Minor dent in car sales
DESPITE the financial crisis, new car sales in Europe were down only 1.2 per cent last year.
More than 13.5 million new vehicles were sold in Europe. This compares favourably with a 2.6 per cent drop in Australia to 1.008 million.
Worst-hit countries were the debt-crippled economies of Portugal (-31 per cent), Greece (-30 per cent), Spain (-18 per cent) and Italy (-11).
The UK was down 4.4 per cent, while Germany was up 8.8 per cent, according to analysis from JATO Dynamics.
Research boss at JATO Gareth Hession says Germany is leading Europe in sales of new cars ‘‘as well as manufacturing models which appeal to consumers across the region.
‘‘This is even more impressive considering the challenges we saw in the overall European market during 2011.’’
The only other brands in the top 10 to increase sales were all German.
Volkswagen increased its market share by 9.1 per cent to 1.67 million to become Europe’s bestselling brand, ahead of Ford (-2.8 per cent) and Renault (-8.8 per cent). Bmwwas up 5.2 per cent and Audi 9 per cent. Mercedes sales were static.
Japan’s only representative in the top 10 was Toyota, with sales down 9.4 per cent because of supply issues caused by natural disasters in Japan and Thailand.
The VW Golf remained the top-selling car for the third year in a row, despite a 1.6 per cent drop in sales to 484,547. It was followed by the Vwpolo with sales up 0.5 per cent to 356,490 and Ford Fiesta, down 13.3 per cent to 348,465.
Other models that recorded significant sales increases in 2011 include the new Ford Cmax/ Grand C-max, Citroen C4, BMW X3 and the Kia Sportage.
Volkswagen became Europe’s top-selling brand last year, increasing its market share by 9.1 per cent to 1.67 million.