According to ACEA, European new car registrations rose 2.2 per cent in February 2017, indicating a deceleration in the growth that characterised the Old Continent for months on a row. France (-2.9 per cent), Germany (-2.6) and the UK (- 0.3) saw their sales drop, partially due to the fact that February 2017 had one working day less.
Offsetting this negative trend is Italy – still amongst the best achievers, with an increase of 6.2 per cent compared to the same month last year. Especially prosperous are the East European member States: Poland went up 14.2 per cent, Hungary 20.7 per cent, Slovakia 24.4 per cent, Romania a staggering 62.8 per cent.
Outsiders gain ground
In terms of brands, top performers in the European region are Suzuki (+32.4 per cent), Alfa Romeo (+ 23.5 per cent, thanks to the Giulia) and SEAT (+ 15 per cent, mainly thanks to the Ateca). Amongst the volume brands, Toyota capitalises on the success of the C-HR to post a 20 per cent boost.
KIA is also performing well, growing by 11 per cent. Its sister brand Hyundai posted a moderate + 0.7 per cent. Within the Renault-Nissan group, Nissan was up 3 per cent last February, Dacia an impressive 12 per cent.
Premium winning from mainstream
Winners in the premium zone are Jaguar (+50.8 per cent), Lexus (+ 6.2 per cent), Volvo (+3.5 per cent), Mercedes-Benz (+3.4 per cent) and Audi (+ 2.1 per cent). BMW stayed status quo, but Mini grew by 5.6 per cent.
Except for Renault (+5.3 per cent) and Citroën (+1.2 per cent), the big European mainstream brands are losing territory: Volkswagen lost 7 per cent, Peugeot 3.7 per cent, Ford 2.3 per cent and Opel/Vauxhall 1.2 per cent. Daimlers micro car brand Smart caved in by 17.8 per cent.
Picture copyright: ACEA