European Auto Sales Down 5% in March; Ford Passes FCA

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The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) reported Wednesday that new vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU) fell by 5.3% in March compared with those in March of 2017. New registrations for the month totaled 1.79 million units. They rose by 4.3% in February and 7.1% in January and are up a scant 0.7% for the first three months of the year.

Of the Detroit Three, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) sold 132,765 units in March, down 14.9% year over year for the month. The company’s March market share came to 7.4%, down 0.8 percentage points compared with last year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) saw its market share in the EU dip from 6.8% in March 2017 to 6.6% this year. Unit sales totaled 118,975. Sales of the Fiat brand dropped 12.4%, while Jeep sales jumped 42.4%.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has effectively left the EU market and had sales of just 58 units in March. Last year, before the company sold its European subsidiary to PSA, GM sold more than 128,000 units in the month.

The top-selling maker in the EU is Volkswagen, which sold 405,103 vehicles in March, up 0.3% year over year for the month. VW’s market share for the month totaled 22.6%, up from 21.3% in March 2017.

PSA Group, makers of Peugeot, Citroen and other brands, posted a March sales increase of 59.7% to 285,434 units. The company’s market share rose from 9.4% to 15.9%. The increase includes sales in the Opel/Vauxhall group the company acquired from GM last year.

Renault Group posted a volume decrease of 3.2% to 174,884 units in March, while its year-over-year share rose from 9.5% in March 2017 to 9.8%.

BMW Group’s market share dipped in March from 6.7% a year ago to 6.6%. The company sold 118,746 units last month, down 5.8% compared with year-ago March sales of 126,051.

Daimler posted a slight market share gain, ticking up from 5.9% in March 2017 to 6% last month with sales totaling 108,101 units. On a volume basis, sales fell 3.4%.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) posted market share of 4.7% in March, up from 4.6% a year ago. Sales volume dropped by 4.3% to 83,546 units.

For the month of March, the United Kingdom was the volume leader, with more than 474,000 units sold (down 15.7% year over year for the month), followed by Germany with sales of more than 347,000 (down 3.4%), France with over 231,000 sales (up 2.2%) and Italy nearly 214,000 vehicles sold (down 5.8%).

EU sales totaled 15.14 million units in 2017 compared with 2016 sales for the 27 EU members of 14.64 million, up 3.4% compared with 2016 unit sales.

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