The other day BMW finally revealed the long-awaited 1-Series Sedan, a fine-looking premium compact sedan that will go head-to-head with Audi A3 Sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA. The model is a production version of the Compact Sedan Concept (what an imaginative name that was…), and seems to have inherited most of the concepts good looks, including a front that looks better-balanced than the awkward 1-series Hatchback or the Coupe. For now BMW did not reveal what platform the Sedan is based on, leading many to assume that rather than being based on the RWD platform of the Hatch/Coupe, it is based on the FWD “UKL2” platform from the 1-series Active Tourer / X1. [Read more…]
Archives for July 2016
Sales in the Minivan segment grew by 21 percent in the second quarter of the year – this continuation of the unexpected performance from the first quarter of the year made the segment the only mainstream segment to grow in the second quarter, and the second-faster growing segment over the time period (only the Subcompact SUV segment grew faster). Remarkably, almost every model in the segment contributed to this growth, though ultimately it’s the renewed market popularity of the outgoing FCA twins, Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, that really drove this segments to such fast growth. [Read more…]
Sales in the Large segment fell by 9 percent in the second quarter of 2016, compared to Q2 2015, but sales in the segment are still up 2 percent over the first half year, making Large cars one of only two mainstream segments to have grown over the period. This impressive performance can really be attributed to the success of the new Nissan Maxima, as well as the increasing popularity of aging Chrysler 300. [Read more…]
Sales in the Mid-sized segment fell by 11 percent in the second quarter, the largest fall amongst the mainstream segments. This comes as a disappointment after the segment showed signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2016, when it did better than the Minicar, Subcompact and Compact segments. It is doubly disappointing given the amount of new metal in the segment: cars that have gone on sale in the past half year include the new-for-2016 Chevy Malibu and Kia Optima, as well as the facelifted Nissan Altima, while the Hyundai Sonata and facelifted VW Passat are also less than one year old.
Sales in the compact segment fell by 6 percent in the second quarter, exactly the same rate at which they fell in the first quarter of the year. This is a disappointing performance, given that the second quarter saw two high-selling models hit the market (Chevy Cruze and Hyundai Elantra), joining the Scion iM that was released in the fall of 2015. From among 17 models in this segment only 4 saw their sales rise in the first half of the year relative to 2015, leaving a few models to hold sales up the segment. [Read more…]
After exploring the May 2016 European car brand sales ranking, we’ll zoom in at the model level to see the latest trends in European auto sales. The most striking change in the top-5 is the demise of the Ford Fiesta, until last year the steady #2 behind the Volkswagen Golf, but now relegated to #5 for the second month in a row by three of its main rivals. The Renault Clio has taken charge with an increase of almost 25% to over 30.000 sales, but the Volkswagen Polo and Opel/Vauxhall Corsa also show double digit gains. Even the Peugeot 208 is closing in on the Fiesta thanks to a 32% increase after its facelift. Ford will have a new generation of its best-seller by the end of this year, and it can’t come too early for the brand. [Read more…]
The Subcompact segment shrank by 6 percent compared to the first half of 2015, a reasonable performance for a mainstream segment – only the Large and Minivan segments did better. What’s more, this was achieved despite many of the cars in the segment getting decidedly long in the tooth (Hyundai Accent, Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris). However, until these models are replaced later this year / early next year, it’s hard to imagine the Subcompact segment doing much better than this, especially in light of the persistently low gas prices.
In May, automobile sales in Europe recorded their highest monthly growth rate in more than a decade, at just over 15%, which also makes it the 33rd straight month of growth. A total of 1.315.772 sales is also very close to the figure of May 2008, just before the market started its decline from the financial crisis in Europe. The year-to-date figure of 6.532.869 is up 9,5% on the first five months of last year. Again, the Southern European countries are showing the fastest growth rates, at +27,3% in Italy, +22,3% in France and +20,9% in Spain. German car sales were also strong at +11,9%, while the growth in the UK stalled after a few years of robust gains. Analysts expect the Brexit vote to have a negative effect on car sales in the UK, which may result in slower growth of the European market in the second half of 2016. In May, only Switzerland and Ireland showed modest declines.
As a result, manufacturers that are strong in southern countries benefit the most, as Renault-Nissan adds almost as many units as Volkswagen Group, with PSA and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles also adding some good volume. Only three manufacturers lose volume in May: Mitsubishi Motors, Tesla Motors and Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru‘s parent company. Relatively, AvtoVAZ shows the fastest growth from a low base on its new models, which are available in just a handful of European countries so far. Mahindra & Mahindra are still boosted by the resurrection of the SsangYong brand, while Lotus continues to alternate between big gains and big losses from one month to the other. [Read more…]
2016 continues being a bad year for he Minicar segment, with a further drop in sales in the second quarter of 10 percent relative to Q2 2015, bringing the total fall for the year to 18 percent; only the Premium Mid-sized segment shrank more in 2016 so far. What’s more, this was despite the new Chevy Spark and facelifted Mitsubishi Mirage hitting the market this quarter. It seems that this segment is destined to shrink until gas prices rise meaningfully, as American customers buy cars from this sector only because of the value proposition they represent, rather than because they inherently value the advantage of their small size.
After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for June, let’s zoom in on the models. The big news at the front is the 28.6 percent sale growth recorded by Ford F-series, remarkable especially as it has been the target of an attack ad by GM, which tried to paint the Ford’s aluminum-intensive frame as easily damaged. Ironically, GM’s own Chevrolet Silverado suffered a 3.7 percent fall in sales in June – karmic justice? As has been the case so far this year, sales of Ram Pickup keep rising while Honda Civic keeps doing great and was once again nipping at the heels of the underperforming Toyota Camry. Further down, Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape both had a great June in 9th place and 10th place with sales growth of over 20 percent, allowing the Rogue to leap over Ford Fusion to claim 12th place for the year so far.