Fiat Sales Surge in Europe, as Volkswagen Falters

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European sales of Volkswagen brand products rose by 8.0% in February, driven by the success of its Audi brand, the sales of which rose 17.1%. At the other end of the spectrum, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) sales rose 22.9%. The market in the European Union has continued its rapid comeback from terrible sales during and just after the recession. Total EU sales rose 14.3% to 1,056,902, based on data from the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association).

VW lost market share, despite its growth. It sold 252,692 vehicles, which kept it in the top spot for EU sales. VW’s market share dropped from 25.3% in February 2015 to 23.9% last month.

Fiat Chrysler (FCA) is the fourth largest manufacturer in the EU behind PSA Group (119,510, up 13.2%) and Renault (104,923, up 10.2%)

FCA sales reached 78,948, up 22.9%. Most of the growth was due to the success of its flagship Fiat brand, the sales of which were higher by 24.6% to 60,060.

What the two large luxury car makers in the EU posted were mixed compared to the overall market. BMW sales rose only 13.9% to 64,572. Sales of Daimler vehicles were up 21.5% to 60,562. The Mercedes flagship had sales of 52,449, up 22.4%.

The two primary U.S. brands did better than average, but they continue to lag behind the EU leaders, which hobbles their global success. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) sales rose 19% to 71,529. Its share of the EU market is only 6.8%. Sales of the General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) Opel Group were up 18.1% to 69,956. Its share of market was 6.6% in February.

Despite VW’s substantial problems, it continued to hold a large lead in EU vehicle sales.