MUNICH -- European new-car sales increased by 9.8 percent in September with all major brands including Volkswagen showing gains.
Incentive schemes to buy new cars and scrap older ones and the continuing economic recovery across southern Europe helped to lift demand, industry association ACEA said in a statement today, raising total sales for the month in the EU and EFTA countries to 1.39 million cars.
VW Group's 8.3 percent gain in September was less than the overall market, causing the company's market share to drop to 23.3 percent from 23.7 percent a year earlier. Among group brands, Audi and Skoda had 10 percent gains, while VW brand's growth was 8 percent and Seat sales increased by 5 percent. Porsche's volume was up 51 percent.
The bulk of VW sales had occurred before the full extent of the diesel emissions rigging scandal engulfed the automaker. "While we are wary of drawing conclusions from data captured only a few weeks after the emissions scandal, we suspect dealers may be resorting to discounts to compensate for any decline in sentiment from consumers,” Kristina Church and Charles Coldicott, analysts at Barclays, said in a report this week.
- Download PDF, above right, for full numbers by brand, automaker and country.
Other mass-market brands had significant sales increases in September with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Renault both showing 5 percent gains. Ford's sales were up 8 percent while Opel group's volume rose by 6 percent.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' volume rose by 16 percent, helped by Fiat brand's 15 percent growth and Jeep sales soaring by 133 percent.
Among premium brands, BMW Group sales increased by 17 percent in September with BMW brand's volume up 14 percent and Mini sales up 30 percent. Daimler's sales rose by 19 percent with Mercedes-Benz up 13 percent and Smart up 131 percent. Through September, the Mercedes brand has nearly caught BMW brand with Mercedes unit sales at 554,354, just behind BMW brand's 554,822. Audi remained Europe's top-selling premium brand with 9-month sales of 590,719.
All major European markets show growth. In the UK, where the new-car market normally gets a boost in September due to the half-year change in registration plate numbers indicating how old a car is, sales rose 9 percent.
In Spain, sales increased by 23 percent and in Italy they were up 17 percent. Germany saw the smallest rise of any major market, up by 5 percent. France was up 9 percent.