Volkswagen Sales Dip in Europe, but No More Than Competitors

November 17, 2015 Updated: November 18, 2015
FONT BFONT SText size

MILAN—European car buyers appear reluctant to punish Volkswagen for its emissions scandal, penalizing the German automaker’s sales last month no more than some of its mass-market competitors.

The European car market expanded 2.9 percent in October, topping 1.1 million units as growth slowed in all major markets, according to new figures released Tuesday by the European carmakers’ association ACEA.

The expansion marked the 26th straight month of growth, albeit sluggishly with two of the biggest markets, France and Germany, growing by just 1 percent, and Britain contracting by as much.

Volkswagen remained the top seller, commanding a quarter of the market, in the first full month of figures since it acknowledged cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests. Volkswagen brand sales slipped 0.2 percent, while all of Volkswagen group sales — including the brands SEAT, Skoda, Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini — dropped 0.5 percent.

By comparison, mass-market competitor PSA Peugeot Citroen saw sales fall 0.9 percent, while Renault sank 0.7 percent.

German luxury carmakers BMW and Daimler posted double-digit increases, up 13 percent and 21 percent respectively. Daimler got a big boost from its Smart, which saw sales rise more than 200 percent to over 8,800 units.

Mass-market carmaker Fiat Chrysler significantly outpaced the market with an 8 percent upswing in sales, led by the Fiat Panda and the 500 compact cars along with the Jeep brand. Alfa Romeo sales, meanwhile, slid. It was the 10th month consecutive that the U.S.-Italian carmaker bettered the market.