The European car market enjoys its 31st consecutive month of growth in March, but an increase of 6% is the second lowest relative improvement of the last twelve months, just ahead of last October’s +2,9%. This can be partially attributed to Easter falling in March instead of last year’s April, which means we’ve had fewer selling days. On an even more positive note, the 1,7 million sales volume was close to the March 2007 level. As traditional, and as predicted last month, the UK posts a strong volume in March, helped by the twice yearly change to the new license plates, as the UK takes 30% of total EU sales this month, compared to about 18,5% over the course of a full year. UK sales were up 5,3%, while the French car market grew by 7,5% and Italy is still on fire with an increase of 17,4%. Germany is the outsider of the large markets with sales down by less than a tenth of a percent, one of six countries to lose volume.
If Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles was the big winner in February, it keeps doing well in March even though Renault-Nissan adds even more volume. BMW is among the winners this month as well, adding over 12.000 units on the same month last year. On the other side of the spectrum, Mitsubishi continues to lose volume, and is joined by Ford and Tesla this month. At Ford, slowdown of its core hatchback line-up is not offset by growth of its MPV and crossover models, while Tesla suffers from a general slowdown in Norway, its most important market, and from buyers waiting for the updated version of the Model S. [Read more…]