Jeep, Smart and Jaguar were the biggest winners last year among automotive brands sold in Europe, where overall vehicle sales rose 9.2 percent to 14.2 million, easily exceeding initial analyst expectations that the region’s volume would rise by a maximum of 3 percent.
The reasons for the better-than-expected sales were Europe’s overall economic improvement, better macro conditions, and “a natural catch-up process after the longest sales downturn Europe has ever suffered,” analysts at IHS Automotive said. Also helping were government stimulus packages and automaker incentives, IHS said.
Pushed by the Renegade small SUV, Jeep was the fastest-growing brand in the region with a rise of 113 percent. It’s the second year in a row that Jeep has been No. 1 in this category. Smart was No. 2 with a 72 percent increase that came because it added a new-generation Smart ForTwo and revived its ForFour nameplate. Rounding out the top three was Jaguar, which increased year-on-year sales 41 percent because of strong demand for its XE entry model.
The overall surge in European sales lifted 28 of the 33 brands tracked by European automaker association ACEA. In addition, 17 of the 28 grew more than the overall market.
The biggest loser was Chevrolet, which parent General Motors finished closing down in Europe, ending an 11-year run with full-year sales of just 3,521 vehicles.