The latest batch of European new car registration statistics, released on 13 July, confirm that Volkswagen was the EU’s biggest selling car maker over the first six months of 2007, in a very slowly dwindling market. They also confirm the UK market as the third most important for European car-makers, even if it’s the developing markets further east that show the most growth.
VW: away and clear
Some 846,887 new Volkswagens were registered across Europe during the first half of the year; nearest rival brand Opel / Vauxhall registered 727,933 cars. The gap between Europe’s top two, incidentally, was greater than the total EU registrations of Korean manufacturer Kia.Ford was third in the new car sales tally, recording 702,161 cars, and behind it ranked Renault (656,188 cars), Peugeot (611,952), Fiat (538,804) and Citroen (514,848).
Mercedes rules the premium market – just
It’s rarely been tighter at the top of premium segment. Buoyed perhaps by the positive PR effect of dumping the struggling Chrysler brand, Mercedes-Benz took class honours, shifting 374,341 units.However, Audi was only 31,000 cars behind, at 353,227 registrations, and BMW tantalisingly close behind, at 352,480 new cars.
Growth and decline
Outside the top-selling brands, the biggest growth came from Honda; with its new Civic and CR-V models now on stream, it recorded 169,546 registrations Europe-wide in the first half of 2007, a 17.3 per cent improvement over the same period in 2006. The biggest losers were Smart (down 31.3 per cent of registrations), Jaguar (down 21 per cent) and Nissan (down 13.3 per cent).