach #6, smashing the European ranking record of the second generation 500 launched in 2007. Its previous best was #10 hit in March 2014, June 2014, September 2014 and March 2016. The Dacia Duster (+21.7%) delivers the largest gain in the Top 10, whereas the VW Polo (-24.8%), Ford Fiesta (-8.5%) and Focus (-3.4%) struggle. Below, notice the Mercedes A-Class (+48.8%) and VW T-Roc (+40.3%) both very dynamic while the VW T-Cross (#56) becomes the most popular new launch. The Renault Zoe is the best-selling EV at 4.031 sales ahead of the Tesla Model 3 (2.802), BMW i3 (2.580), VW Golf (1.946) and Nissan Leaf (1.630). The Mitsubishi Outlander (3.257) is the most popular PHEV, distancing the Mini Countryman (1.120), BMW 5 Series (1.062), 2 Series Active Tourer (1.045) and Kia Niro and the Toyota RAV4 is the #1 hybrid at 10.410 units above the Toyota Corolla (9.014), C-HR (8.702), Yaris (7.887) and Kia Niro (3.115).

Previous month: Europe April 2019: BMW (+12.5%), Citroen (+14.7%), Dacia (+13%) convince in market tilted down -0.5% by UK

One year ago: Europe May 2018: SUVs soar 24%, Volkswagen, Jeep and Dacia strong

Full May 2019 Top 10 groups, Top 55 brands and Top 355 models below.

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