Home / Auto News / News article: Ford is Europe's Number One Brand in March - Or is it? - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Apr 15 2010, 12:32 PM

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Ford has just announced in a glowing new press release that it is the number one automaker is Europe for the month of March. Can that really be true? What about Volkswagen, Fiat and Peugeot? Last time we were in Europe we didn’t see all that many Fords. Well, as it turns out our friends over at TTAC has similar skepticism and decided to do a little research, only to uncover that Ford’s public relations department seems to be playing fast and loose with the semantics of the issue.

TTAC staff went and looked for the March European Automobile Manufacturers Association (also known as ACEA) numbers for March, but they hadn’t been tallied yet. Still, taking a look at February’s numbers it’s easy to see what Ford has done.

In February Volkswagen topped the list with a 20.4 percent market share. In second place was PSA Group with 14.9 percent and then Renault with 11 percent. Ford is listed as fourth with 10 percent. Now Ford is claiming a total of 192,500 vehicles sold in March, an impressive 16.1 percent increase. But even then, 16.1 percent of 10 percent market share won’t get you anywhere close to VW’s dominant 20 percent. So what’s goong on here.

Simple, Ford is sticking its numbers up against VW’s numbers, not VW Group’s numbers. And if you recall, VW owns not only Audi, but also Seat and Skoda and Porsche and Lamborghini and Bentley and… well, you get the point.

Now some might argue that as Ford is really just one brand in Europe (if you exclude Volvo) then the comparison is a fair one. Regardless, we thought this overly glowing press release deserved a little “perspective.”

[Source: Ford and TTAC]

Official release after the jump:

PRESS RELEASE

FORD – EUROPE’S TOP-SELLING BRAND IN MARCH

March sales

* Ford was No.1 in Europe for March with a sales volume of 192,500 vehicles
* Ford Fiesta sales at 68,800 were the highest for any Ford model on record in a single month in Europe
* Total sales volume saw a 16.1 per cent increase versus March 2009, and was Ford’s tenth consecutive month-on-month increase in sales
* Ford posted best monthly market share since August 1998 – 10.4 per cent in the main 19 European markets, up 0.4 percentage points on March 2009
* Continued strong demand for Ford’s entire product-line up: Focus and Ka registrations in March up by 23 and 27 per cent respectively on March 2009
* The UK was Ford’s top-selling European market in March, while Spanish sales were up by 86 per cent year-over-year
* Record monthly volume and share in Italy

First Quarter sales

* Ford remains Europe’s No.2 best-seller year-to-date
* First quarter sales volume up by 9.1 per cent versus 2009, with market share at 9.4 per cent unchanged from last year
* Best first quarter Fiesta sales volume and share since 1996, and best first quarter share for Ka since 2002
* Ford remains No.1 selling brand in the UK, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland and Turkey for March and year-to-date; also market leader in The Netherlands for March
* Italy achieves its highest-ever first quarter share at 10.6 per cent, up by 0.7 percentage points on 2009
* Share increased in 10 out of Ford’s 19 main European markets in March and in seven of the 19 in the first quarter 2010
* Ford’s sales success in Europe complements the continuing successes in other markets around the world, including the US, Canada, India and China

COLOGNE, April 15, 2010 – Ford was No.1 in Europe in March with sales of 192,500 vehicles, a 16.1 per cent increase – or 26,700 vehicles – compared to March 2009, and the company’s tenth consecutive month-on-month volume increase. Fiesta sales at 68,800 were the highest for any Ford model on record in a single month in Europe.

Market share was at a twelve-year high of 10.4 per cent and the company’s best share in its main 19 European markets since August 1998.

“Attaining the No.1 position in the European market for March and being No.2 year-to-date – despite the continuing aggressive discounting we have seen from some competitors – is a great testament to the hard work of the Ford team and especially our dealers across Europe who have done an outstanding job in supporting and satisfying their customers,” said Ingvar Sviggum, Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe.

“This success also underlines the confidence customers have in our latest range of excellent vehicles. With 11 all-new or significantly freshened vehicles and a wealth of new customer-focused technologies being introduced this year, our product range is set to becoming even stronger in Europe.”

Ford was the No.1 best-selling brand for March in the UK, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, The Netherlands and Turkey, and increased its market share in 10 of its 19 main European markets. In the UK, where March is traditionally a strong month because of the registration plate change, Ford strengthened its market lead with 72,700 new registrations, up by 10,300 units or 16.4 per cent on March 2009. Ford was also passenger car market leader in Spain for the month.

Commenting on the product highlights in March and the first quarter, Roelant de Waard, Vice President, Sales, Ford of Europe, said: “Fiesta continues to be an outstanding performer for us with 140,400 sold in Europe during the first three months of the year, and close to 70,000 sold in March alone. Globally, we’ve now sold over 750,000 Fiestas since the latest generation model was launched almost 18 months ago.”

Among other sales successes for March was the Ford Focus, which firmly underpinned its No.2 Ford sales position within Ford’s main 19 European markets behind the Fiesta. Focus increased sales by 23 per cent. Sales of the Ford Ka rose by 27 per cent in March, while Kuga sales increased by more than a third compared to March 2009.

Dr. Wolfgang Schneider, Ford of Europe’s Vice President for Legal, Governmental and Environmental Affairs, said: “Ford has had a great March and first quarter sales performance, but we can expect some further challenges in the months ahead as more scrappage schemes are phased out.”

“We understand fully that there will not be another round of scrappage incentives but we do ask that governments consider other sales incentives, in particular to encourage small and medium sized enterprises. For example, tax breaks for commercial vehicles would not only benefit smaller companies but the wider economy and automotive industry as well,” Dr. Schneider said.

Ford first quarter vehicle sales in the Euro 19 markets
In the first quarter of 2010, Ford registered 391,100 vehicles in its 19 European markets, 32,600 units or 9.1 per cent more than in 2009. Total industry was up 9.2 per cent.

Market share in the main 19 European markets was 9.4 per cent, remaining unchanged when compared with the same period in 2009, and confirming Ford as the No.2 best-selling brand in Europe for the first quarter this year. Ford’s share rose in seven of its main 19 European markets for the first quarter of 2010.

Ford first quarter vehicle sales in all of its Euro 51 markets
Ford of Europe sold 212,200 new vehicles in March and 431,900 year-to-date across its 51 markets. Compared to 2009, these sales were 12.7 and 4.7 per cent higher, respectively.

March Highlights

Ford Market Performance:

* Ford No.1 best-selling brand in Europe.
* Market leader in the UK, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands and Turkey. Also passenger car market leader for the month in Spain.
* Increased share in 10 of Ford’s main 19 European markets.
* In Britain, Ford strengthened its market lead for the month with 72,700 new registrations, up by 10,300 units or 16.4 per cent on March 2009 – the highest March registrations of any market.
* Spain’s March volume was up by 86 per cent versus the same month last year or 6,300 units to 13,600. Ford’s market share there increased by 1.5 ppts to 9.8 per cent, marking the highest share gain within the five largest markets in March.
* Ford was the leading import brand in the Czech Republic and France. In the Czech Republic, Ford sold 2,000 vehicles in March, up by 26 per cent, and posted a 10.8 per cent market share, 0.5 ppts higher versus March 2009 – the highest March registrations and share there since 1993.
* In France, Ford increased volume to 16,700, up by more than 3,200 units – 24 per cent higher than prior year. Share was at 5.9 per cent, up by 0.3 ppts – the strongest March share and registrations results there since 1999.
* Ford was also No.1 imported brand in Italy, where share was at 11.6 per cent, up 1.4 ppts on March 2009. Sales volume there soared to 33,400, up by 9,300 units or 39 per cent, achieving the best March registrations since 1993.
* In The Netherlands, Ford’s March registrations of 5,300 were 35 per cent over 2009, resulting in the highest March volume there since 2001. Share was at 10.3 per cent, up by 0.8 ppts, the best March share since 1996.
* Highest share gains were delivered in Denmark (up 3.4 ppts; market share at 12.4 per cent, the highest share since March 1998), and Hungary (up 2.1 ppts; share at 15.8 per cent; the best March share since 1993).

Model Performance:

* Fiesta (68,800), Focus (40,200), and Transit (16,600) were Ford of Europe’s three top-selling vehicles (19 main European markets).
* Fiesta sales at 68,800 were the highest for any Ford model on record in a single month in Europe, making the Fiesta Europe’s No.1 best-selling car overall in March, an achievement which external sources will confirm later this month.
* Fiesta and Focus occupy the No.1 and No.2 position respectively in the UK. Fiesta was also the best-selling foreign vehicle for the month in Italy.
* Only 18 months after its debut, more than 750,000 customers have purchased the new Fiesta around the world, as Ford continues to launch this global car in the U.S. and other key Asian Pacific markets in 2010.
* Ka continues its success: 15,400 units sold in March, up by 3,200 or more than 26 per cent – the best March for Ka since 2002, and leading its segment in Spain.
* Best ever monthly volume for Kuga, which totaled 9,100 registrations in March, up by 3,300 units on the same month 2009.
* C-MAX and S-MAX were the best-selling foreign vehicles in their segment in France.
* Retail sales accounted for 70 per cent of new Kuga, 70 per cent of Fiesta, 70 per cent of Fusion and 68 per cent of Ka sales in March 2010.

First Quarter Performance:

* Ford No.2 best-selling brand in Europe.
* Market leader in the UK, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland and Turkey.
* Ford’s share increased in 7 of its main 19 European markets.
* Britain’s year-to-date sales volume increased by 12,100 to 110,100, up by 12.4 per cent on the first quarter 2009.
* No.1 imported brand in France, with registrations at 40,100, up by 5,500 or more than 15.9 per cent on 2009 – the best March year-to-date volume since 1999.
* Italy’s share in the first three months of 2010 was at 10.6 per cent, up by 0.7 ppts on 2009, the highest share gain within Ford’s five largest markets and the highest quarterly share ever for Ford in Italy, whilst first quarter registrations there were at 77,900 – up by 19,300 units or 33 per cent higher on the first three months 2009.
* Highest ever first quarter share in the Czech Republic at 9.0 per cent, also leading import brand in the first three months of 2010.
* Scandinavian markets continue to perform well in the first quarter of 2010. Sweden had registrations of 4,400, up by 1,000 units, or an increase of 28.7 per cent, the best first quarter volume since 2007.
* The highest share gains of all 19 markets in the first quarter of 2010 were in Denmark (+0.6 ppts at 10.8 per cent share, the best first quarter share result since 1997), Italy (+0.7 ppts to 10.6 per cent, and Spain (+0.5 ppts to 9.2 per cent).

Model Performance:

* The three best-selling vehicles year-to-date 2010 were the new Fiesta (140,400), Focus (79,900) and Ka (31,600).
* In the first quarter of 2010, new Fiesta sales were up 29,700 on 2009, the best first quarter sales and share for this model since 1996. Fiesta also remained best-selling foreign vehicle in Italy and France and was leading its segment in Spain year-to-date 2010.
* 31,600 new Ford Ka vehicles have been delivered to Ford customers so far this year, up 8,300 units versus the first three months of 2009. Share and sales volume were the best since 2002.
* Ford segment-leading in the UK with Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and Galaxy in the first quarter.
* C-MAX and S-MAX were the top-selling imported products in their segment in France.
* Kuga was leading its segment in the first three months of 2010 in Italy, while Ka gained the No.1 segment position in Spain during the first three months of 2010.
* Fiesta remained No.1 best-selling car in the UK year-to-date, ahead of the Focus in No.2 position, while Transit was the best-selling commercial vehicle in the first quarter of 2010.

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