April 2015 marks the 20th straight month that auto sales in Europe have gone up. This upward trend is being driven by a recovering economy and the arrival of new vehicles from Fiat Chrysler, Renault, and BMW. In a statement from industry association ACEA, we learned that there was a 6.9% increase in registrations in the EU and EFTA countries to 1.21 million vehicles compared to a year ago.
Sales for the first four months of the year went up by 8.1% to 4.85 million cars. This growth streak sets a record for the longest in the car market since 1990 when the ACEA started to gather figures. In addition, these gains are indicative of a revival after having hit its lowest in two decades in 2013. In the first quarter of this year, countries that used the euro experienced an acceleration of their economic growth.
As a result, business confidence in Germany reached a 10-month high. Notably, Germany is the largest economy in Europe and also represents the biggest car market. Improvements in sales were driven by SUVs such as the Jeep Renegade, the Renault Captur, and BMW X5.
Bankhaus Metzler analyst Jeurgen Pieper said that the car market in Europe has exceeded expectations, and its performance in April only confirms the trend. He also said that car sales have received a boost from the good performance of the European economies.
In April 2015, all of the major automakers in Europe reported improvements. Volkswagen Group posted a 5.4% increase in registrations while its core VW brand had a 5.6% increase. Porsche posted an 18.4% gain while Skoda had a 9.5% rise and Audi recorded a 3.7% climb.
Meanwhile, Seat sales dropped by 1.1%. Sales of PSA/Peugeot-Citroen grew 2.5%. In particular, the Peugeot brand did slightly better with a 5.8% growth outdoing Citroen’s 1.1% increase. Due to an outdated lineup, the new DS brand’s sales volume fell by 17%.
Renault said that it recorded a 15.3% rise in registrations with its core Renault brand’s volume rising quicker at 15.6% while Dacia got a 14.7% increase. Ford reported a 2.3% increase in registrations while Opel/Vauxhall sales went up by 5.7%.
Furthermore, Fiat Chrysler's group volume expanded by 13% as demand nearly tripled at the Jeep division and gone up by 9.7% at the Fiat brand, assisted by the new 500X SUV. Honda and Toyota were the only automakers in Asia that didn’t report improvements.
Nissan registrations went up by 9.3% while Hyundai climbed 8.6% and Kia grew 6.8%. With Toyota’s aging lineup, its brand volume decreased by 2.4%. Honda’s sales fell steeply by 25%.
BMW was able to increase sales by 12%, due mostly to a 34% rise at the Mini division, which has launched a five-door variant of its basic hatchback. The BMW brand recorded a 7.8% growth.
Daimler’s sales in Europe surged 7.8% as its Smart brand got a 56% increase in customers because of its revamped two-seat city car and new four-seat variant. Mercedes-Benz sales went up by 3%.
Volvo's volume got an 11% increase while Jaguar Land Rover sales went up by 17%. In a May 13 report, Max Warburton, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said that rebates have influenced sales amid “tough” pricing. He also said that the gains achieved by Italy are partly because of the rental cars, and that France's retail demand remains “tepid."