Friday 24 November 2017

Volkswagen left behind as US brands gain from European car sales recovery

Matthias Mueller, CEO of German car maker Volkswagen. Photo: Getty Images
Matthias Mueller, CEO of German car maker Volkswagen. Photo: Getty Images

European car sales rose 13.7pc in November, according to industry data published on Tuesday, with US brands recording strong gains as Volkswagen continued to pay the price of its diesel emissions test-rigging scandal.

Registrations rose to 1.12 million cars last month from 989,758 a year earlier, the Brussels-based Association of European Carmakers said, with Ford and General Motors' Opel among the best performers.

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker by sales, saw its core brand market share tumble to 12.2pc from 13.5pc, as sales edged just 3.1pc higher, underperforming the market. The German group as a whole posted a 3.9pc gain.

The VW brand, struggling to contain the damage after being exposed in September for cheating US tests for toxic diesel emissions, suffered a more marked 20pc sales decline in Britain, according to data released on December 4.

The broader European auto recovery is set to continue into 2016 after an 8.6pc expansion in January-November, Ernst & Young analyst Anil Valsan said.

"The car market is expected to remain on the growth track driven by the positive economic environment, low financing costs, low fuel prices, high discounts and some remaining pent-up demand," Valsan said.

"However, growth is expected to be slower, with interest rates likely to edge up."

Fiat Chrysler, Ford and Opel all saw November sales rise more than 18pc, with GM's European arm helped by the recently launched Astra compact.

Sales by France's Renault advanced 15.1pc, while domestic rival PSA Peugeot Citroen rose 12.8pc, with a buoyant Peugeot brand tempered by a weaker Citroen performance.


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