Archives for February 2015

Glickenhaus, you lucky bastard!

James Glickenhaus is already well-known to car enthusiasts as the guy who had Ferrari fashion him the gorgeous P4/5 by Pininfarina, but now he’s gone one better and built himself his very own supercar: the SCG 003S. And I have to say the result looks great! Sure, the front looks like a slightly smoother version of the Lamborghini Veneno, and the whole car has a lot of elements from the Enzo (nose, canopy-like glasshouse, front fenders), but the final result looks very smooth and dynamic, not unlike the GT by Citroën! Oh, and the aerodynamic channels between the engine bay and the rear wheels, my favorite feature on the 2015 Ford GT, look great in combination with rear wing (which itself looks like a cross between the Ferrari F40 and a modern LeMans prototype).… Continue Reading …

To fit or not to fit: Do car segments matter?

The concept of a car “segment” is a curious thing. Mostly customers don’t know or don’t care in which segment their car competes. And in these crossover- and niche-obsessed times I get the feeling that predefined segments are becoming less and less relevant. After all, is the Dacia Sandero a competitor to the similarly-priced Suzuki Celerio, or rather the similarly-sized Opel Corsa? What about the BMW 5GT? Does it compete with the Mercedes-Benz E-class, R-class, or maybe old-fashioned minivans? Ultimately, does the notion of a segment even matter anymore beyond comparison tests and sales statistics?

Yes, they do, but not necessarily as a direct source of information to the buying customer. Rather, I believe they capture the idea that, when buying cars, consumers will usually decide on which car size they want (usually by anchoring their search on the segment leader e.g. the VW Golf) and then cross-shop similar cars. And cars that don’t neatly fit into these “search sets” are often ignored, especially if they are too different from the market leader in their segment.

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New Audi R8: nice, but why does it look like a facelift?

The all new R8 (no, not a facelift!)

Even as a big Audi fan I have to admit the new Audi R8 looks too much like a facelift of the old one. What’s more, the new details disappoint, from the new hexagonal snout (too blocky, especially the thick vertical parts either side of the main opening) , the loss of the “side blades” which made the previous car more distinctive, and finally the rear lights that somehow look cheap. I really wish the front was more like the spy-shot/fan-made rendering shown below, with its aggressively thin LED lights (never really learned whether this supposed “leaked picture” was real, but it could be it was a proposed treatment for the scrapped R4 baby brother).

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How Nissan can become Europe’s best selling Asian brand again

In the late 1990’s, Nissan was Europe’s best selling Asian car brand thanks to the Micra, Almera and Primera, which were the epitome of Japanese cars in that period: not very exciting, but extremely reliable. But in the early 2000’s, they tried to bring more frivolous design into their cars with the 2002 Micra K12 and 2002 Primera P12, and as a result, the once faithful customers looking for anonymous transportation stayed away. At the same time, the newly formed alliance with Nissan-sales-Europe-1997-2014Renault caused the Japanese engineers to lose their focus on bulletproof reliability, and Nissan’s sales dropped from almost 440.000 units in 1998 to just over 300.000 in 2007. Contrastingly, Toyota was growing fast, and it has held the title of biggest Asian brand in Europe since 2000, even more than doubling Nissan’s sales between 2004 and 2008.

As Nissan realized that they could no longer be competitive in the regular compact hatchback and midsized sedan and station wagon segments with the Almera and Primera, they made a very risky but brave decision: abandon Europe’s second and third largest segments with combined annual volumes of 4.3 million units in 2006 (5.9 million including premium brands) in favor of relatively small, but fast-growing niche segments.… Continue Reading …

Light commercial vehicle sales Europe 2013

LCV-sales-statistics-Europe-Renault_Kangoo-Trafic-MasterFor the first time, and after many requests from readers interested in this data, I can share recent data on European LCV sales. Between 2009 and 2013, light commercial vehicle sales in Europe have fluctuated between 1,3 million and 1,55 million, with the top-10 best selling brands accounting for over 90% of sales. Eight brands in the top-10 are European, with two Japanese manufacturers competing in the bottom half of the top-10 with either clones of European vans or an in-house van produced locally in the continent.

LCV sales include mainly sales of cargo vans, which are available in four size categories in Europe, but also pick-up trucks, a category that’s hugely popular in the United States and other parts of the world, but not so in Europe, where less than 100.000 pick-ups are sold annually. Commercial versions of passenger cars and SUVs are also included in the LCV sales, but outside of France these types of vehicles make up just a small percentage of total light commercial vehicle sales in Europe.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 EV and PHEV segments

Sales of zero emission vehicles keep growing fast in Europe, the EV segment has grown another 50% in 2014, to over 60.000 vehicles, as the top-3 has continued to add sales and a flock of new products hit the market last year.

Electric_car-segment-European-sales-2014-Nissan_LEAFThe traditional leader Nissan Leaf has become the first EV to hit 15.000 annual sales in Europe, adding up to over 33.000 cumulative sales for the model. However, the Renault Zoe has outsold the Leaf in each of the last three months of the year with over 5.000 sales in the last quarter alone. The Zoe has become the second electric car to sell over 10.000 units in Europe in a single year and since demand is no longer limited to customers who don’t mind renting the battery separately, there may be a new best selling EV in 2015.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 exotic and sports car segments

Exotic_car-segment-European-sales-2014-BMW_i8Sales of exotic cars in Europe have accelerated their growth curve in the fourth quarter, and almost all of that growth can be attributed to a single model: the BMW i8. The i8 was already the best selling exotic car in the third quarter, but in Q4 its sales shifted up another gear, as BMW’s Plug-In electric hybrid took a commanding 41,6% share of the segment with 612 sales. As a result, the i8 has come within 150 units of the Ferrari 458 Italia in the full-year ranking, even though customer deliveries didn’t officially start until June. In 2015, look for the i8 in first position of the segment from day one.

This would push the Bentley Continental and the 458 Italia down into second and third place after these two models have controlled this segment for the past three years. And while the Ferrari threatened the Bentley as the 458 Speciale was the hottest product in the first half of 2014, its sales have started to thaw in the second half, when rumors of the 2016 launch of its replacement started to surface. That model, the 488 GTB is due in 2016 and will be Ferrari’s second turbocharged sports car after the recent California T.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 Passenger Van segment

Volkswagen-Multivan-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeThe large passenger van segment is up 5% to just over 150.000 units in 2014, with the Volkswagen T5 still firmly in the lead, selling more than double of its closest rival, the Fiat Ducato, even with the new generation T6 to be introduced in 2015. The new generation Mercedes Vito Tourer and its luxury twin V-Class (formerly Viano), would be in second place ahead of the Ducato if combined. The Renault Trafic and Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro are down as their new generations have only just been revealed and won’t start deliveries until Q2 of 2015. The Ford Tourneo Custom is up 37%, but sales of the larger Tourneo are down to less than half as customers are waiting for the new generation.

Fiat-Ducato-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeInteresting to see that of the Sevel-Nord triplets the Citroën Jumpy and Peugeot Expert outsell the Fiat Scudo by a 2:1 ratio each, while of the Sevel-Sud triplets the Fiat Ducato sells 12 times as many times as the Citroën Jumper. This is a result of the popularity the Ducato enjoys among coachbuilders and most notably campervan constructors.

2014 large passenger van sales Europe

Large Passenger Van Segment 2014 2013 Change
1. Volkswagen Transporter/Multivan 50.030 45.692 9%
2. Fiat Ducato 24.203 20.824 16%
3. Mercedes-Benz Vito/Viano Combi 15.857 21.613 -27%
4. Mercedes-Benz V-Class 10.152 26 new
5. Renault Trafic Passenger 8.384 9.979 -16%
6. Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro Tour 7.141 7.748 -8%
7. Ford Tourneo Custom 7.100 5.200 37%
8. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Combi 6.211 5.276 18%
9. Ford Transit Tourneo 5.192 11.490 -55%
10. Citroën Jumpy Multispace 4.418 4.161 6%
11. Peugeot Expert Tepee 4.401 4.062 8%
12. Fiat Scudo Panorama 2.367 2.178 9%
13. Citroën Jumper Combi 1.930 1.791 8%
14. Renault Master Passenger 1.929 1.642 17%
15. Volkswagen Crafter Combi 1.691 1.336 27%
16. Hyundai H1/Starex 917 1.168 -21%
Segment total 151.923 144.186 5%

Note that these statistics only include the passenger versions of these commercial vehicles, and exclude the cargo versions, which are sold in much larger numbers across Europe.

Also not that this list is not complete, as data of some models is not available.

Small passenger van segment

Mercedes-Benz-Citan-Combi-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeSales of small passenger vans are up 2% to almost 200.000 units in 2014, with the Volkswagen Caddy still firmly in first place, despite a drop of 3%. Its closest competitors, the Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Parter are down even more. Combined, the two clones would lead the segment ahead of the Caddy. The Renault Kangoo holds on to its fourth place ahead of its distant cousin Dacia Dokker, while the Kangoo’s clone Mercedes-Benz Citan is quickly storming the charts. Ford has successfully launched the new generation Tourneo Connect, which reaches 7th place with almost 10.000 sales.

Looking at the smallest vans of the segment, the aging Fiat Qubo, Citroën Nemo and Peugeot Bipper are all down with double digits, feeling the added competition from the Ford Tourneo Courier, and the triplets have lost more volume than the Ford has sold this year.

2014 large passenger van sales Europe

Small Passenger Van Segment 2014 2013 Change
1. Volkswagen Caddy Life 47.390 49.107 -3%
2. Citroën Berlingo Multispace 35.378 37.957 -7%
3. Peugeot Partner Tepee / Ranch 23.906 26.201 -9%
4. Renault Kangoo 22.971 22.100 4%
5. Dacia Dokker 20.264 19.866 2%
6. Fiat Qubo 10.167 13.077 -22%
7. Ford Tourneo Connect 9.490 231 new
8. Fiat Doblo 6.943 7.522 -8%
9. Nissan NV200 Evalia 5.434 5.370 1%
10. Mercedes-Benz Citan Combi 4.349 2.252 93%
11. Ford Tourneo Courier 4.275 0 new
12. Citroën Nemo Multispace 2.519 3.108 -19%
13. Peugeot Bipper Tepee 2.216 3.164 -30%
14. Opel/Vauxhall Combo Tour 1.733 2.518 -31%
Segment total 197.035 192.473 2%

Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2013 and monthly sales in 2012, 2013 and 2014, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.


European sales 2014 Premium Large SUV segment

Sales in the premium large SUV segment rebounds in 2014 at +11% on its worst year since 2002 and is already back at the level of 2011 and 2012, and above 2009 and 2010. With a slew of new models hitting showrooms this year, a return to 250.000 annual sales may be within reach for 2016.

Large_Premium_SUV-segment-European-sales-2014-BMW_X5When excluding the biggest gainer and new segment champion BMW X5, the rest of the segment has actually lost ground, at -1,5%. As a result, the new generation X5 not only reclaims the segment top spot, it more than doubles its share of the segment to 20%, or one in every five sales. The 2013 leader Mercedes-Benz M-Class is even pushed down into third place by the Range Rover Sport, as the M-Class has been awaiting its facelift and renaming to GLE 2016. But first, Mercedes-Benz will introduce a coupe version of the GLE to compete with the BMW X6 in Q2 of 2015. … Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 Premium Midsized and Compact SUV segment

Compact_Premium_Crossover-segment-European-sales-2014-Volvo_XC60The premium midsized SUV segment was booming in 2014, especially in the fourth quarter, when sales were up 25%, leading to a full-year increase of 11%. At close to 293.000 sales, the segment breaks its sales record and looks ready to easily blast through the 300.000 sales threshold in 2015. Leading the charge is the recently updated Volvo XC60, which flamboyantly takes the lead of the segment, for the first time ever in its 7-year long career. Volvo credits the increased popularity to its new generation of 4-cylinder engines, most notably the frugal diesel version, as the D4 engine accounts for more than one third of XC60 sales in Europe.

The XC60 had a particularly strong fourth quarter, selling almost 20.000 units in three months time, enabling it to pass the Audi Q5 which had controlled of the segment since Q2 after the Range Rover Evoque took an early lead in the first quarter.… Continue Reading …