Sales of Exotic cars have all but come to a halt in the last quarter of 2015. Sales were up 5% in the first half of the year, but then the fortunes changed: -13% in Q3 and a worrying -44% in Q4, leading to a full year total of 18,277 sales, down 16.6% on 2014. The pain in the last quarter is shared by all brands, but even for the full year there’s only one brand that shows volume growth, plus one limited edition sports car. Perhaps the slowdown is due to the fact that the two best selling brands in the exotic car segment are introducing their first SUV in 2016. [Read more…]
Archives for February 2016
Sales in the Alternative Power segment fell by 4% in 2015 to 116,065, as cheap fossil fuel caused car buyers away from small cars, hybrids and EVs and into crossovers, SUVs and pick-up trucks. Sales of EVs and PHEVs in Europe, where gas is less cheap, totaled 189,461 units, up 94%. Short sighted Americans? Well, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles is betting on gasoline to stay cheap for at least a decade as it doubles down on trucks and will forgo sedans and electric cars. Still, EVs and PHEVs are here to stay and Tesla is determined to prove all the others wrong. Its has won its first battle, as a 51% increase in sales has helped the Model S become the best selling electrified vehicle in the United States with over 25,000 sales. The Nissan Leaf drops to second place and loses 43% of its volume, as competition in its price range intensified and an updated version is on its way, promising more range. [Read more…]
The Full-size Cargo Van segment grew 13.5% in 2015 to 327,551 units, which is the highest volume since 2006, thanks to the confidence businesses have in the economy and to widely available credit. As we’ve discussed in our sales surprises of 2015, Euro-vans are taking over the segment that was once dominated by just 3 body-on-frame vans from two manufacturers: the Ford E-series, Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. Mercedes-Benz was the first to see the potential and brought the Sprinter to the US market under the Freightliner and Dodge names in 2001, but Ford has caused a breakthrough when it replaced the aging E-series with the Transit in 2014. The change-over has gone smooth, as combined sales of the models were stable in 2014 and increased 36% in 2015, giving the Transit the lead of the segment by a large margin (36% share of the segment). [Read more…]
Chinese car sales pick up their double digit growth in 2016, with an 11% increase in January to 2.164.779 units, a January record and the first time January sales top 2 million units. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate (SAAR) is up to a record 24 million sales. The shift away from cars and into crossovers and MPVs continues in 2016 with sedan sales down 8% to 1.113.039 units, compared to an increase of 23,2% for MPVs for a total of 264.531, and SUVs up an amazing 68,4% to 795.654 sales. Chinese brands continue to make inroads in their domestic market, at a moment when their exports are starting to stagnate. The share of Chinese brands at home is up to a record 43,3%, up from an average of 38,1% in 2015. Even accounting for Chinese brands under partial foreign ownership (most notably SAIC-GM’s local brand Baojun), the domestic automakers reach a record share.
General Motors is on a winning streak in China, thanks to a great understanding of the needs in the marketplace and its focus on the still growing rural parts of China now that the Tier 1 cities and coastal areas have matured and growth has stalled. The Wuling Hongguang MPV from is SAIC-GM Joint Venture keeps the title of best selling passenger car in China by a large margin, as it enjoys 70.000+ sales for the sixth time in its three years on the market. The JV’s other brand Baojun multiplies its January 2015 sales by 2,5 to top 80.000 sales for the second straight month, and thus for the second time ever. Two of its models sold more than 40.000 units in January, while before last December none of its vehicles had ever reached that figure. [Read more…]
As you’ve seen in the Alpine Concept photo gallery yesterday, Renault is relaunching the Alpine brand with a retro-styled sports car that should compete with the Alfa Romeo 4C, the Porsche Cayman and the Lotus models. The production model will arrive in Europe in 2017 and will look very similar to the concept, as about “80% of its style” is reflected in the concept, according to design director Antony villain. The sports car will be a precursor to a full line-up of premium cars and SUVs under the Alpine brand, including hybrids. This is a similar strategy that Alfa Romeo has implemented with its return to the North American market: start with a low-volume halo-car and then follow up with a range of volume models which can than benefit from the sporty image that the sports car has given the brand.
It is reported that the Alpine will be sold in five continents, which had gotten American media all excited, but it isn’t clear whether this concerns the production version of the sports car (perhaps under different brands, for example Infiniti or Nissan in the US, where Renault is not sold), or if it means the Alpine brand with its full line-up. That would actually make more sense, because I don’t really see the point of launching a lightweight driver-oriented sports car in continents outside of Europe, North America and Australia. Car buyers in South-America, Asia and North-Africa are not at all interested in such a vehicle, especially from an unknown brand. And not only because most roads in those places aren’t really suited for it in the first place.
In line with its competitors Alfa 4C and Lotus Elise, lightness is an important aspect of the car’s character, as it will weigh around 1.100 kilograms and is rumored to be powered by a 250 horsepower 1,8 liter four-cylinder engine, derived from the 1,6 liter unit in the Renault Clio RS and which should also power the next generation Megane RS. However, what I consider to be a missed opportunity is that it isn’t a fully electric sports car. [Read more…]
The Small Cargo Vans segment has grown 37.6% in 2015 to 94,167 sales thanks to three new entrants in the past three years and continued improvement of the segment leader. The first generation Ford Transit Connect basically started the segment in the United States in 2009 and has seen its sales grow every year since. The second generation Connect increased sales another 21% last year to top 50,000 sales for the first time and thus hold on to more than 55% of the segment, a figure which will continue to drop as the competition is getting better established. [Read more…]
Sales of Large Pick-up trucks in the US were up 5.2% in 2015 to 2,187,703 units, and 35.6% of those sales were the best selling vehicle in the US for 35 years running: the Ford F-series. However, as the F-series suffered from slow summer sales due to the change-over to the new, aluminum-bodied generation, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra duo combined outsell their main rival for the first time since 2009. The two GM trucks are the only ones to gain share in the segment. Still, a 4% increase to over 780,000 Ford pick-up trucks is the highest volume for the nameplate since 2006, but a long way from the almost 940,000 sales in 2004.
The Small Pick-up segment has increased 48% in 2015 to 356,886 sales as three out of four models are less than 18 months old. In contrast, the fourth one is already 11 years old, and loses 15% of its volume. The new generation Nissan Frontier has already been launched in the rest of the world, but a US version of that model is still undecided, just like a Mercedes-Benz version of that model, which isn’t due until 2020 anyways. The Toyota Tacoma is the long-standing leader of the segment and still takes more than half of all small pick-up truck sales in the United States, although that’s down from a whopping 64% in 2014. The Tacoma’s 179,562 sales are just enough to break its 2006 sales record 178,351 units. [Read more…]
The Large Premium SUV segment in the US has picked up its growth in the fourth quarter of 2015, as it finishes the year with an 8.2% increase over 2014, totaling 557,982 sales. Only 4 models of the 22 that are continued in this segment lose volume, while 8 enjoy sales records. The traditional leader of the segment, the Lexus RX is due for a new generation, but manages to keep its sales relatively stable at just -6%. In 2016 the redesigned RX will undoubtedly break its 2005 record of 108,775 US sales. The second place of the Acura MDX is under fire as the Japanese #2 loses 11% while the BMW X5 in third place improves an impressive 17% to come within 3.300 sales of the MDX. This is the second consecutive year that the X5 breaks its US volume record for the 17 years it’s been sold here. [Read more…]