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Home - Top News
October 18, 2011 3:31 AM

Volkswagen, BMW Lead European Car Sales Gains on New Models

Oct. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG led gains in European car sales as new models propelled demand and the German carmakers' home market grew.

Registrations climbed 1.1 percent to 1.27 million vehicles from 1.26 million units a year earlier, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers Association, or ACEA, said today in a statement. Nine-month sales declined 0.8 percent to 10.5 million registrations.

Germany was the only car market among Europe's top five to expand last month, with an 8.1 percent increase, according to the ACEA. Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen has introduced a new version of the Passat mid-sized car and a revamped Audi A6 sedan in the past year. Munich-based BMW redesigned its mid-size 5- Series line last year, and its global deliveries of the revamped X3 sport-utility vehicle tripled last month.

'New models have certainly played a role,' said Frank Biller, an analyst at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg who recommends buying Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler AG stock. Growth in Germany was influenced by 'a low point of comparison in 2010,' when sales were still down following a boost in 2009 from the country's 'cash-for-clunkers' program.

The ACEA reports figures from European Union member countries plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Western European car sales, which don't include figures from the nations that have joined the EU since 2004, rose 1.1 percent to 1.2 million vehicles.

Renault Sales Gain

Volkswagen's sales increased 13 percent while BMW's gained 6.8 percent. Renault SA posted a 1.5 percent gain.

Executive and consumer confidence in the 17-nation euro area fell to almost a two-year low in September, reflecting growing concern that the sovereign-debt crisis may lead to a recession, according to European Union figures released last month. Jonathon Poskitt, an automotive analyst at J.D. Power & Associates, said western Europe's car market may shrink a second consecutive year in 2012.

J.D. Power estimates that industrywide car sales in western Europe will fall to 12.6 million vehicles from the 12.8 million deliveries anticipated this year and the 13 million posted in 2010.

'Skewed' Down

'The risk is if anything skewed towards the downside, so things could get a lot worse,' Poskitt said by telephone. 'If the euro zone slips back into recession, we could be looking at a much weaker market next year.'

European sales by Paris-based Peugeot, the region's second- largest carmaker after Volkswagen, dropped 13 percent. Daimler, whose Mercedes-Benz division is the world's third-biggest luxury-vehicle maker after BMW and VW's Audi brand, posted a 7.4 percent European sales decline, led by a 23 percent drop for its Smart brand.

Registrations in the region by Turin, Italy-based Fiat fell 7.8 percent. General Motors Co., whose main brands in Europe are Opel and Vauxhall, posted a 6.3 percent sales decline, while Ford Motor Co.'s registrations slid 0.3 percent.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at

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