Archives for May 2016

European sales 2016 Q1 Premium Large SUV segment

Large_Premium_SUV-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-BMW_X5-Volvo_XC90-Audi_Q7Sales of premium large SUVs in Europe are up by more than a third in Q1 of 2016, boosted by the thunderous arrival of two renewed models which will fight for podium positions the rest of the year and may even threaten the leader of the segment. For now, the BMW X5 holds on to its title despite sales stable at +1%. Behind it, the new generation Volvo XC90 surges to the #2 spot after already outselling the X5 in February. In third place we find another newcomer, the Audi Q7 which led the segment in January and will continue to challenge both the Volvo and the BMW for the rest of the year. Especially the plug-in hybrid versions of these three SUVs have quickly gained popularity, and that may help the Mercedes-Benz GLE move past the Range Rover Sport this year as well.

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European sales 2016 Q1 Premium Midsized and Compact SUV segments

Midsized_Premium_SUV-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Range_Rover_Evoque-Volvo_XC60-Mercedes_Benz_GLCMidsized premium SUVs in Europe are booming with an increase of 25% in the first quarter of 2016, as Mercedes-Benz finally decided to bring a competitive product to the segment and a handful of older models are surprisingly stable. That hasn’t kept the Range Rover Evoque from reclaiming the lead of the segment ahead of the Volvo XC60. The Evoque has just been facelifted and benefits with a 15% increase of sales. It likely won’t hold on to that lead until the year, as sales of the model are heavily skewed towards March as a result of its popularity in the UK market. It’s surprising to see the XC60, basically an 8-year old model (facelifted in 2014), that still manages to outsell a hot and fresh new rival. I think the Mercedes-Benz GLC will lead the segment by the end of December, and that would be a first for the brand in this segment, as the GLK has never been able to keep up with its rivals.

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European sales 2016 Q1 Limousine segment

Limousine-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Mercedes_Benz_S_Class-BMW_7_series-Audi_A8The limousine segment in Europe grew 6% in Q1 of 2016, boosted by the new generation BMW 7-Series, which almost triples its volume over the same period last year, while suffering from supply shortages on the Plug-In Hybrid 740e version. That version has apparently already been sold out for the rest of the year. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class manages to hold on to its #1 position for now, but bear in mind its figures include the still very fresh Coupe version, and we don’t know how many as sales are not split. That means that BMW could lead in pure sedan sales of the 7-Series vs. the S-Class. The S-Class convertible has also just arrived at dealerships, so total sales of all versions will probably stay in front for the rest of the year, but I’d love to know the sales distribution of its body styles before declaring it the winner of the limousine segment.

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European sales 2016 Q1 Premium Large segment

Large_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Audi_A6-Mercedes_Benz_E_Class-BMW_5_seriesThe premium large car segment in Europe has shrunk by 5% in the first quarter of 2016, as customers are waiting for new versions of two of the top-3 players in this segment. So I expect this segment to show a healthy increase by the time of the year, with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5-Series on top of the sales charts, thank to their new generations. That means sales of the outgoing versions of those cars are down, leaving the Audi A6 to consolidate its position as the leader of the segment, a title it claimed last year when it was freshly updated. The new E-Class will arrive in showrooms in the second quarter, and has been fully revealed. Its design is not very surprising, as it’s hard to distinguish from the C-Class and S-Class but for its size. Then again, this strategy seems to work for Audi, and the majority of our readers also think the new one is better than the old one, when polled last January. BMW hasn’t yet revealed much of its new 5-Series, but this also promises to be a frontrunner in new technology.

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European sales 2016 Q1 Premium Midsized segment

Midsized_Premium_car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Mercedes_Benz_C_Class-BMW_3_series-Audi_A4The premium midsized car segment continues to grow steadily in Q1 of 2016, but slower than the overall market, at +3%. That’s a big difference with the US, where the segment has shrunk a worrying 20% this quarter. The ranking is pretty stable, with no changes in the top-4, even though last year’s leader, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the biggest loser of the top-8, at -10%. Even the relatively old BMW 3-series manages to grow sales, while the freshly renewed Audi A4 is the biggest gainer of the top players at +12%, which should increase further as the year progresses, and I see the A4 threatening the C-Class for segment leadership by the end of the year. The only two times the nameplate has led the segment this millennium were 2005 and 2008, but this year and next are the only shot it has, as BMW is expected to launch the new generation 3-series at the end of 2017.

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European sales 2016 Q1 Premium Compact segment

Compact_Premium_Car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Audi_A3-Mercedes_Benz_A_Class-BMW_1_seriesSales of premium compact cars in Europe grew faster than the overall market in Q1 of 2016, at +10%. The long-standing leader of the segment, the Audi A3, stays firmly in control despite flat sales and therefore a diminished share. Bear in mind Audi sells all versions under the same name: three-door, five-door, sedan and convertible, while its main rivals use different names to differentiate the body types. At brand level, Mercedes-Benz remains the best seller of compact luxury cars with its four vehicles under three nameplates: the Mercedes-Benz A-Class adds 19% to its volume thanks to its facelift and moves past the also facelifted BMW 1-Series for the #2 spot. The 1-series has flat sales, but the Bavarian brand still is the fastest growing brand in the segment thanks to the 61% increase of the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer, which beat the Mercedes-Benz fairly and squarely to become the best selling premium MPV.

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European sales 2016 Q1 large SUV segment

Large_SUV-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Kia_Sorento-Hyundai_Santa_Fe-Mitsubishi_PajeroThe large SUV segment in Europe shrinks 9% in Q1 of 2016 while the overall market grows by 8%, after the segment grew a healthy 23% in 2015. Only two models improve their volume on the same quarter of last year: the new leader Kia Sorento, boosted by the all-new generation, and the evergreen Mitsubishi Pajero. That leaves last year’s leader Hyundai Santa Fe in 2nd place with sales down 22%, probably thanks to cannibalization from both the new Sorento and the new Hyundai Tucson, even though that model is a class smaller. I have no substantiated explanation for the rebound of the Pajero, which started last year when it gained 22%. A small facelift hasn’t exactly turned the already 10 year old model into a hot fresh thing, especially since the engines are simply carried over.

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European sales 2016 Q1 midsized crossover segment

Midsized_SUV-segment-European-sales-2016_Q1-Nissan_Qashqai-Kia_Sportage-Volkswagen_TiguanSales of midsized crossovers and SUVs in Europe grew by twice the speed of the overall market in Q1 of 2016, at +17%. And that growth is very likely to continue, as new players keep entering the segment. Due in the next 18 months are the Tiguan-based Seat Ateca and the slightly larger Skoda version of those cars, Peugeot will enter the segment with crossover-like replacements of the 3008 and 5008, Renault has just revealed the Koleos in China which will start sales here next year and MG may bring the GS to the UK. So far, no model has been able to come even close to the Nissan Qashqai, the undisputed segment leader since 2008. Sales of the Qashqai are stable at +2% despite new generations of its closest rivals and also despite its partner Renault successfully launching a Qq derivative with the Kadjar. And don’t forget the 7-seater Qashqai+2 has been replaced by the X-Trail as well. In fact, the share of Renault-Nissan in this segment has grown from 23,8% last year to 31,7%. Last year’s #2 Volkswagen Tiguan loses just 1% of its volume right before the new generation is launched. As result, the model is outsold by the new generation Kia Sportage and under heavy attack from the all-new Hyundai Tucson. The two South-Korean brands grow their share of the segment from 17,9% to 21,4%. The Tiguan was outsold by the Tuscon in January and February and both were outsold by the Kadjar in March, indicating it will be an interesting fight for the podium this year. That’s unlikely to include the Ford Kuga, which loses a position despite adding almost a quarter to its volume of last year.

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US sales Q1 2016 Full-Size Cargo Vans segments

Large-commercial-van-segment-US-sales-2015

Sales of Large Cargo Vans in the US rose by 28% in Q1 2016 to 86,460 vehicles, considerably faster than the 11% rate of growth recorded by the Small Cargo Van segment. While most models in the segment gained sales over this period, the standout remains the Ford Transit, which now accounts for 40% of the market.

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US sales Q1 2016 Small Cargo Vans segment

US-sales-small-cargo-van-segment

Sales of Small Cargo Vans in the US rose by 11% in Q1 2016 to 22,585 vehicles, a faster rate of growth than the market overall, but considerably slower than the 28% recorded by the Large Cargo Van segment. In fact, there is a sense that the smaller segment may be loosing out the short term battle, as customers take advantage of lower fuel costs and move to the new, and super-popular Ford Transit.

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