The Premium Midsized SUV segment in Europe continues its surge, with sales up 29% in the first half of 2015, boosted by new introductions to the segment, but also continued strength of the existing models, as only 2 SUVs show year-over-year declines (not including the discontinued Land Rover Freelander). The Volvo XC60 confirms it is now the new leader of the segment, with sales up 31% on last year. The XC60 has really been boosted by its facelift and engine updates last year, as it enjoyed record sales in 2014, and is set to do even better this year. As I predicted in the Q1 segment analysis, the Audi Q5 reclaims second place from the Range Rover Evoque. The Evoque will be updated later this year, and a convertible version will be added, although I doubt that will add a lot of volume to the model. A new generation Q5 should arrive next year, but Audi hasn’t yet confirmed this. [Read more…]
Archives for August 2015
The non-premium Large segment in the US is one that has pretty much been abandoned by mainstream manufacturers in Europe, where it once comprised of cars like the Citroën XM/C6, Ford Scorpio, Opel Omega or Renault 25/Vel Satis. In the US, on the other hand, carmakers continue offering cars that are usually based on larger versions of the FWD platforms that underpin their mid-sized sedans, though a few models are actually a unique RWD design (Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger, Chevrolet SS). The cars are usually bought by older customers who appreciate larger, easier-to-access interiors, but don’t need the higher price and sporty pretensions that usually come with cars in the Premium Large segment.
Not all is well with the segment, though, as sales fell 18% compared to the same period in 2014, the largest fall from among all the segments. With sales totaling little over 230,000 in H1 2015, the Large segment is now less than a fifth the size of the Mid-sized segment. Chevrolet Impala remains the market leader, offering a nice mix of style and substance that was deemed so successful that it served as inspiration for the incoming Malibu younger brother. However, with sales falling by 26% it may not remain top dog for much longer – less than 10,000 units behind is the Dodge Charger, the only model whose sales grew year-on-year, as consumers clearly liked the aggressive 2015 facelift and the halo effect of the 700HP+ (!) Hellcat model. In fact, the Charger not only outsold its Chrysler 300 cousin (#5) by over 2-to-1, it actually outsold the smaller Dodge Dart over the first half of 2015, giving you a sense of how popular the car is.
Sales of limousines in Europe were up 29% in 2014 and another 10% in Q1 of 2015, thanks to the introduction of the very successful class leading Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But with that model reaching its second anniversary, its sales are plateauing at just over 9.000 units in the first half of the year, almost flat with the same period in 2014. And that’s the best result in the top-6, with the challengers of the almighty S-Class all losing more ground on last year: the Audi A8 remains in second place with sales down just 4%, but the Porsche Panamera is kicked off the podium with a margin of just 2 sales by the soon-to-be-replaced BMW 7-series. The Panamera loses 30% of its volume, while the 7-series is down 18%. The new generation 7-series is due by the end of the year and has already been revealed, so the Panamera may steal its position back for the full-year ranking as the BMW will suffer from the model changeover, but I’m confident the new generation 7-series will finish on top of the ranking next year. [Read more…]
The mid-sized segment in the US shrank by 3% year-on-year, compared to a 4% increase in sales overall and in line with a fall of 4% among mainstream segments (non-premium subcompact to large). As a result, total sales in the segment at 1,166,633 were only a little bit over 100,000 higher than in the compact sector. If this trend continues, compacts may soon take over as the most popular mainstream cars in the US, unless mid-sized sales are lifted after new metal goes on sale in the second half in 2015: the new Chevy Malibu and Kia Optima, as well as the facelifted Honda Accord and VW Passat.
Toyota Camry remains the clear segment leader, as it has been for the past 12 years (a remarkable run!). While the current, 8th generation was generally seen as a step back style- and quality-wise when it came out in 2011, the 2015 facelift helped a lot, and as a result the sales were down only 3%. The same cannot be said for the perennial #2, the Honda Accord, which lost a massive 16% compared to the same period last year, the largest fall from among the top 10 models. That left an open goal for the following pack and allowed the Nissan Altima to step up to #2 for the first time in, well, probably ever. The Accord is actually lucky to have landed in #3, as it was less than 3,000 units ahead of the Ford Fusion. Interesting, the Altima, Accord and Fusion all came out in 2013, but given its dismal performance its not surprising that the Accord is the first one to receive a facelift, which will go on sale soon.
The premium large car segment in Europe continues its slow but steady decline, with sales down 5% in the first half of 2015, after a 3% drop in Q1. After the Mercedes-Benz E-Class led the segment in 2014, the BMW 5-series took control in the first three months of 2015, but in the following quarter, both were being outsold by the Audi A6, and by a vast margin.
Year-to-date the A6, which has been facelifted earlier this year, is now ahead of its two main rivals with a 3.500 and 4.500 units lead respectively, thanks to being the freshest of the threesome. Both the 5-series and the E-Class have been facelifted in 2013, the former only slightly and the latter received major updates and will be fully renewed next year. The 5-series won’t be replaced until 2017. If the A6 manages to hold on to its top position, which I think it will, it will be the first time since 2007 it will top the class, and also the first time for the current generation. The E-Class outsold the 5-series in May and June, so the full-year top-3 is likely to be in this order: A6, E-Class, 5-series. [Read more…]
Sales of premium midsized cars are up 6% in the first half of 2015, which is slower than the 8% growth of the overall market, and much slower than the mainstream midsized segment. Like in Q1, the new generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class controls the segment with sales up 45% compared to the outgoing model last year. BMW loses ground, with the 3-series down 21% and the 4-series no longer able to make up for that loss, despite that model’s 60% growth. In third place, the Audi A4 is surprisingly stable, especially considering its successor has already been revealed. Perhaps the fact that it looks exactly the same as the outgoing model helps buyers convince to snatch a great deal on the old one. It now comes fully loaded and with a nice discount on top, while 90% of the population won’t notice the difference between the old and the new model. [Read more…]
After Chinese car sales in June showed their first monthly decline in more than five years, in July the loss has widened with sales of locally produced cars down almost 5% to just over 1,2 million units. As a result, the Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate (SAAR) dipped to its lowest score of the year at just 16,6 million units. Unsurprisingly, the declines in the sedan and MPV segments are the greatest, while SUV sales keep improving further thanks to successful model introductions by mostly the local Chinese brands. SUV sales were up 41,8% to just over 400.000 units, while MPV sales were down 5,9% to less than 110.000 units and sedan sales were down even worse at -18,2% to just over 690.000 units. Please note these figures exclude import models, unless specifically noted.
The Japanese brands have fared relatively well in China this month, although their fortunes were still mixed. Honda profited from its small SUV duo XR-V and Vezel, which both topped 10.000 sales for the second straight month, making the brand’s three best selling models all SUVs (the CR-V is still the best selling Honda) and helping the brand to an 85% surge of sales. Toyota also clearly outperformed the market with sales up almost 18% and the Corolla in second place overall, and best selling sedan for the second month in a row. Mazda was up 12% and Nissan just 3%, which is the first increase of the brand since January, while Suzuki was down 10% although that’s its smallest decline since January. Mitsubishi sales were down more than 25%, causing the brand to dip below last year’s year-to-date volume.
In July, the European brands lost a lot of volume in one of their most important export markets, suffering from a lack of crossovers and SUVs. Mercedes-Benz proves that fact as the already successful GLA small crossover pushes its sales of locally produced models up 150% on last year. Mercedes is up 42% including imports. The GLA is already the brand’s second best seller behind the C-Class and helped the brand sell more locally produced models than BMW for the first time in history, as sales excluding imports at BMW dipped 5%, while Audi was down 3%. Year-to-date, the BMW 5-series L is now well ahead of the Audi A6L and looks set to outsell the former government favorite vehicle for the first year in history. [Read more…]
Premium compact car sales are up 10% in the first half of 2015 with Audi pushed down as the segment’s third best selling brand despite having the top-selling model with the A3. The A3 is up 2% and consolidates its first place with the BMW 1-series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class both showing slight declines. However, the BMW 2-series is a runaway success, with almost 50.000 sales in the past 6 months. The bulk of these will be the 2-series Active Tourer MPV with the rear-wheel drive coupe and convertible taking minor volumes, but altogether the Active Tourer hasn’t yet outsold the Mercedes-Benz B-Class as the best selling premium minivan. The arrival of the 7-seater 2-series Gran Tourer should help the model claim that title by the end of the year. [Read more…]
Sales of large SUVs in Europe are rebounding from a year-long decline, with sales up 28% in the first half of 2015. Only one of the 6 carryover models shows a decrease, the others are all enjoying double digit growth. The Hyundai Santa Fe is under threat from its family member Kia Sorento, thanks to that model’s all-new generation. The Sorento already outsold the Santa Fe in April and June and its 70% year-over-year increase compared to the outgoing model places it less than 10% off the segment pole position, even with the Santa Fe adding a still impressive 37%. The Korean siblings are the two fastest growing models in the segment, and together they held a whopping 71% share of the large SUV class in Q2, up from 66% in Q1 and 58% last year. [Read more…]
The compact segment in the US gets the dubious distinction as being the only mainstream segment to grow in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. In fact, the growth rate at 3% was very close to the 4% growth rate of the whole. market. Not a bad showing in these SUV-obsessed times.
The traditional segment leader, Toyota Corolla, strengthened its grip on the top spot. It seems that no matter what the opposition tries to do, the dependable, inoffensive Corolla still comes up on top. It probably helps that it is a younger design than the cars that took the three places behind it, all of which are about to be replaced in the coming year. Of the three the Hyundai Elantra did the best, and its year-on-year growth sees it snatch 3rd place ahead of Chevy Cruze by under 1,000 cars.