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Golf tops the charts as SUV sales surge in Europe

The European car industry had a solid 2017, with new registrations totalling 15.57 million, an increase of 3.1 per cent when compared to 2016, and the highest volume of registrations since 2007 when 16.02 million units were registered.

“The vast majority of market growth in 2017 was driven by SUVs, which posted a record 4.56 million registrations in 2017. Comparatively, SUV registrations in 2016 were just 3.81 million units – meaning volume for the segment grew by 19.5 per cent in 2017. As a result, market share for SUVs has jumped from 25.2 per cent in 2016 to 29.3 per cent in 2017.” commented Felipe Munoz, Global Automotive Analyst at JATO Dynamics.

Against that, trends in the diesel market and Brexit had a negative impact on growth, which slowed down to 3.1 per – a decrease on the 6.5 per cent and 9.3 per cent volume growth experienced in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

In fact, the downward trend in diesel impacted full year figures for 2017 too, with diesel volumes falling by 7.9 per cent to 6.76 million units (data excludes Hungary), accounting for just 43.7 per cent of total registrations in 2017. This is the lowest market share for the diesel segment for 10 years. Gasoline cars were able to benefit from the decline of diesel, growing by 10.9 per cent – an increase of 760,000 units. Alternatively fuelled vehicles accounted for only 4.8 per cent of registrations, a total of 737,400 units, which was a volume change of 46.1 per cent on the previous year. These registrations were split between hybrid technology, electric and plug-in vehicles.

The Volkswagen Golf retained its position as Europe’s most popular car in 2017. Despite this, its volume fell by 1 per cent and it was the top seller in just five European markets in 2017, compared to eight in 2016. More than half of its registrations were in Germany and the UK, and it was also heavily affected by the drop in diesel sales, with its diesel registrations falling by 14.6 per cent, counting for 41 per cent of its total sales (47 per cent in 2016).

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