In the first quarter of 2016, Volkswagen (VW) continued to lose ground in European car markets as its sales continued to perform below the market average in the wake of its emissions cheating scandal.
Volkswagen's market share in the European Union fell to 23.3 percent in the first three months of 2016, compared with 24.3 percent in the same quarter a year ago, as Europe's biggest carmaker continues to suffer from the fall-out of its emissions cheating scandal.
According to new figures released by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) on Friday, VW sold just under 378,000 vehicles in Q1 2016 - a rise by 2.6 percent, but below the market average in the 28-nation bloc where new registrations during the first quarter increased 6 percent year-on-year to more than 1.7 million units.
However, Volkswagen, whose brands also include Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche, was still the European market leader, ACEA said, with its closest competitor, France's PSA Group, taking market share of 10.5 percent - down from 10.7 per cent in the same quarter a year ago.
Europe's car recovery accelerates
ACEA also said EU car sales in March had climbed for 31 consecutive months, and first-quarter figures were almost as high as those in March 2007, the last year before sales collapsed due to the economic crisis unleashed by banking-sector problems in 2008. Taken together, 8.2 percent more cars were sold in the EU in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period a year earlier.
Among major EU markets, Italy performed best, with March car sales posting a year-on-year jump of 17.4 percent. In France and Britain they rose by 7.5 per cent and 5.3 percent respectively, while they fell 0.7 percent in Spain and were stable in Germany.
Among Europe's ten best-selling carmakers, Fiat-Chrysler, BMW and Daimler stood out in the period, posting yearly growth rates of between 11 percent and 17 percent.
uhe/nz (Reuters, AFP, dpa)