The latest figures show that European car sales fell in March for the second straight month. German manufacturers suffered most because of the increase in value added tax there from the start of the year.
Italy’s Fiat increased its sales in the region again during March and throughout first three months of the year thanks to demand for its newer models, the Grande Punto and the Bravo.
Fiat’s market share is now 8.3% bringing it level with Renault. Ahead of them is Peugeot Citroen, which saw sales decline by 1.1% since the start of the year. Its market share slipped slightly to 13.3%. Volkswagen remains number one with 18.9%.
However Volkswagen’s Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn has said 2007 will be “difficult’‘ for the VW brand, with no new models due until next year
Among countries the picture was very mixed. Germany’s increase in value-added tax from 16 to 19% caused sales there to decline by 10% year on year in the first quarter. By contrast sales in Sweden were up by more than 11.7%.