European car sales returned to growth in May after a one-month hiatus because of a late Easter. In May 2017, just over 1,4 million cars were sold in the European Union and EFTA, an increase of 7,4% on last year. This brings the year-to-date tally to 6,85 million sales, up 4,7% on the first five months of 2016. Of the five largest countries, four outgrew the market while the UK recorded its third consecutive monthly decline at -8,5%. In contrast, Germany (+12,9%) and Spain (+11,2%) showed double digit growth and France (+8,9%) and Italy (+8,2%) also improved with impressive figures. Besides the UK, only Ireland (-7,9%) and Greece (down a horrid 20,9% in May but still in positive YTD) declined, while Croatia was the biggest gainer (+34,1%), followed by Hungary (+28,6%) and Romania (+27,1).
If Volkswagen Group was the big volume loser in April with a loss of more thsn 28.000 sales, in May the company rebounds with an increase of over 25.000 sales, almost as much as the #2 and #3 fastest growing manufacturers combined, Renault-Nissan and Daimler AG. On the other end of the scale, Honda, Tata Motors with its Jaguar and Land-Rover brands and Mazda lose the most volume, although Honda is the only manufacturer to lose more than 1.000 sales year-on-year.
In relative terms, Tesla is the fastest growing manufacturer as it more than triples its sales on May 2016, while General Motors (without Opel/Vauxhall) more than doubles sales of Cadillac and Chevrolet USA. Aston Martin almost doubles its sales thanks to the new DB11. Honda is the biggest loser in relative terms as well, and the only manufacturer to lose with double digits at -13,1%. DRB-Hicom, which is rounding up the sale of its Lotus sports car brand to Geely, and Mahindra& Mahindra with its SSangYong brand are also among the fastest losing manufacturers.
At brand level, Mercedes-Benz is the big volume winner this month, ahead of Fiat and Volkswagen, while Lancia and DS almost tie for biggest volume losers. Lancia is virtually down to a single model in a single market and as the Ypsilon is starting to age, the brand will get into trouble. DS is eagerly awaiting the launch of its first crossover in Europe, the DS7 Crossback. Sadly for PSA, Opel/Vauxhall is also among the biggest losers in volume terms. In relative terms, Chinese/Italian brand DR Motor, DS and Mahindraall lose more than a third of their already small volumes in Europe.
At brand level, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota are the big winners so far this year, both with just over 42.000 additional sales, while Fiat also shows nice improvement. On the other end of the scale, DS has already lost more than 11.500 sales, while Honda and Opel/Vauxhall are also among the biggest losers. At the end of April, Volkswagen was the biggest loser in Europe, down more than 14.000 sales, but it rebounded in May and is now down by almost 3.200 sales.
In the May brands ranking, the top-3 remains unchanged from April, but thanks to a 15,8% increase Fiat jumps 4 places from #8 to #4, its highest ranking in Europe for more than 20 years. Opel/Vauxhall rebounds from its lowest ever 6th place to #5 but is the only brand in the top-10 to lose volume this month, while Peugeot drops from #4 to #7. Mercedes-Benz is the fastest growing brand in the top-10 with a gain of 20%, while Audi remains ahead of BMW and Skoda retains its top-10 position. Nissan rebounds from its lowest-ever 16th place to #13 while Dacia retains its place above Kia thanks to a 21,3% gain. Suzuki continues its winning streak with a 23,1% gain at #19 while Alfa Romeo and Maserati each add almost 50% to their volumes in 27th and 37th place respectively.
Year-to-date, Renault has already passed Ford again to reclaim the #2 spot it held for the Full Year 2016 and is likely to hold on to that place again this year. Despite spending two consecutive months inside the top-10, Skoda remains in 11th place behind Toyota. Similarly, Dacia has outsold Kia for two consecutive months but remains behind the South-Korean brand so far. Citroën leapfrogs Nissan to take 12th place. For the first time since 2009, Suzuki has sold more than 100.000 cars in the first five months of the year. Alfa Romeo distances Jaguar and Porsche moves ahead of Lancia and Lada leapfrogs Bentley.
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