Demand from the ‘Big 5’ European markets drove a 6.0% year-on-year growth in new European car sales in September, according to European data provider JATO.
A total of 1,272,559 cars were sold in September in the 29 European markets JATO records.
Of the large economies, Spain saw the largest growth in the month, up 25.9% to 57,794, while French new car sales grew 6.3% to 151,089. Both Britain and Germany also posted strong growth as well, with British sales growing 5.6% in September to 425,861 and German sales growing 5.2% year-on-year in the month to 260,062.
The remaining ‘Big 5’ economy, Italy, saw new car sales increase 3.4% year-on-year in September, to 111,478.
A number of other economies also recorded strong growth in the month, notably Greece, which sold 5,037 cars in September 2014 compared to 3,816 in the same period the year before, Portugal, up 31.7% year-on-year to 9,704 and Ireland, up 24.1% year-on-year to 3,919.
Sales fell in Switzerland and the Netherlands, however. In The Netherlands, new car sales fell 3.4% year-on-year in September to 30,566, while Swiss car sales dropped 5.0%, the largest fall of any country, to 21,384.
Year-to-date, the growth rate for the region was 5.6%, compared to the same period in 2013, to 9,900,793 vehicles.
Over the period, Spain again showed the strongest growth of the big economies, with September year-to-date car sales jumping 18.6% compared to the same period in 2013, to 650,741.
In Great Britain, sales over them same period grew 9.1% to 1,958,196 cars, while German and French sales growth, at 2.9% to 2,281,671 and 2.1% to 1,337,315, respectively, were notably slower than their September growth rates. Italian sales for the year to the end of September were up 3.6% compared to the same period 2013, to 1,043,287.
Overall, eight of the 29 markets grew have grown by over 20% year-to date, with Irish car sales 30.0% up year-on-year, to 993,198 and Portuguese new car sales up 35.2% year-on-year to 107,424.
Brands and models
Volkswagen was the most popular brand in Europe in September, with 147,030 cars sold. This was 7.4% more than the amount sold in September 2013.
Ford and Opel/Vauxhall both grew by 5.8% year-on-year in September to 104,124 and 92,934 respectively. French brands Renault and Peugeot rounded out the top five car makes in September, with 78,573 and 74,128 cars sold respectably.
For Peugeot, this represented a 10.9% increase compared to September 2013. This growth lifted it above BMW, which sold 2.0% fewer cars in September 2014 compared to September 2013, at 69,243.
The VW Golf was the most popular model of the month, up 19.3% year-on-year to 53,888, while the second placed Ford Fiesta also managed double digit growth of 15.6% year-on-year to 38,729 vehicles.
The VW Polo was the fastest growing model among the top 10 selling models, with a year-on-year growth of 32.0%, to 28,379. This lifted it above the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa which sold 27,884 in September, 1.3% less than in the same month 2013.
The Renault Clio also closed the gap on the Corsa, after growing 3.3% year-on-year to 26,963 vehicles, within 1,000 of the Corsa’s sales for the month.
The Ford Focus, Peugeot 208, Audi A3, Opel/Vauxhall Astra and the Fiat 500 rounded off the top ten most popular models for the month.
Year-to-date, JATO said; "Tesla’s Model S electric luxury car is shaking up the market, outselling well-established competitors such as the Audi A8, BMW 7-series and Jaguar XJ. In this segment only the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (+151.2%) has sold more year-to-date.