European car sales rose 4.6% in October
Increase marks first consecutive monthly gain in two years
Renault Captur automobiles on display at the Frankfurt International Motor Show earlier this year. Renault sold 14 per cent more cars in Europe last month. Photo: Bloomberg
European car sales rose 4.6 per cent in October, marking the first consecutive monthly gain in two years.
Registrations advanced to 1.04 million new vehicles last month from 999,266 a year earlier, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association, or ACEA, said today in a statement.
That narrowed the drop this year to 3.1 per cent, for 10.4 million total deliveries. September sales rose 5.5 per cent.
A record six-quarter recession in the 17 countries sharing the euro ended in the three months through June, and consumer confidence in the area rose in October.
Demand gained in four of Europe’s top five auto markets, including a 34 per cent jump in Spain.
Models introduced since late 2012 include Renault’s first compact crossover, the Captur, and the latest version of the Opel Insignia.
“I’ve got a feeling that things have stopped worsening,” Jean-Francois Belorgey, who runs consulting company EY’s automotive business in France, said by phone before the ACEA published figures.
“But this might not be enough to tempt people to buy new cars on the long run. Italy is very unsteady, Spain is slowly recovering and France is facing budgetary problems. Only when unemployment starts falling will we see the market really pick up.”
The back-to-back increases were the first in the region since August and September 2011, ACEA economics and statistics director Quynh-Nhu Huynh said in an e-mail.
The European car market is still set for a sixth straight full-year contraction following a sovereign-debt crisis that triggered the euro area’s recession.
The region’s economic recovery came close to a halt in the third quarter, and unemployment is at a record-high 12.2 per cent.
European sales at Volkswagen rose 5.7 per cent in October, propelled by jumps of 24 per cent at the Skoda brand and 15 per cent at the Seat nameplate, while registrations gained 1.4 per cent at the namesake VW marque.
The Audi division, the world’s second-biggest maker of luxury cars, posted a 0.5 per cent decline.
Renault, based in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, sold 14 per cent more cars in Europe last month. Demand at the entry-level Dacia unit, which has revised the Sandero hatchback and Logan sedan, jumped 16 per cent, while sales at the main Renault brand rose 13 per cent.
European sales at Mercedes-Benz, the world’s third-biggest maker of luxury vehicles, rose 8.5 per cent last month. The gain more than offset a 3.6 per cent drop at the Smart city-car unit to boost group registrations at Stuttgart, Germany-based parent company Daimler by 7 per cent.
Bayerische Motoren Werke, the global premium-car market leader, sold 0.3 per cent more cars in Europe.
Mercedes has won customers with a refreshed compact lineup, including the all-new CLA-Class coupe, as well as a revamp of the up-market E-Class sedan.