The European car market has celebrated its 12th consecutive month of year-on-year growth in August, as holiday season brought car sales to a virtual halt. A volume of just over 700.000 units means a 2,5% growth on last August, but a 35% drop when compared to July.
As August car sales are particularly soft in its home market of Italy, Fiat-Chrysler sees its July sales almost cut in half the following month. However, this is no reason to panic, as it is a yearly returning phenomenon, as the whole country comes to a virtual halt for four weeks during the holidays.
After writing about Volkswagen’s dominance of the European car market just last week, the VW Group confirms its supremacy by claiming a record market share of 27,95% in August, up a full percentage point on the previous record, which lasted no longer than a single month. This strong performance is fueled mainly by the Volkswagen and Skoda brands, as Seat sales were up just 5,5% in August (compared to 12,2% Year-to-Date) and Audi even lost volume for the first time this year.
Ford enjoyed an excellent month of August thanks to strong sales of the facelifted Focus and of the Kuga midsized crossover, which is closing in on the Kia Sportage in that segment.
Chevrolet stocks are starting to dry up in most countries and won’t be replenished, so sales have all but come to a full stop in Europe, as the brand looks set to withdraw from the European market one year ahead of schedule. This drags down General Motors, as a healthy 7,3% increase at Opel/Vauxhall can’t make up for the 95% drop at Chevrolet.
Renault and Dacia also had a relatively weak month, the former losing volume for the first time this year on weak sales of its ageing Megane compact and Scenic midsized MPV models, and the latter showing the weakest growth figure of the year. The first deliveries of the new generation Twingo have been unable to offset these losses, even though the French minicar has already outsold the Hyundai i10 and looks set to surpass the Volkswagen Up! in the next few months as well.
For the second month in a row, Toyota suffered a loss as most of its core models are down on last year, with the exception of the recently facelifted Yaris subcompact. Dealers are eagerly awaiting the second generation Aygo minicar, of which you should be able to see the results in the September sales ranking, as customer deliveries have started that month.
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