New SUVs at Peugeot, Ford Offset U.K. Drag on Europe Car Sales

  • U.K. demand shrinks a seventh month as Brexit talks struggle
  • Renault posts sales increase as Alaskan pickup rolled out

New sport utility vehicles like the Peugeot 5008 and a jump in demand in France helped revive European car sales in October, offsetting another month of consumer unease in the U.K. on big-ticket purchases.

Registrations rose 5.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.21 million vehicles, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said Thursday in a statement. This marks a return to growth across most of the region after a slide in September, when concerns about Brexit also discouraged U.K. buyers from buying new cars. Demand in that nation, the second-biggest European auto market, fell a seventh consecutive month in October.

The euro-zone economy is set for its best annual performance in at least a decade, with consumer confidence at its highest since 2001. In contrast, public concern is rising in the U.K., which isn’t in the euro area, as talks have made little progress on the terms for the nation’s departure from the European Union.

Full-year sales in western Europe next year are likely to be “constrained by struggling U.K. sales,” analysts Jonathon Poskitt and David Oakley at research company LMC Automotive Ltd. wrote in a report before the ACEA published its statement.

PSA Group’s main Peugeot brand posted a 17 percent jump in European sales in October, helped by a retool of the seven-seat 5008 into an SUV from an earlier minivan version. The Opel and Vauxhall nameplates, which the Paris-based automaker bought from General Motors Co. in August, together sold 2.5 percent fewer cars. Vauxhall’s primary market is the U.K.

European registrations at French manufacturer Renault SA jumped 18 percent, following the rollout of the Alaskan pickup truck and a new version of the Koleos SUV. Ford Motor Co.’s sales in Europe increased 5.8 percent. The U.S. manufacturer said this week that deliveries of the Kuga crossover in a 20-country portion of the region surged 44 percent.

The ACEA’s figures come from the European Union’s 28 member countries, excluding Malta, plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

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