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The European new car market is up 2.6% year-on-year in July to 1.19 million units, the best July result since 2009. The year-to-date tally, up 3% to 9.55 million units, is the best since 2008, and at this rate 2017 could even become the biggest year on record for new car sales in Europe, with the current all-time high dating back to 2007. Some very satisfying news indeed. Among the Top 5 countries, Germany (+1.5%) and Spain (+2.6%) show moderate gains while Italy (+5.3%) and France (+10.8%) frankly outpace the overall growth but the UK (-9.3%) is in freefall in the face of Brexit uncertainty. Among smaller markets, Portugal (+27.8%), Greece (+19.8%), Poland (+17.8%), Slovakia (+15.9%), Hungary (+15.6%), Croatia (+13.2%) and Latvia (+12%) are the most dynamic. From the 27 countries included in this study, only four show a year-on-year decline: besides the UK, Denmark (-3.3%), Switzerland (-6.1%) and Ireland (-7.1%) are in negative this month.
Segment-wise, all four largest passenger car segments are in decline: the B segment s down 0.3% to 248.027 sales, the C segment is down 4.1% to 222.010, D segment down 8.1% to 97.032 and MPVs are down 17% to 93.035. Once again SUVs are the only true source of growth in Europe with sales flying off 18.3% to 350.161 units. In particular, let’s notice the B-SUV segment (compact) up 16% to 121.000 units and accounting for 10% of the European market. The newly unveiled VW T-Roc is about to jump into this fast-growing segment and could open up the race for the #1 European model title by hurting the VW Golf a little.
Brand-wise, Volkswagen remains distant leader despite a 4.2% drop, followed by Ford (-6.9%) and Renault (+8.1%). Mercedes climbs 15.2% to land at a stunning 4th place overall, outselling mass market brands Opel (-7.7%) and Peugeot (+10.3%). Inside the Top 20, Toyota (+22.6%), Suzuki (+17.5%), Dacia (+11.7%), Kia (+10.3%) and Seat (+10%) all post double-digit gains while beyond, Abarth (+87.2%), Tesla (+76.4%), Alfa Romeo (+39.7%), Porsche (+38.1%), Mini (+16.7%) and Mitsubishi (+11.2%) are among the most dynamic.
In the models ranking, the VW Golf (+0.7%) remains sovereign and is joined in 2nd place by the VW Polo (-3.7%) with the Renault Clio (+6.9%) rounding up the podium. No less than three nameplates beat their ranking record inside the Top 10 this month. Firstly, the Skoda Octavia, up 10.9% year-on-year thanks to its facelift, leaps up to 4th place and it is a new record. Its previous best was #5 reached four times: in October 2013, November 2013, August 2015 and August 2016. While the Peugeot 208 (-1.6%) overtakes the Opel Astra to rank #8 year-to-date, the Dacia Sandero (+10.8%) smashes its ranking record to lift it to #7 whereas its very first appearance in the European monthly Top 10 dates only from two months ago in May. Finally, the refreshed Toyota Yaris climbs to 8th place, beating its previous best of #9 reached in September 2015. This is only the fifth time the Toyota Yaris manages a Top 10 ranking in Europe after placing #10 in March 2012, September 2012 and January 2015.
However it is important to keep in mind that these figures are preliminary and with only 1.436 units separating the #5 from the #11, a lot could still change by the time final figures are released, records could be further improved or cancelled. Other great performers this month include the Citroen C3 up 67.5% to #13 thanks to the new model, the Peugeot 3008 up 196.5% to beat the nameplate’s ranking record for the second consecutive month at #17, the Mercedes E-Class up 40.3% to #34, the Mercedes GLC up 120% to #40 and the Nissan Micra up 72.6% to #49. At the other end of the scale, notice the particularly harsh drops of the Opel Corsa (-14.7%), VW Passat (-16.8%), Opel Astra (-28.2%) and Ford Fiesta (-41.9%).
Previous month: Europe June 2017: First Top 5 ranking for the Renault Captur
One year ago (Top 10): Europe July 2016: VW, Skoda, Peugeot trigger first decline in 3 years
One year ago (Full data): Europe July 2016: Discover the Top 350 models and Top 50 brands
Full July 2017 Top 50 brands and models below.