December 2014 automobile sales in Europe increased 4,8%, which means car sales have increased every single month in 2014, for the first time in at least a decade. The full year 2014 increase stood at 5,25% to 12,94 million units, making it the best year of the last three years, but also still the third-worst since at least 1997. The UK market has been one of the biggest contributors to this growth, making up about a third of the whole continent’s added volume last year. And as the UK market is showing signs of a slowdown of its growth, and key markets like France and Germany seem unable to pick up speed, I don’t expect 2015 to become a blockbuster year like 2014 has been for North American autodealers.
Only seven major brands saw their sales decrease on 2013, while 22 brands grew faster than the market. Of the 2014 winners, Jeep (+69,5%) is expected to continue its impressive run in 2015, fueled by early signs of success from the small crossover Jeep Renegade, while Lexus will continue to reap the benefits of the NX compact premium SUV and Infiniti (+76%) should take profit from the addition of the Q30 compact premium car and QX30 compact premium SUV in the second half of the year. [Read more…]