The Fiat group strengthened its position as the fastest growing automaker in Europe in September.
Fiats sales rose 17.8 percent to 893,240 units and the Italian automaker grabbed a 7.5 percent market share in the first nine months of the year, according to figures provided by ACEA, the Brussels-based European car manufacturers association. (See chart, left)
Its market share was 6.4 percent a year earlier.
The Fiat brand was the main catalyst in the groups growth, with sales up 22.8 percent to 686,253 units during the period.
The Fiat brands market share rose to 5.8 percent from 4.7 percent a year earlier, propelled by booming sales of the Grande Punto small car and a rising volume for the upper-medium Croma.
Alfa Romeo also gave Fiat group a boost. Its sales through nine months are up 10.3 percent to 111,993 cars.
Most other European volume brands lost share. The exception was Volkswagen brand, which increased its share to 10.6 percent from 9.7 percent.
Overall European sales fell 2.6 percent in September, the fourth consecutive monthly decline.
Through three quarters, sales for 23 European Union countries plus Switz-erland, Norway and Iceland were up a 0.1 percent to 11.85 million units.
Our original forecast was a plus/minus 1 percent for the whole year and now we are moving toward the minus 1 percent, said Philippe Houchois, head of European auto research at JP Morgan in London.
Houchois says the reasons for the overall slowdown are the continued decline in UK sales, down 3.5 percent through nine months, and a weaker than expected sales rebound in Germany.
You may e-mail Luca Ciferri at [email protected]