JATO Dynamics has released the light vehicle sales for April and, while the news still isn’t good, it generally isn’t as bad as previous months. In fact, April had the smallest deficit so far in 2012.
Total European sales fell 6.1 percent in April and now lag 2011 by 7.1 percent. Germany and Great Britain, Europe’s leading markets, posted sales increases while the other three major European markets, France, Italy and Spain all came up short. French sales dropped a comparatively minor 1.9 percent while sales in Italy and Spain, which are both embroiled in serious financial problems, were down by double digits. To show how different the situations are in the U.S. and Europe, the April sales totals for the U.S. appear below the European totals.
Volkswagen, which managed to dodge the bullet for the first three months of 2012, finally took a hit. Total brand sales fell 7.7 percent, putting the Wolfsburg automaker in the red for the first four months of the year. Renault and Opel/Vauxhall were the month’s big losers. So far this year, Renault is in the worst shape with sales down 22.9 percent, beating Fiat’s 19.5 percent plunge. Of the top ten brands, only the three German luxury marques, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are still in the black in year-to-date sales.
When it comes to the top models, VW was covered in red ink. Big drops were reported for the Golf, Polo and Passat. Ford and GM models also failed to match their year-ago numbers, though Ford took some solace in the Fiesta outselling the Polo this April. Of the top ten models, only the Fiat Panda and the new BMW 3 Series beat their April 2011 numbers.
Outside the top ten, new models like the Volkswagen Up, Toyota Yaris, Audi A6 and Mercedes B-Class are achieving the largest sales improvements, underlining the need for the beleaguered automakers to do what it takes to roll out new models. An overripe product line has been one of the factors in Fiat’s poor performance in the market.
Commenting on the findings, Gareth Hession, Vice President, Research at JATO Dynamics said: “The April sales results again demonstrate the importance of new models in driving increased sales, in an environment as uncertain and highly competitive as the European new car market.”
|EUROPEAN LIGHT VEHICLE SALES BY COUNTRY|
|Country||Apr-12||Apr-11||Change||YTD 2012||YTD 2011||Change|
|TOP 10 BRANDS|
|Brand||Apr-12||Apr-11||Change||YTD 2012||YTD 2011||Change|
|TOP 10 MODELS|
|Model||Apr-12||Apr-11||Change||YTD 2012||YTD 2011||Change|
|BMW 3 Series||17,171||14,707||16.8%||53,928||53,001||1.7%|
|European sales figures: JATO Dynamics. U.S. sales figures: Autodata|