Europe's continuing boom in SUV/crossover sales boosted registrations in June despite slumping demand in the UK, the region's second-biggest market, where uncertainty over Brexit is hitting consumer confidence.
Passenger car registrations increased to 1.62 million vehicles in the EU and EFTA markets last month, up from 1.54 million a year earlier, data published Tuesday by industry association ACEA showed.
Brands that have introduced new SUVs and crossovers gained most. Jeep, Volvo, Jaguar, Seat and the Volkswagen marque were among brands posting double-digit growth. Sales fell at Nissan, Land Rover, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Ford and Mercedes-Benz.
Market leader Volkswagen Group saw its vehicle sales rise by 13 percent, helped by gains at its brands with new SUVs. Seat sales were up 19 percent thanks to its new Arona and VW brand gained 16 percent on demand for the T-Roc. Porsche's volume was up 12 percent and Skoda's by 8.5 percent. Audi sales grew by 5.6 percent.
PSA Group, Europe's No. 2 automaker, increased sales by 66 percent in part because of the addition of sales from the Opel/Vauxhall brands, which PSA bought from General Motors last year. Citroen's volume grew by 7.1 percent, Peugeot was up 6.9 percent while DS sales leapt 27 percent. Opel/Vauxhall's volume fell to 91,012 from 95,054 in June last year. Demand for the new Crossland X and Grandland X crossovers failed to offset falling sales of the Astra and Corsa core models.
Renault Group's sales increased 4.6 percent, boosted by a 12 percent gain at Dacia. Renault brand's volume was up 1.7 percent.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles fell 2.6 percent, hit by a 9.5 percent drop in Fiat registrations and an 8.2 percent decline at Alfa Romeo. Boosted by its new Compass SUV, Jeep sales rose 72 percent.
Ford's registrations fell by 8.3 percent as higher demand for its EcoSport and Kuga SUVs fails to make up for lower sales of its passenger vans.
Among Asian mass market brands, Toyota sales jumped 13 percent, helped by the C-HR crossover, Kia was up 6.8 percent and Hyundai 5.5 percent Nissan's volume plunged 13 percent.
- Download PDF, above right, for Europe sales by automaker, brand and market for June and first half.
Volvo led gains at premium brands with 29 percent growth thanks to its new XC40. Jaguar sales jumped 19 percent, helped by the E-Pace crossover. Lexus sales gained 12 percent. BMW brand sales jumped 9.9 percent while rival Mercedes-Benz saw sales decline by 7.3 percent. Land Rover's volume drop 11 percent.
France, Spain offset UK slump
Strong sales in Germany, France and Spain helped offset a slump in demand in Britain and Italy.
Demand rose by 9.2 percent in France, 8 percent in Spain, and by 4.2 percent in Germany, Europe's largest market. By contrast, UK sales fell 3.5 percent and dropped by 7.3 percent in Italy, the ACEA figures showed.
“The ongoing uncertainty over the UK Brexit arrangements has led to a noticeable pullback among fleet customers especially,” said Peter Fuss, a partner as consultancy EY. “We expect sales in the UK to be weak at least until the fall, when hopefully we’ll see tangible results from the negotiations with the European Union.”
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report