New-car sales rose 9.5 percent in Europe last month with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Renault, Daimler, Toyota and Kia beating the market average with double-digit growth while Volkswagen Group, mired in an emissions scandal, continued to lose ground.
Registrations rose to 855,466 cars in August in the EU and EFTA markets, industry association ACEA said in a statement, with recovering southern markets benefiting Fiat Chrysler and low-cost brands. ACEA said the August growth was an "impressive" performance for a seasonally slow holiday month.
Fiat Chrysler posted the biggest gain among major automakers with a 20 percent sales increase, helped by rebounding markets in Italy and Spain and 30 percent growth at its Jeep brand.
Renault Group sales rose 15 percent, boosted by a 39 percent gain at its Dacia low cost brand. Toyota's volume gained 18 percent while Kia' sales rose 16 percent.
VW Group, Europe's top-selling automaker, saw sales grow by 6.3 percent. Volume was boosted by 18 percent gain at Seat, which has just launched its first SUV, the Ateca. VW brand sales increased by 5 percent, Audi sales were up 6.8 percent and Skoda's volume grew by 2.9 percent. VW Group's market share fell to 26.0 percent for August from 26.8 percent year-on-year.
Sales by PSA Group, Europe's No. 2 automaker, rose a lackluster 2.8 percent, with Peugeot brand sales up 6.3 percent, but Citroen down nearly half a percent and DS sales plunging 15 percent on an aging lineup.
Among premium brands, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands showed a combined 17 percent gain. Sales at BMW Group including Mini advanced by 6.9 percent.
- Download PDF, above right, for sales by automaker, brand and country for August and 8 months.
Through the first eight months, industrywide registrations gained 7.8 percent to 10.1 million. VW Group's market share in the period narrowed to 24.1 percent, the lowest level since 2011 and down from 25.3 percent a year ago.
The European car market’s gains in August extend a recovery that began after sales hit a two-decade low in 2013 following the global financial crisis. The upswing is expected to lose steam as the region’s economic outlook dims in the wake of the UK's vote to leave the European Union. An index measuring consumer sentiment in the EU's 28 countries fell in August to 103.8 from 104.7 a month earlier, according to the European Commission.
August numbers were bolstered in part by an extra selling day in most markets compared with a year ago.
Sales grew by 20 percent in Italy last month and by 15 percent in Spain. In Germany, Europe's biggest market, registrations rose 8.3 percent while French sales were up 6.7 percent. In the UK, sales were 3.3 percent higher ahead of September’s plate change, which will serve as bigger test of demand in the country after the Brexit vote.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report