US sales 2017 Q3: Premium Large SUV segment

Segment recovers as some of the newcomers see good sales growth

US Large Premium SUV
Sales of Premium Large SUVs were up 5% in the third quarter of 2017, a slightly recovery from the gently 2% sales decline over the first two quarters of the year. With a total of 366,324 units this still makes this the largest from amongst the Premium SUV segments, but the lead it has to the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment continues to shrink. 

Note: after lumping really models as disparate as the Lincoln MKX and Bentley Bentayga under the Premium Large SUV banner for a long time, we have decided to split the segment into two: Premium Large SUV and Premium Full-size SUV. The difference between the two will hopefully be self-evident, but we’re aiming for the latter segment to capture models that are ahead of the more homogenous Premium Large SUV pack either through their size (Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Lexus LX), price (Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz G-Class), or both (Bentley Bentayga). Let us know what you think of this new split.

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European car sales analysis September 2017 – models

Nissan_Qashqai-facelift-2017After looking at the September 2017 car brand sales in Europe, let’s look at individual model sales figures. Keep in mind the September ranking is skewed towards models that are relatively popular in the UK, due to the twice annual license plate change that boosts March and September in this market, so the UK takes up about 30% of total European sales this month, compared to about 18% over the course of an entire year. The first thing that you’ll notice at the top of the ranking (and also a result of its success in its home market UK) is the record 2nd place for the Nissan Qashqai, whose previous best ranking was a 5th place which it hit 4 times, including twice this year ( February and July), but in September the Qashqai was the best seller in the UK, Spain and Finland, helping it outsell all subcompacts which usually crowd the podium behind the traditional leader Volkswagen Golf. The Renault Clio is in third place ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, whose #4 position is the highest in 12 months for the nameplate, despite losing 22,2% of its volume on last year. The Corsa is suffering mostly from a 41% loss in the UK, which means this market accounts for 88% of its lost sales this month. The Volkswagen Tiguan makes it 2 crossovers in the top-5, while the Ford Focus benefits from the seasonal peak in UK sales where it is relatively strong to jump from 26th place in August to #6 in September. The last time the Focus ranked this high in Europe was June 2015. That leaves the Volkswagen Polo in 7th place as it’s not the #2 VW in Europe for the second consecutive month, something that hadn’t happened before in at least the last 10 years. The Skoda Octavia drops from its record #3 position last month to 8th, while the top-10 is completed by the Peugeot 208 and Toyota Yaris, a third consecutive top-10 finish for the latter.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis September 2017 – brands

European-car-sales-graph-september_2017After four months of growth, new car sales in Europe are down again, by 2,1% to 1,46 million sales in September 2017. This is only the second time this year that the European car market is in negative territory, and the year-to-date figure is now down to +3,3%, the lowest it has been so far this year. September is still the second best month so far this year, after March and just ahead of May. A total of 11,9 million cars have been sold in the first nine months of 2017, which is close to the 2013 full year figure of 12,3 million sales. Among the five biggest markets, Italy (+8,1%) and Spain (+4,6%) once again showed the strongest improvements, while France was stable at +1,1%, but Germany (-3,3%) and the United Kingdom (-9,3%) are pulling the market down. They are not the only one, as 11 out of the 30 countries of the EU and EFTA saw their sales decline, of which Denmark (-22,2%), Latvia (-20,8%) and Ireland (-17%) by double digits. Year-to-date, Italy (+9%), Spain (+6,7%), France (+3,9%) and Germany (+2,2%) continue to grow so far in 2017, but UK car demand fell by 3,9%

Surprisingly, tiny Suzuki Motors is the manufacturer that adds the most volume in September, ahead of juggernauts Renault-Nissan and Toyota Motor. All add between 2.500 and 4.000 sales, so small gains this month. On the other end of the spectrum we do see a few large declines, most notably those of Ford Motor Company and PSA-Opel, which each lose more than 12.500 sales compared to September 2016. Looking at relative growth, Tesla Motors is firing on all its kilowatts with a gain of 46%, ahead of Aston Martin and Suzuki, while Mahindra & Mahindra is the fastest declining manufacturer due to its ownership of SsangYong and loses more than a third of its Eurpoean volume. Honda and SAIC MG are also on the wrong end of the list with double digit declines.

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US sales 2017 Q3: Premium Mid-sized SUV segment

Stability in a segment normally full of surprises

US premium mid-sized SUVSales of Premium Mid-sized SUVs in the US were up 3.9% in Q3 of 2017, a slowdown compared to the first two quarters of the year, when the segment recorded robust double-digit growth. Still, sales are up 8.9% since the beginning of the year, to 328,025, meaning the segment continues to (slowly) close the gap to the Premium Large SUV segment, which is still the largest from among Premium SUV segments at 458,376 units for the first three quarters of the year. With the new Audi Q5Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Range Rover Velar still building sales, and the new BMW X3, Infiniti QX50 and Volvo XC60 coming to market soon, the segment is bound to grow robustly in the next year.… Continue Reading …

US sales 2017 Q3: Premium Compact SUV segment

Fastest growing segment in the US, now larger than premium compact car segment

US premium compact SUV 2The Premium Compact SUV segment continued its trend of double-digit sales increases in 2017, growing by 17.0% in the third quarter. This makes it the only Premium SUV segment to maintain double-digit growth in all quarters of 2017 so far, although at 84,544 units sold it remains the smallest of the three by far.  With sales of the new generation Mini Countryman picking up, and the arrival of the BMW X2, Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40 by the end of the year, the segment is bound to continue on this path of growth. Next year, Audi could bring the Q2 to the States as well, although this has not yet been officially confirmed, nor has Acura hinted at the possibility that the China-made CDX is coming to the US. If so, it won’t be for at least another year.

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US sales: October 2017, brands

The decline in the US car market resumed in October, and even though the 1.1% decline in sales was the mildest since May it was still an unwelcome return to trend after the surprising 6.3% growth in sales in September. The SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) once again was over 18 million, suggesting a healthy market, but it remains to be seen whether the coming months will be more like September, or whether we will continue to see a steady slide in sales numbers.

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China car sales analysis September 2017


The Chinese car market continue sits steady growth in September, showing a 3,4% increase to almost 2,3 million sales of passenger cars. This is the fourth consecutive month of single digit increases after years of booming growth. It also builds confidence in the belief that the market will continue its winning streak in 2017 and finish the year in positive territory despite an exceptionally strong last quarter of 2016. That brings the year-to-date total to almost 16,8 million sales, an increase of 3,7% on the same period in 2016. In absolute terms, 2017 is ahead of last year by 600.000 sales, which means the likelihood of yet another new sales record is becoming greater by the passin gmonth. We’d need at least an 8% sales decline in the last quarter to see the first annual decline in a few decades in China. Even considering the exceptionally strong finish of 2016, that seems pretty unlikely, especially taking into account the sales tax on cars with engines of 1,6 liter and smaller will increase again in January, from 7,5% back to its normal rate of 10%, which should pull forward sales of this kind of vehicle to the last quarter. Back to September: the crossovers and SUV trend seems unstoppable with yet another double digit gain: +10% to 971.000 sales, while sedans improve 3,7% to 1,16 million sales and the decline of the MPV segment accelerates to -25% to 165.900 sales. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a impressive improvement of 79% in September, to almost 78.000 sales. EVs were responsible for most of that growth, as sales increased 83% to 64.000, compared to a 62% increase for PHEVs, to 14.000. These figures add up to 325.000 EV and 73.000 PHEV sales in China so far this year, an increase of 38% on the first 9 months of 2016 and 2,4% of the overall market. The Beijing government has set a target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that will be imposed in 2018

The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in August stood at 25,8 million, a similar level as last January, which has been the highest so far this year, and up by 850.000 on August, marking the 6th consecutive month of increased SAAR. The share of domestic automakers in September was 39,8%, the highest figure in the past 3 months and down from 41,8% in September 2016. Sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments were down 1,5%, compared to a gain of just 2% for US brands, +12% for Japanese brands and +15% for European brands. In contrast, South-Korean brands are down for the 9th month this year, by 23%.

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US sales 2017 Q3: Limousine segment

Sales fall in the third quarter despite a bevy of fresh models

US limousine segmentAfter inching up slowly in the first two quarters of the year, sales in the Limousine segment in the US fell by 16% in the third quarter, the worst performance from among all Premium segments, car and SUV. That said, total sales so far this year (42,929) are only 3.6% down on this time last year, which is a better performance than both the Premium Compact and Premium Mid-sized segments. Moreover, with many new models still building sales (BMW 7-seriesCadillac CT6Genesis G90, Porsche Panamera) and two new models about to go on sales in the third quarter (Audi A8 and Lexus LS) the prospect for the segment looks bright in the next year. 

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US sales Q3 2017: Premium Large segment

Segment arrests its slide in Q3’17, thanks to new BMW 5-series and good performance from FWD modelsUS-sales-premium_large_car-segmentAfter consistently losing around 15% in sales each quarter since the beginning of 2016, the Premium Large Car segment finally rebounded a bit in the third quarter, and while it still hasn’t gone back to black, it got close with a 2% decline, the lowest from among all Premium Car segments. And while the segment is still likely to see its sales decline by double digits by the end of the year, driven mostly by rising popularity of crossovers, it is good to see that good new models like the BMW 5-series and Volvo S90 can still attract a lot of customers.… Continue Reading …

US sales Q3 2017: Premium Mid-sized segment

The segment dips into the red but still outperforms other premium car segments

US-sales-premium_midsized_car-segmentSales of Premium Mid-sized cars fell by 9% in the third quarter of the year, down to 316,919, erasing the sales gains recorded over the first half of the year. Still, the segment is still the best performing from among all premium car segments, with all the other ones losing more sales since the beginning of the year. A big reason for is that over the past year a lot of new metal has hit the market (Audi A5, Infiniti Q60Alfa Romeo Giulia), while a few other models are still fresh and growing strong (Audi A4Jaguar XE). With the new BMW 3-Series around the corner, and a new Lexus IS and Volvo S60 not far off, the prospects are pretty good for this segment, despite the onslaught from premium SUVs.

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