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JATO Dynamics: SUVs continue to drive growth in Europe’s big 5 markets

The latest figures for Europe’s top 5 markets—Germany, UK, Italy, France and Spain—show further positive results for March 2016. The total for the Big 5 markets surpassed the one million units mark, rising to 1.36 million new cars, up by 5% over March 2015. First quarter registrations advanced 8% to 2.89 million cars, while the March SAAR came in at 11.04 million across the five markets. SUV registrations ranked first, accounting for more than one out of four passenger cars registered, according to data from JATO Dynamics.

The SUV boom continued at an impressive pace, with the segment gaining even more market share, with sales growth of 22% during March, and an overall 25% increase in Q1 of 2016.

Last month SUV registrations in the big 5 European markets totalled 343,400 units, making up more than 25% of the total. In contrast to this positive trend, sales of subcompacts fell 1% over March 2015 and grew by only 3% during the first quarter. Meanwhile registrations of compact vehicles were up 4% in the month, and 7% in the quarter.

However, these two segments were not the biggest casualties of the SUV segments surge, as the MPV figures show that their volumes have dropped by 8% in March, and 3% since January 2016. The same occurred in the large sedan/SW segment, with registrations down by 7% in March and 5% in the first quarter.

With lower increases across the Big 5 markets, we have seen an overall slowdown in growth. However the situation continues to be positive, with an overall growth rate of 8% for Q1 in 2016. The shift from traditional segments to SUVs continues, as more carmakers invest in what has proved to be an impressively popular and high-growth segment.

—Felipe Munoz, Global Automotive Analyst at JATO Dynamics

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