Monday, May 18, 2009

Golf Takes Top Spot In European Market: Mixed Results For ‘Scrappage Schemes’


In a European new car market down 16.8 percent year-to-date, and down 17.5 percent in April, the 2009 Volkswagen Golf has taken top spot.

Volkswagen has also maintained its position as Europe’s best-selling brand, but with sales down 10.1 percent compared to 2008.

The biggest mover in the market however, according to European automotive data and intelligence provider, JATO Dynamics, is the 2009 Ford Fiesta with sales up 19.7 percent year-to-date and 26.9 percent for the month of April.


In the ‘big 5’ European car markets in particular (Germany UK, France, Italy and Spain), Fiesta is bolting and closing the gap on Golf.

Only two other cars in the top ten have managed to increase sales year-to-date over the same period in 2008: the 2009 Volkswagen Polo, up a slim 0.7 percent, and Fiat Panda up by 17.6 percent.

Small cars are clearly the showroom winners at present in a market that is bumping along in a mire of gloom. Year-to-date sales for 2009, across all market segments, are down nearly one million units (925,225) against the same period in 2008.


But, interestingly, although each of the top five markets have announced ‘scrappage schemes’ using cash incentives to encourage people to buy new smaller cars, only the resilient German market appears to be benefiting. There, while sales were down 3.1 percent in April, they are up 11.6 percent year-to-date.

In other European markets, and the UK and Spain in particular, where ‘scappage schemes’ are also in place, the effect of these is yet to be seen in sales results.

Take the Fiesta, Polo, Panda and Golf out of the equation, and it’s a bleak set of sums for European car makers. Perhaps the approach of summer may lift spirits… and sales.