Archives for April 2016

European car sales analysis March and Q1 2016 – brands

European-car-sales-march-2016-Renault-Nissan-dealershipThe European car market enjoys its 31st consecutive month of growth in March, but an increase of 6% is the second lowest relative improvement of the last twelve months, just ahead of last October’s +2,9%. This can be partially attributed to Easter falling in March instead of last year’s April, which means we’ve had fewer selling days. On an even more positive note, the 1,7 million sales volume was close to the March 2007 level. As traditional, and as predicted last month, the UK posts a strong volume in March, helped by the twice yearly change to the new license plates, as the UK takes 30% of total EU sales this month, compared to about 18,5% over the course of a full year. UK sales were up 5,3%, while the French car market grew by 7,5% and Italy is still on fire with an increase of 17,4%. Germany is the outsider of the large markets with sales down by less than a tenth of a percent, one of six countries to lose volume.

If Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles was the big winner in February, it keeps doing well in March even though Renault-Nissan adds even more volume. BMW is among the winners this month as well, adding over 12.000 units on the same month last year. On the other side of the spectrum, Mitsubishi continues to lose volume, and is joined by Ford and Tesla this month. At Ford, slowdown of its core hatchback line-up is not offset by growth of its MPV and crossover models, while Tesla suffers from a general slowdown in Norway, its most important market, and from buyers waiting for the updated version of the Model S.… Continue Reading …

US sales Q1 2016 Large Pick-up segment

US Large Pickup

Sales of Large Pickups in the US rose by 5% in Q1 2016 to 508,392 vehicles, which seems like a lot but is in fact 18% lower then the quarterly sales record for the segment over the past ten years (622,244, in Q3 2006). With all models in the segment being relatively fresh, with the exception of the aging Toyota Tundra, one can reasonably expect growth to continue in the coming quarters, at least until gas prices rise and customers start switching to smaller pickups.

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US sales Q1 2016 Small Pick-up segment

pick-up small

Sales of Small Pickups in the US rose by 18% in Q1 2016 to 96,168 vehicles, the highest quarterly sales figure for the segment since Q2 2008. Still, total sales in this segment are less than 20% of those in the Large Pickup segment, though the gap continues to narrow. What would help boost sales in this segment further would be the Ford Ranger, when (if?) the company brings it back to the US, the new Nissan Frontier, the long-mooted Jeep pickup and, if FCA takes a brave pill, the Fiat Toro.

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Does a tie-up between Google and Fiat-Chrysler make sense?

Google-autonomous-carThe future of mobility looks quite different from how we know it today, and most automakers are hedging their bets to make sure they’re part of that future, where they may no longer be called automakers but mobility providers. Autonomous driving, car-to-car communication sharing information like traffic conditions and a (at least partial) shift from ownership to a shared economy are among the most likely developments to become mainstream as soon as the next decade. And it’s not only the established automakers that are trying to establish their place in the future, it’s no secret that Apple and Google are aiming for a piece of the mobility pie as well. Although Google is testing with their own Google car, as well as with autonomous versions of existing models, their ultimate goal is not to produce their own cars and become a full-blown auto maker, competing with the likes of Ford, General Motors or Toyota, but rather to become a technology supplier and a mobility supplier, offering self-driving cars that would rival Uber in the ride-sharing business.

However, to test and eventually showcase its capabilities in autonomous driving, Google will have to forge a cooperation with an existing automaker and get its system built into one or more of that company’s cars. Such a tie-up would combine Google’s experience from millions of miles of autonomous driving by its fleet of a few dozen self-driving cars with the manufacturing and development capabilities of a large automaker.… Continue Reading …

US sales Q1 2016 Large Sports segment

US large sports

Sales in the Large Sports segment in the US fell by 20% in Q1 2016 to 11,091 vehicles, with every model but the Jaguar F-Type losing sales. While the facelifted Porsche 911 and Mercedes-Benz SL, as well as the new Audi R8, may bring back some positive growth to the segment later in the year, they may be unable to compensate for the drop-off in sales for the one model that sells more than the rest of the cars in the segment: Chevy Corvette.

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US sales Q1 2016 Small Premium Sports segment

US Small Sports Premium

Sales in the Small Premium Sports segment in the US rose by 3% in Q1 2016 to 3,395 vehicles – exactly the same rate of growth as the Small Sports segment, as well as the industry as a whole. There is some hope for higher growth for the segment on the horizon, with the facelifted Porsche 718s (Cayman and Boxster) and Mercedes-Benz SLC (nee SLK) hitting the market, while sales of the Audi TT keep ramping up.

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US sales Q1 2016 Small Sports segment

US Small Sports

Sales in the Small Sports segment in the US rose by 3% in Q1 2016 to 82,328 vehicles – exactly the same rate of growth as the Small Premium Sports segment, as well as the industry as a whole. With the new Mazda MX-5 gaining sales, and the entry of the Buick Cascada, the growth rate would have been higher were it not for the falling sales of the two Scion models, ahead of the brands closure later this year. As the brand stops selling cars sales in this segment will probably fall later in the year, though that may be partially offset by sales of the new Chevy Camaro coming fully on stream.

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US sales Q1 2016 Premium Large SUV segment


US Premium SUV Large 2Sales of Premium Large SUVs in the US rose by 12% in Q1 2016 to 139,709 vehicles – a slower rate of growth than in both smaller Premium SUV segments, but still considerably faster than the average 3% growth rate experienced by the industry as a whole. Similarly to the Premium Mid-sized SUV segment, most of the high growth happened among models that ranked in the middle of the standings, while some of the highest-selling models experienced a fall in volume.

Highlights in Q1 2016:

  • The new Lexus RX, which hit the market in 2016, has not so far resulted in a large growth in sales for the model (2% sales growth was below segment average), but so far it retains the segment lead
  • The facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLE did much better – its sales grew by 18%, party on the back of the newly-introduced GLE Coupe, which allowed the German model to claim second spot in the segment by vaulting Acura MDX, whose sales fell by 17% in anticipation of the facelifted model hitting the market next quarter, and its arch-rival BMW X5, whose sales fell by 15%
  • The top 10 sees the entry of new models which experienced great growth compared to Q1 2015: Volvo XC90 (sales up almost 7,000%, up to sixth spot), Lincoln MKX (sales up 81%, up to seventh spot) and Audi Q7 (sales up over 100%, up to eight spots). In fact, with sales of 6,993, Q1 2016 marks the highest quarterly result for the large Audi, showing once again that good looks are not necessary to succeed in this segment
  • Interestingly, despite continuing low gas prices, most of the largest models in the segment recorded a fall in sales: Range Rover Sport (down 11%), Lexus GX (down 5%), Mercedes-Benz GL (down 39%, presumably in anticipation of the incoming GLS facelifted model), as well as Range Rover (down 1%) and Infiniti QX80 (down 5%). The only exception to this was the Lexus LX, whose sales were up 76% on the back of a recent facelift
  • The sportiest models in the segment, Porsche Cayenne and BMW X6, did well for themselves with a 14% and 16% growth in sales, respectively
  • Land Rover Discover continues to increase in popularity despite the new model being just around the corner, with sales up 68%
  • Tesla Model X continues to rise in the ranks, and is now up to 19th spot with sales of 2,425

US sales Q1 2016 Premium Mid-sized SUV segment

US premium midsized SUV 2

Sales of Premium Mid-sized SUVs in the US rose by 24% in Q1 2016 to 91,701 vehicles – a slightly slower rate of growth than the smaller Premium Compact SUV segment, but faster than the Premium Large SUV one. Growth in the segment was driven both by new models (Mercedes-Benz GLC, Land-Rover Discovery Sport) and existing models enjoying better sales (BMW X3, Porsche Macan, Infiniti QX50). That said, despite sales in the segment booming, some big players lost more than 30% of sales, most notably Volvo XC60 and Range Rover Evoque. While these two models will have to soldier on for a while longer before their replacements arrive, 2016 will see the release of a two major new models: Cadillac XT5, which is about to hit the market any month now, and Audi Q5 Mk II, which will join it later in the year.… Continue Reading …

US sales Q1 2016 Large SUV segment

US SUV LargeSales of large SUVs in the US are back into positive territory as volume increased by just 1.2% in Q1 of 2016, after dropping 4.5% in 2015. The dominant brand in this segment is losing share as both of its entries lost volume, with the Chevrolet Tahoe down 3% and the Chevrolet Suburban down 10%. The Tahoe is still firmly in the lead of the segment, selling almost twice as much as its nearest competitor, but the Suburban’s #2 spot is now threatened by the Ford Expedition, helped by a recent facelift to gain 11% on last year. However, Chevy’s losses are offset by increased popularity of the GMC versions, and as a result total GM sales of large SUVs are virtually stable, and the company still controls almost 73% of the segment. That also means General Motors will be making more money on them, as the GMC Yukon (up 11%) and Yukon XL (up 12%) demand higher transaction prices and thus fatter margins than their Chevy twins, especially in the popular top-of-the-line Denali versions.

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