FIESTA OUTPACES GOLF IN RACE TO EUROPEAN SALES RECOVERY
In total, 68,630 Fiestas were sold in March 2010, a 25.8% rise in sales, vs. March 2009 and 11,785 more than Volkswagenâ€™s second-placed Golf.
Year-to-date, Fiesta is also ahead, selling 140,496 to Golfâ€™s 135,048, reversing the picture from Q1 2009, but continuing a pattern where Fiesta has closed the sales gap to Golf through 2010.
Fiestaâ€™s achievement is even more impressive considering Golf sales also increased during last month and the yearâ€™s first quarter. Fiesta sales simply outpaced Golf, with its move to pole position particularly due to its strong March sales in the UK (+14.7%) and Italy (+87%), where 57% of all Fiestas sold (11,251) were LPG-powered.
By contrast, Golfâ€™s traditionally strong home market, Germany, continued to struggle, losing 106,590 sales overall, vs. March 2009 (- 26.6%).
â€œWhat may appear to be a sudden change in fortunes is actually a continuing trend,â€? explained David Di Girolamo, Head of JATO Consult. â€œFiesta has been closing the gap to Golf through 2010 and there are a number of factors behind this. The buoyant sales markets so far this year are thos
â€œThe last time Fiesta was ahead of Golf in European sales was March 2009, so it remains to be seen whether it can hold top position this time round.â€?
The encouraging news for the wider industry will be the net 9.8% uplift in March sales across Europe (+9.6% YtD), with Germany the only major market not posting a sales increase for the month.
Fiestaâ€™s move to the top of the table is the result of success in key markets, notably Great Britain, where it sold 34% of all March models (23,681 sales).
By contrast, Fiat has seen a drop in March sales for its Punto and Panda, largely due to significantly reduced sales in Germany (-88% and -80% respectively).
Volkswagen Golf sales have continued to grow, but the strongest markets are not those where Golf is most popular. It was the only one of Germanyâ€™s top five cars to increase sales in March (+12.5%), and grew by 24.3% in the UK, but was outsold here 2:1 by Fiesta, year-to-date.
Most improved in the monthâ€™s top ten was the new model Opel/ Vauxhall Astra, which saw a 42.9 overall March sales rise, aided greatly by a 75.9% uplift in the UK, where it was the third best-selling car.
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