New car registrations in the 29 European markets analyzed by JATO Dynamics increased by 7.1 percent in September compared to the same month last year, with 1,495,815 units registered. This is the strongest September monthly sales result for 10 years. For the year to date, registrations were 11.6 million units, an increase of 7.7 percent when compared to 2015, the best result since 2008.
The strong result in September was driven by good performances in the majority of markets, but particularly Italy, Poland, Belgium, Austria and Spain, which recorded increases of 17.4 percent, 19.8 percent, 13.7 percent, 14.9 percent and 13.4 percent respectively. There was double-digit growth in 16 of the 29 markets analyzed and negative change in only three – Ireland, the Netherlands and Greece, which recorded decreases of 1.5 percent, 4.8 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.
In the segment ranking, SUV registrations exceeded 400,000 units for the first time in the history of European car sales. As a result, the market share for the SUV segment jumped from 23.3 percent to 26.9 percent. The SUV segment’s growth in market share had a knock on effect on the Subcompact (B-Segment), City-car (A-Segment) and MPV segments, which all showed negative market share growth. The Renault-Nissan Alliance maintained its lead in the SUV segment with a significant 21.7 percent share and continued to perform well, with volume up by 14 percent. Jaguar Land Rover continued to grow by outselling the mainstream players like PSA, Ford, FCA and General Motors.
Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented, “Following a return to growth in August, September’s results show that the automotive industry is continuing to benefit from a more stable economy and new product launches. The industry does face challenges, notably regarding investment considerations as a result of Brexit, but at present it remains buoyant.”
According to JATO Dynamics, the biggest surprise of the month came from premium manufacturers BMW and Daimler. BMW outsold Ford due to a 13 percent increase in overall volumes compared to the same period last year, and double-digit growth from all of its brands. Daimler similarly posted dramatic growth with its registrations up by 17.8 percent and it registered the highest market share increase of all manufacturers, with an increase of 0.61 percentage points. The Mercedes brand performed exceptionally well, it recorded a 17.8 percent increase on the same period last year and registered 91,572 vehicles in September which made it the best-selling premium brand in Europe for the month.
At a model level, the Volkswagen Golf continued to lead the market, registering 46,392 units in September which was enough to make it the best-selling model in the month. However, this was a 15.2 percent decline on the same period last year which is the biggest market share drop of the 473 models analyzed by JATO Dynamics.
Munoz concluded, “With SUVs continuing to dominate the market, this is having an impact on the performance of all manufacturers. Competition in this segment is increasing further, with no sign of this changing in 2017 as further SUV launches are set to hit the market.”