After a 7% decline in January and a 2,6% decline in February, European new car sales were down by 3,7% in March 2019, to 1,76 million sales. For the first quarter of the year, sales are down 4,4% to 4,07 million units. Most of the decline can still be attributed to the after effects of the introduction of new fuel efficiency and emissions testing standard called WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedure) in September. March sales figures are traditionally heavily influenced by the UK market, for which this is the highest volume month of the year by far. Fortunately, despite all the uncertainties facing this market, its decline was not as bad as generally expected. However, all major European markets were in the red in March, as Italy posted the highest percentage drop (-9,6%), followed by Spain (-4,3%), the United Kingdom (-3,4%), France (-2,3%) and Germany (-0,5%). Just nine out of the 30 countries of the EU and EFTA showed growth in March, with the fastest growing markets Lithuania (+43,8%), Denmark (+33,2%), Norway (+27,6%), and Romania (+20,8%). In the first quarter registrations remained almost flat in Germany (+0,2%), while the other key markets performed worse than in the first quarter of 2018, most notably Spain (-6,9%) and Italy (-6,5%).
As in five out of the last six months, crossovers and SUVs are the only category to improve their sales volume year-on-year, with a 3,2% increase leading to a 36,9% market share. Sales of car models (hatchbacks, sedans, station wagons, coupes and convertibles) were down 6,3% to 56,6% market share while MPVs continued to slide, down 16,2% to 6,5% of the market.
Groups and brands
Big winner among manufacturers is once again Tesla Motors, both in absolute figures and in year-on-year growth as Tesla more than triples its volume on last year thanks to the start of deliveries of the Model 3. Geely Group ans SAIC are also among the big gainers, although the latter added just 700 sales on March 2018. In relative terms though, SAIC is growing by nearly 63% in March, ahead of Aston Martin at +26,1%. Among losers, Renault-Nissan takes the biggest volume hit at almost 20.000 fewer sales in March, with Ford and FCA also losing more than 17.500 sales on last year. Relatively, Subaru loses more than a quarter of its sales on March 2018, with GM down almost 20% on its handful of European sales and Mahindra & Mahindra down by 17,6%.
Among brands, Tesla adds the most volume with over 11.000 additional sales, but Dacia grows by 10.000 sales as well, followed by Audi finally in recovery mode at +4.633 sales. In relative terms, Mahindra more than quadruples its sales thanks to the KUV100, DR Motor more than triples up, just like Tesla. Nissan loses the most volume at almost -22.000 sales, with Ford and Fiat among the big losers as well, each down by more than 13.000 sales on March 2018, while Infiniti is the fastest declining brand, losing almost two thirds of its sales compared to last March and the brand has announced it will withdraw from the European market. Cadillac also loses almost 60% of its sales and Alfa Romeo is down by almost 44%, still hampered by the WLTP fuel economy standards introduced last September.
Year-to-date, Tesla is the big winner among manufacturers as well, with over 15.000 additional deliveries thanks to the arrival of the Model 3, with the two Chinese manufacturers Geely Group and SAIC also strong, although at a much lower level as Tesla, with nearly 5.000 and over 1.200 additional sales respectively. Renault-Nissan is the big loser at more than 43.000 lost sales, with FCA and Volkswagen Group also down by more than 34.000 sales on the first quarter of 2018. Relatively, Tesla Motors more than triples up while no other manufacturer more than doubles up, with SAIC Motor next best at +70% and Aston Martin at +39%. Among brands, besides Tesla and DaciaCitroën is a surprise winner at almost 6.000 extra sales.
As usual in March, the brands that are relatively overdependent on the UK market are boosted in the European rankings as well. That pushes Ford into 2nd place behind Volkswagen, but Renault is fewer than 600 sales behind the American brand, which is the second biggest loser in the top-10 behind Fiat. Opel/Vauxhall is up to 4th place ahead of Peugeot for the first time since last September. Mercedes-Benz stays the best selling luxury brand in Europe, ahead of BMW and Audi, but the latter is the only of the three to gain sales on March 2018. Audi also ends its 6-month losing streak that started when the WLTP standards were introduced in September. Fiat barely manages to hold on to its top-10 position ahead of Skoda, while Dacia continues to outsell both South-Korean brands in Europe. Nissan is the big loser in the top-30 and is now Europe’s #4 Asian brand behind Toyota and the Koreans. Mazda continues to struggle, but manages to outsell Suzuki for the first time since last September. Honda, in one of its most important months of the year in terms of sales, loses 17,3% and barely manages to outsell Mitsubishi despite being much stronger in the UK market. Tesla is knocking on the door of the top-25 behind Jeep but outselling Jaguar by a fair margin. Porsche continues to struggle since it stopped selling diesel-powered cars and SUVs, but Alfa Romeo is suffering even more.
Year-to-date, Ford jumps from 4th to 2nd place thanks to its higher share of the UK market which is relatively strong in March. However, Renaultis just 28 sales behind and will easily leapfrog the American brand next month, when the latter will be weaker again. Skoda drops 2 places in the YTD ranking after being passed by both BMW and Audi. The latter also passes Toyota, which now holds the red lantern in the top-10. Thanks to their strength in the UK market, Mini, Land Rover and Jaguar each jump a place in the YTD ranking, the former passing Jeep, Land Rover passing Mitsubishi and the latter passing Lancia.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.