Europe April Sales Report: Through the Numbers

By Matthew Askari | May 02, 2012
We're well in to spring, and as we go through the European Sales numbers released today, we can't help but think it fitting. Spring symbolizes growth and renewal, and as far as European automakers are concerned, things are starting to get pretty green. For the most part April was a strong month for European automakers, and just about everyone is selling more through the first four months this year than last, save for Volvo. The German automakers saw early returns on new bread-and-butter models. BMW's 3 Series is new and sales show no shortage of people willing to man the wheel. Likewise, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class lead the pack in what was a record setting month for the automaker. The last time fellow German automaker Volkswagen had such a good April, Richard M. Nixon was president of the United States. We went through the numbers to see what was spearheading all this growth, and what models if any, were holding automakers back. Volkswagen:
  • Jetta: Quietly putting up strong numbers, despite increasing competition.
  • Tiguan: Leading the way for VW in the crossover and SUV category. A good turbocharged four-cylinder, stylish cabin, and decent fuel economy spells win.
  • Passat: It's made in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and with more than 10,000 Passats sold in April, it's the automaker's second most important model behind the Jetta.
  • Beetle: It's new, it's less dainty, a little man-power and less flower.
  • 3 Series: It was already BMW's best seller, and after the update, things are pretty much the same. New 3 Series, new sales records.
  • X5: The X5 comes with a base 3.0-liter V-6 engine, or you can opt for the powerful 4.4-liter V-8. Either way this luxury crossover offers infinite options and add-ons, and apparently people are finding ones that are just right for them.
  • Mini: While BMW is on a tear, Mini's sales are getting a little smaller. The Cooper S hardtop and Clubman both experienced a dip of late.
  • A6/A7: The A7 has been scorching for months, but the A6 is showing that a traditional tail is rather popular, too.
  • Q5: Audi has been talking about expanding the Q line from two models to seven. At the rate the Q5 is flying, we see where this logic is coming from.
  • A4: Someone's gotta pay the bills, and for decades, the A4 has been doing that for Audi. April was no different.
  • C-Class: Outselling all other MBs, including the E-Class. The redesign has really breathed life into the automaker's entry-level models.
  • M-Class: An SUV, done up the Mercdes-Benz-way; there's plenty of leather, wood, and shiny stuff, with a Mercedes-Benz badge starting at about 50k. Newcomers such as the Range Rover Evoque haven't made a dent in the M's sales yet.
  • E-Class: Not wanting to miss out on a potential sale, you can get an E-Class in: coupe; convertible; hardtop; sedan; wagon; big engine; medium-sized engine; diesel; gasoline; etc. The only line to do better was the C-Class.
Like other German automakers, Porsche came off of a record month, thanks in no small part to the new 911. The Panamera still looks like a frog waiting to leap, but that's cool with buyers (and it's cool with us, too). The Cayenne and Boxster/Cayman didn't have their best months, but that didn't stop Porsche from having its.
Jaguar/Land Rover: The Range Rover Sport is still Land Rover's top dog, but the new Evoque is turning out to be a gamble that has paid off handsomely. It's not a very practical SUV, but it is stylish and buyers don't mind the smaller 2.0-liter engine. On the Jaguar side, the XJ and XF kept things purring. Volvo: While Saab seems to have been killed off and brought back from the dead a dozen times in the past couple of years, there's still another Swedish automaker that has been chugging along, drama-free. Although with tepid sales, Volvo might welcome a little drama now as well. The S60, XC60, and XC90 are keeping the ship on course. Source: Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover