French car makers defy European sales slump

To date, the European car market is down 3.2 per cent, a testament to the success of scrappage schemes across Europe in 2009.

David Di Girolamo, Head of JATO Consult, explains: “Although true year-on-year comparisons remain difficult, the level of new car sales in the ‘big five’ markets this year has been bad news for the global volume brands, who have traditionally relied on them and will need to look elsewhere for growth.”

However, despite the drop in sales, Vauxhall made up ground on top-selling Volkswagen and Ford after selling 104,204 cars in September.

The fourth and fifth biggest sellers, French manufacturers Renault and Peugeot, are faring much better in 2010 so far, with sales increased by 12.2 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively.

This success is in stark contrast to the top ten best-selling manufacturers in 2010, where half have recorded a negative trend in sales.

Renault currently has two models in the top ten best-selling model list; the Megane and Clio supermini. Both cars have enjoyed more sales in 2010 than the same period in 2009.

In the case of the Renault Clio, 260,000 cars have been sold this year compared to just 220,000 in 2009, while the Megane has also enjoyed strong demand – up 22.5 per cent on 2009 figures.

This can be attributed to a 2.7 per cent increase in sales in the French market in 2010, where the Clio and Megane are particularly popular models.

The Great Britain market is also a strong market for Renault sales, which have been boosted by a 7.8 per cent increase in the market in 2010.

However, German manufacturers will be disappointed to see a 27.5 per cent decrease in sales in Germany in 2010 now that the scrappage scheme has finished, the largest decline out of any European market.