GM's Opel/Vauxhall European market share rises on Adam minicar

Opel says it sold about 21,000 Adam minicars (shown) in Germany last year.

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- General Motors brands Opel and Vauxhall increased their market share in Europe in 2013, as sales of the new Adam minicar helped counter a declining auto market.

Opel has struggled to retain market share in recent years, suffering from management disruption and a scarcity of new products.

It launched the Adam a year ago in an attempt to recover in Europe, where an economic crisis has steered customers toward smaller, cheaper-to-run cars.

Germany-based Opel and UK sister brand Vauxhall had a European market share of 5.61 percent in 2013, up from 5.59 percent in 2012, Opel said on Monday, citing preliminary sales figures.

In Germany -- Europe's biggest auto market -- Opel expanded its market share to 7.0 percent from 6.9 percent, it said.

The increase comes amid a continued decline in overall sales in Europe, where the auto market is expected to have contracted by 25 percent, or 4.3 million vehicles, in 2013 from 2007 levels, analysts at Moody's Investors Service said.

Pan-European sales figures for different brands have not yet been published. European auto industry association ACEA is set to release European car registration figures for 2013 on Jan. 16.

Peter Christian Kuespert, Opel's vice president of sales and aftersales, said the introduction of the Adam had helped boost deliveries.

Sales of the city car exceeded expectations, recording 21,000 new registrations in Germany in 2013, he said. Sales of the Mokka subcompact crossover reached about 20,000.

The Adam fits into Europe's key minicar segment, where it compete again models such as the Fiat 500, Volkswagen Up and Renault Twingo.