Sales of Europe's best-selling cars fall faster than market in first half
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly used a photograph of a VW Polo to illustrate a caption on VW Golf sales. This photograph has been changed.
Demand for Europe's market-leading cars slumped by 10.4 percent in the first six months of the year, more than the overall market decline of 6.6 percent.
Eight of the top 10 cars posted a drop, according to figures released by market researchers JATO Dynamics, with the top-ranking Volkswagen Golf the least badly hit of those losing sales, falling 6.2 percent.
In the top 10, only the seventh-placed Nissan Qashqai SUV and the tenth-ranked BMW 3 series posted sales gains, the latter increasing 4.9 percent on the launch of the new model.
Six models saw demand decrease by more than 10 percent, with the sixth-placed Opel/Vauxhall Astra hit hardest with a 20.7 percent decline.
At the top, VW sold 240,020 Golfs in the first half, which helped VW remain the overall top manufacturer in Europe ahead of Ford and Opel/Vauxhall.
European sales for the first six months totaled 6.9 million, with only the UK and Germany posting a rise among the big five markets. France, Spain and Italy all saw a decline.
For the month of June, the only other model to post a sales increase aside from the 3 series and Qashqai was the Renault Megane, which rose 3.5 percent. According to JATO, the increase for the Megane was driven by demand for the 1.5-liter ECO2 diesel model in the Netherlands. A low-CO2 figure of 90 grams per kilometer means the ECO2 avoids the country's luxury purchase tax for cars.
"The performance of the Megane demonstrates how CO2 taxation can have a major impact on the customer's choice of car," said Gareth Hession, vice president of research at JATO. "With the EU pushing for lower CO2 emissions for 2020, this is a trend that will continue to influence the market."
2. Ford Fiesta 171,605 -12.8%
3. Volkswagen Polo 163,818 -14.1%
4. Opel/Vauxhall Corsa 149,553 -13.3%
5. Ford Focus 139,108 -7.9%
6. Renault Clio 130,638 -20.2%
7. Opel/Vauxhall Astra 129,774 -20.7%
8. Nissan Qashqai 114,586 +1.0%
9. Renault Megane 111,191 -14.7%
10. BMW 3 series 91,442 +4.9%
Source: JATO Dynamics
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