Amid steady Belgian car sales, Stellantis takes a hit

Belgian registrations showed a slight decline in April, but the trend is positive over the first four months. Taking inflation and a larger crisis for European automakers into account, the national market demonstrates resilience. And lest not forget: despite the absence of the Brussels Motor Show, not everyone is keeping up their heads.

Last month, the Belgian car market regressed slightly with 39,699 units compared to 39,872 in the same month of the previous year, marking a marginal drop of 0.43%. Looking at the performance of the first four months, there’s a positive trajectory with a 2.03% increase, totalling 174,839 new cars compared to 171,356 in 2023.

Volkswagen beats BMW

Volkswagen managed to leapfrog over BMW during the last month, though the latter keeps the lead over the full first period of 2024. With 4,225 units registered, the first outperformed the latter by 225 units. We’ve grown accustomed to BMW securing the highest spot, but Volkswagen interrupted its momentum. The question is whether it can hold on.

Confirming the premium nature of the Belgian market, last month’s top five includes Audi (3,245) in third place and Mercedes (2,721) in fifth. Oddball in this company is Dacia (2,882), taking the fourth spot as the brand that plays the strongest hand on the private market. This illustrates the different speeds between corporate sales, primarily a Flemish feature, and private sales, mainly a Walloon phenomenon.

Overall, BMW maintains a strong pole position, having provided one in ten new cars in Belgium in 2024 (10.4%). Volkswagen accounts for 8.7%, followed by Audi (8.1%). This shows how company cars uphold the market, while private customers stick to their hesitancy.

Electric cars are steaming ahead

Belgium also continues to stand out in the electric vehicle landscape. Sales have surged, supported by favorable corporate tax incentives and a €5,000 subsidy in Flanders for private electric car purchases. These factors contributed to a whopping 139.5% increase in EV sales in Flanders during the first quarter, with nearly double the sales across Belgium.

On a noticeable losing streak is the Stellantis group. Sales of all of its brands are dwindling heavily. For Peugeot, the downturn of 59.2% is nothing less than a crisis, but DS Automobiles (-44.4%) and Alfa Romeo (-39.7%) aren’t far behind.

Opel lost 28.6%, Fiat 25.2%. Building upon its SUV credentials, Jeep managed to contain the dip to 2.4%. Is the Italo-Franco-American group facing headwinds over its switch to the agency model? This strategy takes marketing support out of the hands of dealers while limiting their margin for negotiations.

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