European auto recovery – second month of car sales rise image

European car sales rose 4.6 % in October, according to industry data published today, as a broad-based recovery took root in the region’s main auto markets and a cash-for-clunkers program in Spain spurred consumers to purchase vehicles.

European new car sales rose for two consecutive months for the first time since 2011 as September saw sales climbing 5.5% and October 4.6 % from a year earlier to 1.04 million autos, according to the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association, or ACEA.

Toyota and Renault led the gains among mass manufacturers, with Daimler gaining ground on premium rivals – but despite what is becoming a sustained upturn in demand, the European auto market is set to post a sixth consecutive full-year decline in 2013 to its lowest level in two decades. Registrations were down 3.1 % for January-October across the 30 countries of the European Union and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) trading bloc. Registrations gained in four of the top five auto markets, including a 34 % jump in Spain.

Renault’s group sales jumped 14 % on strong demand for its Captur mini-SUV and revamps of the no-frills Dacia brand’s Logan and Sandero models. Toyota surged 16.5 % to 49,097 cars last month, helped by models like the Auris compact.

European market leader Volkswagen and General Motors also outpaced the broader expansion with respective gains of 5.7 % and 6.2 %. Within the VW group total, sales of the premium Audi division shrank 0.5 %, while rival BMW rose just 0.3 %, trailing an 8.5 % gain for Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz division, on the popularity of new models like the CLA compact.

The pain did not ease for Italy’s Fiat or PSA Peugeot Citroen, the European automakers worst hit by the six-year slump. Recent model launches by Paris-based Peugeot were not enough to prevent a further 0.7 % sales decline in October, while Fiat continued to pay the price of an ageing model lineup with the Group sales falling 7.3 %, sunk by declines of 3.5 % at the Fiat brand, 12.2 % at Lancia and a 34 % plunge for Alfa Romeo.

Via Reuters, Bloomberg