New-car sales in Europe surged 13 percent in December 2013, the biggest monthly increase in nearly four years. Registrations in December 2013 soared to 948,090 vehicles in the EU and EFTA markets, according to industry association ACEA. Full-year sales dropped almost 2 percent to 12.3 million, which is considered more modest than many in the auto industry had feared.
French carmaker Renault posted a 29-percent surge in sales in December, thanks to a 48-percent hike at its low-cost Dacia brand. Volkswagen Group logged a 22-percent sales growth, with double-digit growth from its Audi, Skoda and Seat divisions. Ford, meanwhile, logged a 20-percent hike in registrations while Toyota posted an 11-percent increase.
Struggling carmakers PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Fiat grew 9 percent and 2 percent, respectively, in December 2013. General Motors also saw its sales surge 13 percent thanks to a 22 percent jump at its Opel/Vauxhall unit that countered a 29-percent drop in Chevrolet. BMW Group, however, posted a 6-percent fall in sales in the EU and EFTA last month with the BMW brand dropping 5 percent and Mini diving 10 percent.
Audi, meanwhile, surged 17 percent. Daimler logged sales growth of just over 1 percent as its Mercedes brand fell 2 percent and Smart gained 8 percent. Mercedes was the only German luxury brand that posted full-year gains in 2013. Carmakers are expecting a gradual recovery in European demand in 2014.