Demand for premium, near-premium cars uplift sales of 4 European automakers

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 21, 2012

Audi, BMW, Citroen and Mercedes-Benz have resisted the descending trend in new-car sales in the European region last month due to the strong demand for near-premium and premium vehicles. According to the data from JATO Dynamics, these are the only brands which are part of the region's top 10 sellers to enjoy year-on-year sales profit in April. Specifically, BMW boosted sales by 3% to 55,008 vehicles last month. It has benefited from the success of its new-generation 3 series.

Similarly, Mercedes increased volume by 5% to 50,896 units in April, thanks to the strong demand for the new B class. On the other hand, the sales of Audi increased by 4% to 61,171 units. As for Citroen, April sales increased 5% to 61,782 units due in part to the success of its near-premium DS5 and DS4 models.

Even with the downward trend in sales last month, Ford and Volkswagen are still the top two carmakers in Europe in terms of volume in an overall market that declined 6% to 1.06 million, according to JATO. At VW, which is the biggest automaker in Europe, sold 139,124 vehicles in April, a drop by 8%. Renault also experienced a decline, specifically, 17% to 70,654 units.

Only two out of the 10 best-selling models in April experienced an increase in sales compared to the same month last year. One of these is the BMW 3 series, which is up 17%. The other model is the Fiat Panda, which rose 3%. The sixth-generation Golf, which was launched in 2008, saw its demand dropping 13% to 37,151 units last month. The compact maintained its No. 1 position despite the downward trend in sales, which is an ordinary scenario for a model nearing its end of the product cycle. Volkswagen intends to launch the next-generation Golf at the Paris car show in September.

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