Fleet News

European buyers looking to sports and luxury cars

MANUFACTURERS are enjoying mixed fortunes in the European car markets as buyers move away from traditional segments to areas such as luxury and sports models.

Figures provided by industry experts JATO have revealed that while lower and upper-medium segments are in decline overall in Europe, models such as MPVs, luxury vehicles and off-roaders are gaining ground.

Europe's best-selling car is the Peugeot 206, with the Volkswagen Golf taking the number two slot. But for the year to October, compared with the same period in 2002, the lower-medium segment is down 9.1%.

The mini segment is down 11.63% and only the supermini segment bucks the trend, with sales up 7.26%, although they were down in October. The Nissan Micra is leading the way, with sales up nearly 60% for the year-to-date.

The premium lower-medium segment is down by 4.6%, while the upper-medium segment is down by 9.8% and the premium upper-medium segment has fallen 7.5%.

Skoda's Superb has bucked the trend in this market, with sales up nearly 47% for the year-to-date, mainly because of strong sales in Germany.

But although the luxury segment is down 3.9%, sales of so-called high-luxury cars, including the Mercedes-Benz S-class, are up 16.9%, way ahead of the rest of the market.

Small MPVs are up nearly 2% and larger MPVs, such as the Peugeot 807, have rocketed nearly 12%.

Sports cars are also enjoying a boom, including the Mercedes-Benz CLK, with sales up 7.6%.

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