Fleet News

Latvia leads sales growth for new cars in Europe

LATVIA is identified as the fastest-growing new car market in an analysis of new car sales across Europe during the first half of the year. Sales in the country were up 55% for the half-year from January to June and overall European sales were up 1.7% compared with the same period in 2005. The findings are produced by business information company Jato Dynamics.

The Ford Focus was the top-selling car in Europe during the first half of 2006, selling 252,414 units, an increase of 9.7% on the same period the previous year.

It led from new Renault Clio (243,332 units, up 45.1%), Opel/Vauxhall Astra (238,741 units, down 8.9%), Fiat Punto (228,550 units, up 64.8%, due to the new model) and Volkswagen Golf (219,902 units, down 16.9%).

In terms of sales, it found that the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia continued to record significant growth in their new car markets, as did Denmark.

The market in Iceland grew by more than 13%, compared with the first half of 2005. Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands are among countries which posted increases during the first half of the year.

Poland is suffering a depressed market, the report found, and sales fell during the first six months in Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenian and the UK. The luxury car segment enjoyed the biggest percentage increase growth – up 38%, led by a 188% increase in sales of the Mercedes-Benz S-class.

The study also found that diesel models share of the European new car market during January to June reached 49.6%, an increase of 1.2% on the same period in 2005.

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