Published on June 21st, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
European Car Sales Weaker But Renault Show Growth
The recovery in European car sales slowed down in May as buyers’ concerns about unemployment and the Greek sovereign debt crisis held back demand. Sales were also hit by fewer business days. Registrations in the EU and EFTA markets increased 1.4 percent to 1.15 million vehicles, industry association ACEA said. Five-month sales rose 6.7 percent to 6 million autos.
The May increase was the 21st consecutive month of European car-market expansion, though the growth was the most sluggish since a 1.2 percent increase in November. While the euro zone’s unemployment rate has receded from record highs set two years ago, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said in early June that it remains a concern to policymakers.
The weaker gain also reflected the timing of holidays that left fewer selling days than in May 2014. Renault was the only manufacturer among Europe’s five top auto sellers to post group sales growth in the region in May, with a 5.4 percent gain. That compares with a 15 percent jump in April for the carmaker, which has been benefiting from demand for the Captur subcompact SUV.
European deliveries by Volkswagen Group, the regional industry leader, fell 2 percent, with the Audi division posting a 5.9 percent drop. The core VW brand’s volume dipped by 1 percent while Seat sales were down 2.9 percent and Skoda’s volume declined by 0.5 percent. Porsche sales increased 12 percent.
Second-ranked PSA/Peugeot-Citroen sold 5.2 percent fewer cars with Citroen sales down 5.7 percent and Peugeot down 1.1 percent. Among Asian brands, Toyota (down 5.3 percent) and Honda (down 16 percent) were the only automakers whose sales declined. Nissan rose most with volume jumping 14 percent.