After closing out 2015 with over 9 percent sales growth year over year, European auto sales have continued to rise in January and February. Western Europe car sales rose 14 percent in February, following a January passenger car sales increase of 6.2 percent. Once all the final numbers are tallied, February is expected to be the 30th consecutive month of car sales increases in Europe, following an all-time sales low in 2013.
One area of strong growth in Europe is sales of SUVs and crossovers. SUVs grew to 22 percent of European passenger vehicle sales in 2015. SUV market share increased from 20 percent of overall sales in 2014 and 17 percent in 2013. This also mirrors the U.S. market for Trucks, SUVs, and crossover vehicles, which as we previously reported saw over 14 percent growth in 2015.
U.S. auto manufacturers are benefitting from the growth in the European SUV market. Ford in particular saw its European sales grow 18 percent in February 2016. Two Ford models, the EcoSport and the Kuga, had over 30% sales increases in February. The forecast for SUV sales signals continued growth for Ford in Europe: the market for small SUVs in Europe’s top markets is expected to double by 2018.