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European car sales rise as growing economy helps Peugeot, Toyota

[FRANKFURT] European car sales jumped 5.8 per cent last month as new SUVs from French automakers Peugeot and Citroen as well as Asian rivals attracted buyers amid accelerating economic growth.

Registrations increased to 1.26 million vehicles from 1.19 million a year earlier, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, or ACEA, said Thursday in a statement. Eleven-month sales gained four per cent percent to 14.5 million autos.

The European Union raised third-quarter gross domestic product growth figures a week ago, while unemployment in the countries sharing the euro is at a nine-year low. That's encouraged consumers and businesses to spend more on purchasing roomier sport utility vehicles. Demand for the rugged models has prompted mass-market manufacturers including Volkswagen as well as luxury-vehicle producers such as Rolls-Royce and Ferrari to add them to their lineups.

PSA Group's Citroen brand, which began deliveries of the C3 Aircross compact SUV in recent months, posted a 15 per cent surge in European deliveries in November, while its Peugeot nameplate sold 20 per cent more vehicles, buoyed by demand for the 3008 and 5008 crossovers.

Toyota, the world's second-biggest carmaker and the eighth-largest in Europe, increased sales in the region by 12 per cent, boosted by the compact C-HR. European demand at Kia Motors jumped 13 per cent after the Seoul-based manufacturer introduced the Stonic small SUV in the region.

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The ACEA figures comprise registrations in the 28 European Union countries, excluding Malta, as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Among the top five markets, November sales gains in Germany, France, Italy and Spain exceeded the regionwide growth rate, while demand in the UK plunged 11 per cent amid lingering customer concerns about the nation's terms for exiting the EU.


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