BMW and Mercedes Sales Surge in Europe

Volkswagen sales in the European Union countries fell in October, as might be expected due to its emissions scandal. The two car brands that posted extraordinary sales for the period were luxury brands BMW and Mercedes. The high end of the market is healthy. Total car sales in the EU were up 2.9% to 1,104,868.

BMW sales rose 13.7% to 76,775. This put it ahead of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), which had a sales drop of 2.7% to 67,454, and behind Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) 77,272, up 1.7%. The two American car companies continue to struggle in Europe.

Mercedes sales rose 10.8% to 59,218, and total sales of parent Daimler rose 21% to 68,095, because of the strength of the Smart brand. This put it just behind Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU), which includes the Jeep and Fiat brands. Fiat Chrysler sales rose 8% to 69,125.

The BMW and Mercedes sales are not unlike their success in the United States, where their unit sales usually outrun the market.

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VW’s problems showed up in October, but by very little. It is the largest manufacturer in the EU by far. Its sales dropped 0.5% to 276,771. It has 25.1% of the market. By contrast, the leader in the United States, GM, has a share of 18%.

A note from European Automobile Manufacturer Association:

In October 2015, the EU passenger car market continued its upward trend, despite a slower rate of increase (+2.9%), marking the 26th consecutive month of growth. Demand for new passenger cars saw momentum slowing down in all major markets. Registrations in Italy (+8.6%), Spain (+5.2%), Germany (+1.1%) and France (+1.0%) kept growing, even though less strong than in past months, while the UK market declined in October (-1.1%). Across the region, new passenger car registrations totalled 1,104,868 units, also supported by growth in the EU’s new member states (EU-12).

Over the first ten months of 2015, new passenger car registrations increased (+8.2%), surpassing 11.5 million units (11,523,903). All major markets posted growth, contributing to the overall upturn of the EU market over the period. Spain (+20.5%) and Italy (+14.7%), benefiting from economic recovery and relatively low base comparisons, posted double-digit percentage gains, followed by the UK (+6.4%), France (+5.7%) and Germany (+5.1%).

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