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Europe September 2019: Volkswagen, Renault, Tesla lift market up 14.4% on 2018 but still down -12.3% on 2017

The T-Cross is instrumental in Volkswagen’s European recovery this month.

06/11 update: Now with the Top 55 brands and Top 390 models

29/10 update: Now with the Top 100 models (Source JATO)

25/10 update: Now with the Top 25 brands and models (Source JATO)

The European new car market soars 14.4% year-on-year in September to 1.28 million units, leading to a year-to-date tally down -1.6% to 12.08 million. EV sales soar 119% to 40.700 units, mainly thanks to Tesla as we’ll see further down, hybrids are up 26% and PHEVs up 27%, meaning alternative fuelled vehicles hold 10% of the European market in September vs. 7.8% a year ago Petrol holds 59% vs. 58% and Diesel is at 29% vs. 33%. The overall market surge has nothing to do with a potential resurgence of the market but is only due to a particularly poor post-WLTP year-ago comparison set. If anything, this September volume is actually pretty weak as it pales in comparison with September 2017 (-12.3%), a more realistic benchmark at 1.47 million units and amounts to the 2nd lowest September volume since 2014. Among the Top 5 markets, Germany (+22.2%), Spain (+18.3%) and France (+16.6%) outpace the continent’s growth rate, with Italy (+13.4%) just below and the UK (+1.3%) vastly underperforming. Romania (+118.2%), Sweden (+40%), Denmark (+32.6%), Belgium (+31.6%), Poland (+29.4%), Finland (+29.3%) and the Netherlands (+29.1%) are the largest gainers this month whereas Lithuania (-29.4%), Iceland (-23.5%) and Bulgaria (-8.6%) are the only markets in decline (the latter two sourced with ACEA figures).

Renault sales are up 30.3% year-on-year in September.

In the groups ranking according to ACEA figures, having abused the pre-WLTP “fake sales” game a year ago and consequently in total freefall in September 2018, the VW Group (+46.8%) logically recuperates spectacularly, with Volkswagen (+57.6%), Seat (+53.3%), Audi (+38.3%), Skoda (+20.5%) and Porsche (+231.3%) all advancing faster than the market. The PSA Group (+4.3%) remains in 2nd place but posts a muted gain paradoxically due to its WLTP-readiness a year ago that prevented any significant disruption: Peugeot (+2.8%) and Opel (+1%) edge up while Citroen (+12.7%) is a lot more dynamic. Renault-Nissan (+16.4%) is the other extravagant gainer this month for the same reasons as VW: it had overplayed the pre-WLTP stock clearance game last year. Renault (+32.3%) and Dacia (+25%) soar but Nissan (-5.4%) and Mitsubishi (-3.9%) drop. FCA (+12.8%), the Geely Group/Volvo (+9.3%), Ford Motor (+8.5%), Daimler AG (+6.9%), Toyota Motor (+6.7%) and Hyundai-Kia (+6%) all post solid gain yet are below the market growth while the BMW Group (+0.2%) underperform quite markedly.

Tesla hits a new European volume record in September.

Looking at the brands ranking in detail, below Volkswagen (+57.6%), Mercedes (+10.4%) manages to remain at a record 2nd place above Renault (+32.3%) and Ford (+6.7%) ensuring the Top 4 is identical to August ahead of Opel (+1%) up 3 spots on last month while BMW (-6.2%) is back up 5 ranks on August to #6 despite being the only Top 14 brand to lose ground year-on-year. Hyundai (+10.6%) makes a rare appearance in the Top 10 at #10 vs. #14 YTD, with Kia (+6.2%) in tow at #12 vs. #16 YTD. Despite posting some of the largest gains in the Top 20, Audi (+38.3%) is down 9 spots on August to #14 while Seat (+53.3%) is down 4 to #16. Further down, notice also Tesla (+257.4%) up to a record #21 with an all-time high volume (19.564), Lexus (+32.4%), DS (+30.5%), Alfa Romeo (+25.9%) and Lancia (+23.3%) all posting fantastic gains.

The Mercedes A-Class hits a record 4th European place in September.

The models ranking gets a complete reshuffle compared to August, mainly because in September, the UK is by far the largest market in the continent above Germany (343.000 vs. 245.000) and tweaks the ranking its way. The VW Golf (+116.4%) holds onto the top spot above the Opel Corsa (+15%) up 7 spots on last month, the Renault Clio (+13.4%) up 4 and the Mercedes A-Class (+27.5%) up 15 ranks on August to a new record #4 overall, eclipsing the #6 spot it hit exactly a year ago in September 2018. Also strong sellers in the UK, the Ford Fiesta (-1.1%) is up 10 spots on last month to #5, the Ford Focus (+71.2%) up 14 to #6 and the Nissan Qashqai (+39.4%) up 4 to #7. The VW Tiguan (+133.7%) is down 5 spots on August to #8, with the Toyota Yaris (-8.6%) and Citroen C3 (+8.9%) rounding out the Top 10.

The Mini is up to #13 this month, a new record.

Only 252 sales off a historical first ever European Top 10 finish, the Tesla Model 3 is up 57 spots on last month to a record 12th place with over 17.500 sales, smashing its previous records of #27 and 15.755 established last March. The Mini Hatch (+28.5%) also surfs on its UK success to soar 31 ranks on August to #13 which we believe to be a new record for this generation of the Mini, with its previous best being #18 in September 2016. The Toyota Corolla (+1421.2%) is back inside the Top 20, with the Dacia Duster (+49.7%), BMW 3 Series (+28.1%), Opel Astra (+22.5%) and Fiat 500 (+17.5%) also positing strong gains in the remainder of the Top 25. The VW T-Cross (#31) is down 13 spots on August and drops to #2 newcomer ahead of the Skoda Scala (#98). Below the Model 3, the Renault Zoe (3.555) is the #2 best-selling EV in Europe ahead of the Nissan Leaf (3.124), BMW i3 (3.048) and VW e-Golf (2.507). The Toyota Corolla (11.561) is the best-selling Hybrid for the month above the Toyota Yaris (9.008), C-HR (7.919), RAV4 (7.810) and Range Rover Evoque (4.926). The Mitsubishi Outlander (2.459) remains the best-selling PHEV, distancing the BMW 3 Series (1.666), 2 Series Active Tourer (1.566), Volvo XC60 (1.498) and Mini Countryman (1.476).

Previous month: Europe August 2019: Dacia Duster surges to #2 overall, VW T-Roc #4 in WLTP hangover (-8.7%)

One year ago: Europe September 2018: Post-WLTP knocks VW (-52%), lifts Opel to #1

Full September 2019 Top 10 groups, Top 55 brands and Top 390 models below.

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