In May, the European car market rose for the 21st consecutive month. But the increase of 1.4%, with 1,151,965 deliveries, was the slowest growth rate of the period.
And all because of two working days less than the previous month, explained ANFIA (the association of Italian car producers) and UNRAE (the association of foreign manufacturers). The impression - confirmed by Gian Primo Quagliano, president of auto market research group Centro Studi Promotor - is that the recovery has weakened.
Not in Italy, however. In May, new car deliveries grew by 10.8%, far outstripping the 6.7% drop in Germany and 3.5% decline in France.
That’s because Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has continued to regain market share on the popularity of its new Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X models. Its European market share increased also in May, achieving 6.8% (it was 6.3%) thanks to a 9% increase in deliveries. This progress was consolidated on all the major continental markets, including France where FCA grew by 3.4% despite an economic downturn of 3.5%.
In terms of volumes, the Fiat brand is still the driving force for the group, with 58,680 cars delivered and an increase of 7.1%.
But in terms of percentage, Jeep soared to 134.2% and 7,558 registrations. Alfa Romeo was stable (+ 0.4%), while Lancia-Chrysler lost 24.1%. The markets rewarded Fiat for the various versions of Fiat 500 and Jeep for Renegade that, with nearly 5,000 registrations in May, is now firmly among the top ten in its segment.
Elsewhere, car sales in Spain they grew by 14% and in the UK by 2.4%. The countries of the eurozone recorded a 0.3% rise, while those of the European Union that did not adopt the single currency increased registrations by 4.2%, and the three EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) by 4.5% .
An extremely varied trend that shows how the first countries that begun to recover are now facing a period of stabilization, unlike those who are late with the relaunch and still have room for growth. This explains the boom in Portugal (+ 33.1%) and Greece (+ 21.6%).
As for Italy, the strong increase in registrations that marked the first 5 months of 2015 (+ 15.2% since the beginning of the year) is related to both the non-renewal of the car fleet in previous years, especially for the cars destined to rental, and commercial policies of manufacturers and sales networks.
A winning strategy that, for Filippo Pavan Bernacchi, president of dealers’ trade group Federauto, can not last too long because costs for carmakers and dealerships are barely sustainable. The government needs to step in with incentives and tax breaks, according to Federauto.
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