Mainstream European carmakers have been hit by a huge sales decline, as new car sales crashed by nearly 10 per cent in February. The biggest losers in the worst single month for European sales since autumn 2010 were Renault, Peugeot-Citroën, Opel/Vauxhall, Fiat Group, Suzuki and Mazda. On the upside, Chevrolet, Mini, Mercedes, Jaguar and Land Rover all made significant sales advances. In the first two months of the year, Renault sales plummeted by 28.5 per cent to 129,455 units and Opel/Vauxhall was down 20.3 per cent to 113,554 units. Peugeot was down 18.3 per cent (125,525) and Citroen 12.8 per cent (111,650).

Fiat brand sales dropped 18.6 per cent and Alfa dropped 28.5 per cent to sales of just 16,466.Other double-digit losers included Toyota, Suzuki, Mazda and Seat. Honda and Mitsubishi were down 29.3 per cent and 27.5 per cent, respectively.

The biggest single gainer over January and February was Jeep, up 57.3 per cent, from a modest 2674 units to 4206. Land Rover leapt 54.5 per cent to 13,779 units on the back of runaway Evoque sales.

Jaguar was up 10.5 per cent and Mini 9.9 per cent. Kia jumped by 30 per cent, Chevrolet by 22 per cent and Hyundai by 11.7 per cent.