Car sales in Europe have shown year-over-year growth for the 14th consecutive month in October, and with an increase of 6,3% to 1.110.857 sales, the growth rate seems to increase as well. The year-to-date growth of the car market after 10 months stands at 6,1% with almost 11 million units.
The manufacturers to add the most sales in October, and year-to-date are still the Volkswagen Group and Renault-Nissan, each helped by strong sales of all of their volume brands, with no exception. Interestingly in third place for adding the most volume last month is Hyundai-Kia, with the gains evenly spread between the two brands. Thanks to a strong month of October, the Hyundai brand is now in positive territory year-to-date for the first time in 2014.
General Motors continues to struggle as the 95% drop in Chevrolet sales isn’t offset by the impressive gains of Opel/Vauxhall in October. Toyota Motor Corporation is also down for the third time in 10 months, but still in the black year-to-date. Tata Motors is down slightly as a small increase of Jaguar sales couldn’t make up for the loss at Land Rover.
The UK-only Chinese manufacturer Nanjing-MG remains the fastest growing manufacturer (and brand) on the market, while Mitsubishi Motors has swapped places with Mahindra&Mahindra of India (thanks to the former South-Korean SUV brand SsangYong) for second and third fastest growing manufacturer.
On the other end of the scale, Proton is down almost half as its Lotus sports car brand has a weak month, while its year-to-date sales are still up on last year. Tesla is down year-on-year for the third straight month, as deliveries of the Model S sedan officially started in August 2013 and fulfilled months of pent-up demand in the second half of the year. The US brand is also still way up year-to-date, thanks to 6 additional months of sales.
At the brand-level, Dacia continues its impressive run, adding almost as many sales as Volkswagen, which means the French-Romanian brand is growing much faster relatively. Its 30% year-over-year increase isn’t enough for a top-3 position in relative growth, as Lamborghini, Maserati and Infiniti are much smaller in volume and are able to reach even larger relative gains. The two Italian luxury brands even manage to more than double their sales of last year thanks to successful new model launches.
In contrast, behind the obvious Chevrolet brand, Smart sees its sales more than halve, as the brand’s only model awaits its new generation, and the addition of a second model, the four-seat, four-door Smart Forfour. The DS brand is struggling as well, with sales down more than a third and as the three-model line-up won’t be renewed or expanded anytime as the French are pinning their hopes on cracking the lucrative Chinese luxury car market. But developing a premium compact crossover for the Chinese market and not bringing it over to Europe where these kinds of vehicles sell like hot cakes as well is the kind of mismanagement that can bring a car company to the brink of failure.
Renault has passed Opel/Vauxhall again to take third place in the brand ranking for October, the fifth time in ten months that the French brand outsells the GM Europe subsidiary, and it will have to push hard in the final two months of the year to finish 2014 in third place behind Volkswagen and Ford, which would be a nice boost on its way to become Europe’s number two car brand.
Mini has outsold Mazda for the first time this year and Suzuki for the second month in a row, as the new generation Mini three-door reaches showrooms. Expect more from the Brits when they add the five-door version and renew the Clubman station wagon, as they’ve set their goals to break the 200.000 sales barrier for the first time ever in 2016.
In the German premium battle, Audi has recovered from a weak month of September to get back ahead of BMW and Mercedes-Benz again in October, and it does so by a large margin, keeping the brand unthreatened in the leadership it has held since 2009.
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