After car sales in Europe showed signs of a boom in May with an increase of 15%, the growth rate returns to a more modest level in June, up 6,4% to 1.493.929 sales. In the first half of 2016, European car dealers sold 8.026.798 vehicles, 8,8% more than in the same period a year earlier. As in the months before, the fastest growing markets are in the South and East of Europe, with Italy and Spain both showing double digit growth at +11,9% and +11,2% respectively, while Germans bought 8,3% more cars and the French just 0,8%. In the UK, sales were down 0,8%, as private sales dropped in preparation for the Brexit vote in the last week of the month. As a result of that vote, expect the UK market to decline even more for the remainer of the year and to have a negative influence on European car sales in the second half of 2016. In the first half, Italy has grown 19,2% and Spain 12,5%, followed by France (+8,3%), Germany (+7,1%) and the UK (+3,2%), while only The Netherlands (-3,6%) and Switzerland (-2,3%) showed declines.
Once again, Renault-Nissan adds the most volume of all manufacturers, followed by the luxury manufacturers Daimler and BMW, as Volkswagen Group sales are stable and Ford Motor Company, Mitsubishi Motors and PSA lose the most volume. In relative terms, AvtoVAZ is the fastest growing manufacturer for the second month in a row, followed by SAIC MG. These two brands still sell less than 500 units a month so such fluctuations in sales are not that difficult to accomplish, which makes the 43,3% increase at Honda even more impressive. The brand has been struggling for the past few years in Europe with a new product drought which has ended with the (late) introduction of the new Jazz and HR-V, but it will be difficult to return to former glory. The fastest shrinking manufacturers are DRB-Hicom which swings from big winner to big loser every month with its Lotus sports car brand (+34,5% in May, -50% in June), followed by Mitsubishi Motors and Tesla Motors.
Zooming in at brand level, we see that Renault is responsible for almost all of the growth of the Renault-Nissan Group, adding more volume than Mercedes-Benz and BMW combined, while Nissan actually loses volume. Its luxury brand Infiniti is the fastest growing brand again thanks to the introduction of the Q30 hatchback.
Volkswagen Group was the big winner in the first five months, but is passed by both Renault-Nissan and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles for the first half, the former adding almost 100.000 units to its volume in the period. Only four manufacturers lose volume, but not in large figures. Mitsubishi is the biggest loser in volume terms at just over 6.000 units and in relative terms Tesla shrinks the fastest at -15%.
For the third time this year, Volkswagen loses volume, but it remains the best selling brand in Europe. For the third consecutive month, Renault is the #2 brand while Ford drops from second place to fourth, behind Opel/Vauxhall for the first time in exactly 4 years, June 2012 being the last time the GM brand outsold Ford in Europe. BMW is the best selling luxury brand in June, with Mercedes-Benz not far behind, both brands showing double digit gains to relegate Audi into third place with flat sales. Fiat continues its strong form, despite dropping two places compared to May. Toyota stays ahead of Nissan and Dacia outsells Kia for only the second month this year. Mazda is the fastest growing brand in the top-20, and just outside that top-20 its fellow Japanese brands Suzuki and Honda also show impressive gains. Mitsubishi is struggling, though, now even outsold by Smart. After swapping places a few times last year, Jaguar has pulled clear from Lexus thanks to its two new models: XE and F-Pace.
In the first half of 2016, Renault has overtaken Ford to take second place in the brand ranking, behind Volkswagen. Audi holds on to its lead of the luxury segment, but Mercedes-Benz has leapfrogged BMW and both are closing in on their rival. After Nissan outsold for the first time last year, the two Japanese brands fighting for the title of best selling Asian brand in Europe have swapped 11th and 13th place again, while Citroën remains in between. Dacia drops behind Kia and Mini is kicked out of the top-20 by Suzuki, with Land Rover also moving past. After Mitsubishi outsold Honda for the first time last year, as it benefited from government subsidies on its Outlander PHEV while its Japanese rival suffered from a lack of fresh product, Honda strikes back with a 35,4% increase, the highest improvement in the top-30. Despite being down to a single model in a single market, Lancia manages to increase its sales with double digits and move past DS and Porsche. Jaguar doubles its volume and is now close behind Alfa Romeo, although the Italian brand will start to benefit from deliveries of its Giulia midsized sedan in the second half.
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