Europe’s auto-market is finally a rapidly rising recovery, with industry data published for the month of March showing mass-market car brands riding the upturn wave and affordable marquees loosing steam.
According to figures coming from the Brussels-based Association of European Carmakers, new vehicle registrations last month jumped 10.8 percent to 1.65 million units across the continent, lifting the first quarter tally by 8.5 percent. Last year the European auto market showed incipient, but hesitant, signs of growth – taking itself slowly out of the six-year slump in demand that yielded two-decade low figures. This year the turnaround seems to be in a very healthy condition, with the five largest auto markets – Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain – all turning to growing demand. “All major markets contributed positively to the overall expansion,” commented the European industry association in a statement releasing the figures.
The long slump that affected the continent mostly took its toll on mass-market car brands, with the premium and no-frills “crisis car” segments showing in turn consistent gains (though obviously for the opposite reasons). Now these marquees moved past their budget subsidiaries as frugality no longer drives consumer needs. Renault’s namesake brand had deliveries increase by 11.6 percent last month, while its affordable Dacia brand only grew by 7.5 percent. Volkswagen’s Skoda entry-level brand saw an equally slower 6.4 percent gain compared to the core VW brand that jumped in registrations by 11.5 percent. The only mass-market division that didn’t ride the overall growth pace was GM’s Opel – which only soared by 4.3 percent last month.