Volvo in top gear as Saab stuck in reverse

Sweden's two major car manufacturers, Volvo and Saab, are experiencing starkly contrasting fortunes in European markets, new sales statistics from the European sector organisation Acea show.

Volvo sales climbed by 30.3 percent in Europe in March while the market as a whole increased by 11.1 percent.

Saab’s outlook darkened however with March figures showing a collapse of 54.7 percent on already very low March 2009 figures.

Saab Automobile distinguished itself only as the car brand in Europe which declined the most.

The Acea statistics show a clear indication that sales statistics are rebounding, for many brands. Among those falling are several Japanese brands, including Toyota which fell 13.7 percent in March 2010 in comparison with the corresponding period of last year.

Volvo sold 27,021 cars in March and increased its market share from 1.4 percent to 1.6 percent.

Saab sold a mere 2,049 cars in March, less than half the 4,521 sold in the corresponding period of last year and the firm has now declined to a market share of only 0.1 percent.

Ford increased sales by 18.1 percent to 171,122 cars in March in comparison with March 2009 and now enjoy a market share of 10.2 percent in Europe. This figure is the same as for Volkswagen, dropping from 10.4 percent despite a sales hike of 9.3 percent during the month. VW just nudged ahead of Ford by 482 cars to 171,604 and therefore retained top spot.

Volkswagen remained dominant even over the full first quarter with 405,254 cars sold, in comparison with Ford’s 349,233 cars.

Volvo sold 59,863 cars over the period, 21 percent more than the same period last year. Saab sold 3,972 cars, down 57.4 percent in comparison with January-March 2009.

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