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Europe February 2020: Renault Clio snaps first win since October 2006, Toyota (+11.1%), BMW (+4.1%) shine again in market down -7%, bracing for heavy losses

The Renault Clio signs its first European win in over 13 years.

06/04 update: Now with Top 56 All-brands and Top 340 All-models.

27/03 update: Now with the Top 100 models.

26/03 update: Now with actuals for the Top 25 brands and models.

February volumes in Europe, down -7% year-on-year to 1.066.794 across EU, EFTA and UK markets according to final JATO Dynamics figures, evolve very similarly to January as the counter-effect of sales pulled forward to last December to avoid stricter EU regulations continues to hit. This is the lowest February result since 2015, and the year-to-date tally is now down -7.3% to 2.194.706 units as the Continent braces for devastating losses in March just as its largest markets (Germany, France, Italy and Spain) are now in complete lockdown for the rest of the month to try and contain the spread of the Coronavirus. We expect year-on-year losses ranging from -50 to -90% for these four markets and similar April figures as strict lockdown measures are likely to be extended.

In February, only 8 out of 27 markets covered by ACEA are in positive: Lithuania (+36.9%), Cyprus (+15.9%), Portugal (+7.4%), Greece (+4%), Finland (+2.3%), Latvia (+1.2%), Croatia (+0.5%) and the Netherlands (+0.3%). The worst offenders are Bulgaria (-29.2%), Romania (-26.8%), Denmark (-19.5%), Switzerland (-13.8%), Iceland (-13.3%) and Poland (-12%). Year-to-date, once again Lithuania (+36%) and Cyprus (+15%) perform best followed by Greece (+5.2%), Croatia (+2.3%), Hungary (+1.2%), Estonia (+0.6%) and Portugal (+0.5%). In contrast Romania (-18.1%), Bulgaria (-16.2%), Denmark (-15.7%), Iceland (-14.8%) and Poland (-13.1%) struggle.

For the 2nd month in a row, Toyota is the only double-digit gainer in the Top 25. Picture

Group-wise, the VW Group (-4.4%) resists better than the market as opposed to the PSA Group (-8.5%) and Renault-Nissan (-12.1%) on the podium. Hyundai-Kia (+0.3%) edges up to score the only uptick among the Top 5 Groups in Europe, just as FCA (-6.9%) almost exactly matches the market. In fact only four Top 10 groups are in positive this month, led once again by Toyota Motor (+12.7%) surging thanks to its hybrid lineup perfectly positioned to face the new, stricter EU emissions targets put in place in January. The BMW Group (+2.1%) and Geely/Volvo (+0.5%) also shine but Ford Motor (-20%) and Daimler AG (-11.9%) both sink.

Over in the brands ranking, Volkswagen (-8.6%) is in difficulty but easily retains the top spot ahead of Peugeot (-3.7%) and Renault (-6.6%) for a podium unchanged on January. Mercedes (-2.8%) advances to #4 but once again it’s Toyota (+11.1%) that posts the best performance and the only double-digit gain in the Top 25 even though it drops two spots on January to #6 overall. BMW (+4.2%) is the only additional gainers in the Top 10, just as Ford (-19.9%), freefalls and Fiat (-0.05%), Skoda (-3.4%) and Audi (-5.7%) resist. Further down, DS (+106.9%), Porsche (+70.6%), Lexus (+50.9%), Kia (+8.9%), Seat (+8%) and Lancia (+2.3%) are the only bearers of good news in the remainder of the Top 30 while Suzuki (-32.5%), Jeep (-32.2%), Mazda (-30.9%), Dacia (-29.8%) Honda (-23.6%), Opel (-20.3%) and Tesla (-12.6%) crumble. Among smaller brands, MG (+91.1%), Mahindra (+43.2%), Bentley (+36.3%), Ferrari (+26.1%), Rolls Royce (+17.6%) and Lamborghini (+9.3%) stand out.

The Fiat Panda breaks into the European Top 5 for the 3rd time in 17 years.

The models ranking has a surprise new leader this month: the Renault Clio (-4.4%) which is relatively unexpected since it is currently taking a beating at home by the Peugeot 208 (+7.5%) itself also boosted up by its new generation to its first European podium finish since February 2018 (#3). The Clio outsells the VW Golf (-22.1%) for just 179 units, taking advantage of the Golf’s generation changeover and a proportionately stronger French market within Europe at the start of the year. It is the first time in over 13 years that the Clio is #1 across Europe and the 5th time overall after September 1991April, June and October 2006. In contrast for the VW Golf, it is only the 6th time in the past 12 years and the 8th time in the past 150 months that it doesn’t hold the monthly top spot. The previous ones over that period are September 2007 (Opel Astra), February and March 2008 (Peugeot 207), March 2009, 2010 and 2017 (Ford Fiesta), September 2018 (Opel Corsa) and February 2020 (Renault Clio).

Just outside the podium, the Opel Corsa (+7.6%) lifts 3 ranks on last month to #4, also propped up by the new model. Helped by a traditionally proportionately stronger Italian market within Europe over the first two months of the year, the Fiat Panda (+9.8%) shoots up 6 spots on January to break into the European Top 5 for the 3rd time since the Panda nameplate relaunched in 2003 after February 2009 and February 2017. Quite strikingly, the next 10 models all faster than the market, with the VW Polo (-28.4%), VW T-Roc (-21.9%), Citroen C3 (-17.9%) and Ford Fiesta (-17.1%) hit the hardest. The Toyota Corolla (+498.9%) is down 4 spots on January to a still impressive #16, while the VW T-Cross (#21) remains the only recent launch in the Top 25. The BMW 3 Series (+73.5%), VW Passat (+52%), Hyundai Kona (+17.5%), Fiat 500 (+15.3%) and Opel Crossland X (+15%) also impress and the Ford Puma breaks into the Top 50 for its 2nd month in market (#44), distancing the Skoda Kamiq (#55), Scala (#76), Mazda CX-30 (#83) and Kia Xceed (#99) among recent launches.

Previous month: Europe January 2020: Toyota (+11.9%), BMW (+9.5%), Audi (+9.1%) defy market down -7.6%

One year ago: Europe February 2019: First Top 10 finish for the VW T-Roc, Citroen C3 up to record #4 in market down just -1.3%

Full February 2020 Top 10 groups, Top 56 All-brands and Top 340 All-models below.

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