Land Rover, Kia, Audi were Europe 2012 winners
European sales of the Range Rover Evoque tripled, making Land Rover the region's fastest growing brand last year.
European sales declined for the fifth consecutive year in 2012, falling 8 percent to 12.6 million. But not everyone suffered. Kia, Hyundai, Audi, Land Rover and Jeep bucked the downward trend because of fresh models in hot segments.
With sales up by 35 percent to 100,698 units, Land Rover broke its European record for volume and was the fastest growing brand in the region.
The main reason for the surge was high demand for the Range Rover Evoque.
Sales of the premium SUV maker's entry model tripled to more than 50,000. Land Rover expects 2013 to be another good year because the Evoque remains a hot seller and the brand will launch the fourth-generation Range Rover.
Another SUV maker, Jeep, was Europe's second fastest growing band last year, up 19 percent to more than 28,263 units. Jeep, which was Europe's fastest growing brand in 2011, was the only bright spot for parent Fiat. The Italian automaker's other brands all suffered double-digit losses in Europe in 2012.
Hyundai and Kia were the 2012 winners among volume brands in Europe. Kia grew 15 percent to 337,466 units while Hyundai rose 9 percent to 432,240, according to data from industry association ACEA.
If counted together, the Korean automakers' 769,706 sales would have made Hyundai-Kia Europe's eighth-largest player behind Volkswagen Group, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Renault, General Motors Europe, Ford, BMW Group and Fiat Group.
Skoda was the only other volume brand to increase sales after Hyundai and Kia. The VW Group Czech-based subsidiary increased its volume 2 percent to 491,951 units.
At the other end of the table, all French automakers suffered double-digit sales drops. Citroen and Peugeot each declined by 13 percent while Renault fell 22 percent. Opel/Vauxhall lost 16 percent and Ford fell by 13 percent in Europe. Japanese automakers also were hit by the slump. Toyota's sales declined 2 percent, Nissan fell by 6 percent, Honda slipped 6 percent and Mitsubishi had a 33 percent decline.
Audi No. 1 premium
Audi was Europe's top-selling premium brand in 2012. The VW Group subsidiary increased sales 4 percent to 704,219 units. BMW was No. 2 in Europe with flat sales at 641,083 vehicles while Mercedes-Benz ranked third as sales declined 1 percent to 586,631. Audi's success helped it pass volume carmakers Citroen and Fiat to finish last year at Europe's sixth-biggest brand overall.
In worldwide sales, Audi trailed BMW 1.54 million to 1.45 million. Mercedes was third at 1.32 million.
Looking back to 1995
While 12.6 million cars were sold in all of Europe last year, the volume for western Europe was 11.8 million vehicles. The last time carmakers roughly sold the same number of cars in western Europe was 1995. A lot has changed since then.
VW Group was already No. 1 but its market share was 16.8 percent. VW Group finished 2012 with a 24.5 percent share.
In 1995, U.S. automakers ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in Europe. Ford, which included Aston Martin and Jaguar 17 years ago, was No. 2 in European sales with a 13.7 percent share, ahead of General Motors' 13.1 percent share based on sales of the Opel, Vauxhall and Saab brands.
Last year, PSA was No. 2 with an 11.9 percent market share. Renault, including Dacia, was No. 3 with an
8.2 percent share. GM, which since 1995 ditched Saab but added Chevrolet, ranked fourth last year with an 8 percent share. Ford, reduced to the Ford brand only in Europe, was fifth with a 7.5 percent share.
Fiat was Europe's fifth-biggest auto group in 1995, with an 11.1 percent share. Last year, despite the addition of Chrysler Group's brands, Fiat ranked seventh with a 6.5 percent share. Fiat now trails BMW Group (BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce) in Europe.
BMW Group's 2012 share (6.6 percent) was higher than its share in 1995 (6.4 percent) even though its portfolio included the BMW, Rover and Land Rover brands 17 years ago.
You can reach Luca Ciferri at firstname.lastname@example.org.