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.

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