Economy, Auto

European Car Sales Up, Market Slowing

European Car Sales Up, Market Slowing
European Car Sales Up, Market Slowing

European vehicle sales are up 7% this year through May, but the market is showing signs of a potential slump.

In May, sales grew 0.8% compared to the same month in 2014, according to figures announced Wednesday by market analysts JATO Dynamics. That's the slowest rate since November 2013. Many countries had fewer sales days this year, which could have dragged things down.

There were other potentially bad signs for the European market though. The Volkswagen Golf, Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio topped the bestsellers list, but all three had falling sales in May, Autoblog writes. The Clio was the worst of the bunch with a drop of 11.8 percent. The continent's top automakers showed a similar trend, and Volkswagen, Ford and Opel/Vauxhall all posted falling volume for the month.

After going into a deep slump in 2013 and then reaching its lowest sales in decades, the European auto market has slowly been climbing out of a dark hole ever since.

JATO Dynamics does not think there's reason to believe the sky is falling just yet.

 "Regardless of May's monthly total, with sustained underlying demand, new and diverse models driving increased sales, and the resurgence of the compact MPV segment, the European new-car market is as dynamic as ever," said Brian Walters, the company's vice president of data, in the analysis. Long a bastion of diesel-fueled engines, European regulators are rapidly moving away from oil burners and even pushing for outright bans in some instances. In their place, governments want a greater number of EVs and plug-in hybrids.