March is the most important car buying moths in many parts of Europe, and car sales finally are in full bloom in the EU. New car registrations were up 10.6 percent in March, when compared to the same month in the prior year by the European auto manufacturer association ACEA. Finally, the rise is broad-based, and no longer the simple statistical effect it was until recently.
Previously lagging EU volume markets are up solidly, led by Spain, where registrations increased by a whopping 40.5 percent on a new cash for clunker program. Italy (+15.1 percent), the UK (up 6.0 percent), Germany (+9.0 percent), and France (+9.3 percent) finally show solid growth.
Among the manufacturer groups, Volkswagen grew its sales by 10 percent, underperforming the market by a hair. The FCA Group was up a surprising 15.5 percent, boosted by a strong Italian home market. GM, now called “Opel Group,” booked a loss of 0.6 percent. Opel itself underperformed with a 4.5 percent gain.
Nissan, up 21.6 percent in March, leads the Japanese volume makers by a wide margin. In sales, Nissan is getting close to its alliance partner Daimler, which also was up a solid 18.9 percent.