Europe: Ford, Opel and Renault engage in all-out market war image

Both Germany’s Opel/Vauxhall and France’s Renault will increase their efforts in 2015 to surpass America’s Ford as Europe’s second largest brand by sales volume.

The latter fought a grueling battle with both contenders last year and fended off their attempts, keeping its top position – and analysts believe the blue oval has a change of repeating the feat in 2015. On the other hand, IHS Automotive experts forecast that Renault will snatch the third position from Opel and British sister brand Vauxhall. Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn has already expressed his opinion on positive growth across the continent in the next period as governments want to lift the ailing economy. Additionally, Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst at Evercore ISI, says Renault has managed to bring the most new high-volume cars in the region, dropping the average age of the brand’s range to 35 months in 2015 and 2016 from 39 months last year.

European industry body ACEA puts Volkswagen as the No.1 car brand in Europe during the past year, with 1,619, 921 units, followed at a long distance by Ford with 947,951. From here the difference narrows, with Opel Vauxhall following with 885,372 and Renault in close proximity with 874,504. Volkswagen has a comfortable lead, even though it only modestly grew in 2014 by 4 percent. Renault had the largest gain in the top five, with 9 percent, followed by Opel (+7%) and Ford (+5%). All three contenders have large product introductions for the year: Opel has the Corsa subcompact, Karl entry-level minicar and Astra compact at the end of the year. Renault will introduce the Kadjar compact crossover and fifth-generation Espace large minivan, while 2016 brings new a new Megane and Laguna. Ford’s answer comes with the upscale Vignale trim and the iconic Mustang sports car.

Via Automotive News Europe