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Tim O'Brien | Jul 20, 2009

SALES FIGURES RELEASED by automotive data group JATO Dynamics for June 2009 show that the European market is continuing its slow recovery in vehicle sales.

While the market is down 10.3 percent at the mid-point of 2009, there has been a 15.7 percent improvement in monthly sales (June 2009 compared to January 2009), a trend that is giving some heart to Europe’s long-suffering auto manufacturing sector.

Volkswagen’s barn-storming Golf continues to hold the top spot with sales up 32.8 percent on the same month last year. Volkswagen, the brand, remains Europe’s biggest-selling auto manufacturer.

“With localised ‘scrappage’ incentives now working consistently to improve sales, we can see steady and progressive improvements in new car registrations… (W)ith the continued roll out of incentive schemes and the possibility of some renewed consumer confidence, it would seem likely that by the end of the year the European car market could more or less recover to 2008 levels,” David Di Girolamo, Head of JATO Consult, said.

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Top Ten Models

Volkswagen’s Golf has won five of the six months of 2009, with the second placed Ford Fiesta having knocked it from its perch in March only.

While the top places remain unchanged in June, the third-placed Peugeot 2007 has suffered a 20.6 percent decline in sales year-to-date (YTD), the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa a 14.1 percent decline YTD, and the fifth-placed Renault Clio a 28.0 percent decline YTD.

In the bottom half of the top ten, Fiat’s Punto and Panda are the big movers, with monthly increases in sales (against the same period last year) of 21.8 percent and 43.3 percent respectively.

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Top Ten Brands

Of the brands, Volkswagen comfortably holds onto the top spot with sales for June up 12.9 percent over June 2008, and up a marginal 0.7 percent YTD. Renault has moved up from sixth place to third in June, behind a strongly-performing Ford in second position.

The sales performance of Opel/Vauxhall is still clearly being affected by the uncertainty triggered by GM's slide into bankruptcy in the US.

Germany, with an astonishing 427,111 vehicle sales for June 2009 and 2,059,405 for the year-to-date, remains far and away Europe’s biggest market.

‘Scappage’ schemes there have ignited a fire under sales; Germany is up 40.5 percent compared to June 2008 and up 26.1 percent YTD.

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France and Italy are the next biggest markets, with 235,137 sales and 209,975 sales respectively. France was up 7.0 percent in June, and Italy up 12.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

Of the big markets, Great Britain remains problematic: its 176,264 sales reflect a market down 15.7 percent in June and down 25.9 percent YTD.

In the context of a European market showing signs of recovery, the performance of the Australian market for July promises to make interesting reading.

(Source: JATO Dynamics)

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