British car production rose 16.4 percent year-on-year in April, boosted by strong demand from overseas.
Total car production reached 149,334 vehicles last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said, with production for export jumping 23.7 percent while those built for domestic demand slipped 7.8 percent.
New car registrations in the 29 European markets covered by JATO Dynamics show that the current positive sales trend continued during April, with 1.32 million units sold, which is 108,000 units more than the total recorded in April 2015.
This was higher than the growth seen in March 2016 (+5.6%) and in April 2015 (+6.9%). The YTD volume for the 29 markets totalled 5.25 million cars, which is 8.3% higher than total registrations between January and April 2015. The March SAAR came in at 15.38 million units.
A significant change occurred in April, as the Renault Captur became Europe’s best-selling SUV with 18,800 units, outselling the Nissan Qashqai, the established leader. SUVs dominated the market, counting for 24% of registrations, up 2.6% over April 2015. This means that SUV volume growth (+22%) was higher than the changes posted by the rest of the segments, except for sports cars (+30%).
While SUVs gained share, the subcompacts (B-Segment) registered the highest market share fall (-1.3 percentage points) and they were followed by MPVs with -0.7 percentage points. Most of the SUV category’s growth came from more registrations of large SUV (E-SUV) and small ones (B-SUV).
Around 12% of total registrations in April were for Volkswagen cars, which continued to lead the entire market thanks to the Golf, Polo and Passat. However its volume grew by only 2.4% in April, which was under the total average growth, meaning the brand lost 0.8 percentage point of share over April 2015, the biggest loss of all the brands.
Volkswagen’s big rises posted in Spain and Poland were offset by a fall in markets such as Switzerland, the UK and Netherlands. Its SUV registrations fell by 13%. Renault, showed the same percentage growth as the total market, allowing it to outsell Ford at third position and +1.5% growth.
The three German premium brands and Fiat were the only brands to outperform the total market’s growth within the top 10. Mercedes posted the highest market share gain, followed by Honda and Fiat.
“The slowdown in growth posted by Volkswagen has not stopped overall growth as consumers continue to move to other mainstream and premium brands. SUV demand is also part of this shift,” commented Felipe Munoz, Global Automotive Analyst at JATO Dynamics.