In February, Volkswagen and Fiat were the biggest winners in the European auto market while Renault, Ford Motor and the previously hard-charging Korean auto-makers were the biggest losers.
Fiat’s sales increased even though the automaker is abandoning market share-enhancing tactics such as big incentives, fleet sales and self-registrations to dealers, said John Lawson, an analyst for Citigroup in London.
“Fiat is benefiting from the full availability of the Grande Punto,” wrote Adam Jonas, analyst for Mor-gan Stanley in London in a report.
Fiat Auto, which also includes the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia brands, grew 11.5 percent to 95,013 units for the month, according to figures from ACEA, the European carmakers association.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn also wants the French carmaker to stop using destructive sales practices.
Citigroup’s Lawson said: “Mr. Ghosn is finding that way of selling cars particularly abhorrent to his value-creating mindset.”
But Ghosn’s ambition is causing the carmaker short-term pain. Renault sales dropped 5.7 percent to 101,230 for February.
Renault’s recent sales decreases “can be explained mainly by the implementation of a sales policy that is less inclined to use incentives to a point where they damage our brand image and destroy profits,” Ghosn said last month at a press conference to launch his new three-year Renault revival program.
ACEA’s February figures show a continuing pattern of shifting fortunes. Carmakers that had been doing well the last couple of years have suffered losses this year, while previously hot companies have cooled off considerably.
The Koreans, previously Europe’s fastest rising new entrants, have gone into the slow lane.
Hyundai dropped 4.4 percent for February to 22,371 units, while Kia was also down – 2.1 percent to 13,586 units.
Ford also was a loser. Among Ford brands, only Land Rover was up for the month – 14.4 percent to 4,138 units. Jaguar and Volvo suffered double-digit declines – 12 percent and 19.7 percent respectively, while the Ford brand was off 2.6 percent.