The new car market in the EU reached a new record for the month of September, underlining the economic recovery that has taken place across the Union and marking an end to the eight year financial crisis which began back in 2008.
In September, some 1,455,180 new cars were registered in the EU, a year-on-year increase of 7.2% and the highest total for September ever recorded.
The improvement was across the board, with the strongest year-on-year increases in Italy, where the market rose 17.4%, Spain, where it was up 13.9% and Germany where it increased by 9.4%. France and the UK showed more modest gains and were up 2.5% and 1.6% respectively.
Data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), showed that sales across Europe have been rising steadily since September 2013 - except for a slight drop in July - thus recovering from the all-time lows in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing economic depression.
However, the three-year growth pattern has not yet returned the overall market to pre-crisis levels, as it peaked at nearly 16 million units in 2007 before dropping by around 25% over the following six years.
But the trend is most definitely positive. New car registrations over the first nine months of this year have risen 8.0% year-on-year to 11.24 million units with growth in the big five markets of Italy (up 17.4%), Spain (up 11.5%), Germany (up 6.1%), France (up 5.7%) and the UK (up 2.6%). ACEA has forecast sales to reach around 14 million this year.
Amongst the vehicle makers, the biggest beneficiaries from Europe’s new car boom in September were Italy's Fiat and France's Renault in the mass-market segment. In the premium market, however, Germany's BMW and Daimler marques reported the biggest gains.
In September - as in previous months – Europe’s biggest carmaker, Volkswagen Group (VW) sold the most vehicles of all manufacturers, and its Group total of 331,749 new units in September was up 5.2% on the same month last year.
So far this year, the Group has sold 2,675,257 new cars, a 3.2% improvement over the first nine months of last year.
However, the company's diesel emissions controversy caused it to lose market share in the first nine months of 2016, dropping to 23.8% after reaching 24.9% in the same period last year.
The Volkswagen brand itself saw its market share fall from 12.1% in the first nine months of last year to 11.2% in the same period this year.
But, despite losing market share, the brand still proved to be very resilient in terms of volume and its total of 1,264,584 new cars in the first nine months of this year was still marginally ahead of the same period in 2015, when it sold 1,262,810 new units.
There were also strong performances from VW’s stable-mates, Audi, Skoda and Porsche, in September, with only SEAT showing a marginal year-on-year rise.
Audi was up 8.3% year-on-year in September to 79,643 new car sales across the EU, followed by Skoda with an 8.5% increase to 59,938. Porsche, meanwhile, was up 9.1% to 6,395 new cars sold, although SEAT recorded only a slight 0.4% rise to 28,607 new cars sold in the month.
Turning to other car-makers, the Renault Group produced a very strong September performance with an overall 18.7% increase in its monthly sales from 108,612 new cars sold last September to 128,934 sold this September. This was across both its Renault and Dacia brands.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also had a very strong performance in September with an overall increase of 14.5% to 89,563 new cars sold. So far this year, FCA Group has sold 757,256 new cars, a 15.7% improvement over the first nine months of last year.
The only major car maker not celebrating a bumper September sales performance was the PSA Group, Across its three main brands of Peugeot, Citroen and DS, it saw a 5.2% fall in the month from 133,940 new cars sold last September to 126,970 sold this year.
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