Yesterday Ford revealed the Mk VII Fiesta, a crucial new model for the company as it replaces the much-loved, and still very popular Fiesta Mk VI. [Read more…]
Archives for November 2016
Sales of large SUVs are picking up back as 2016 progresses. After a 9% loss in Q1 and a 15,5% increase in Q2 the segment increases again by 15,6% in Q3 to bring the year-to-date growth to 8%, better than the overall market at +7,5%. All the existing and remaining models have single digit increases or losses, as all of the segment’s growth and more can be accounted for by the arrival of the Ford Edge. This newcomer has climbed up to third place, which means we’ve had a different #3 in each of the quarters this year, while the leaders have remained unchanged so far. In Q1 the Mitsubishi Pajero was on the podium, after Q2 the Toyota Land Cruiser had taken over, and now the Edge seems dedicated to hold on to this position for the rest of the year. The Hyundai Santa Fe actually outsold the Kia Sorento in Q3 and the two platform siblings are now separated by just 65 units year-to-date.
Sales of midsized crossovers in Europe have grown at more than double the speed of the overall market in the first three quarters of 2016: +18% vs. +7,5% as new brands and models keep entering this highly competitive class. After being outsold by the small crossover segment in Q2, the midsized models rebound in Q3 and also pass the 1 million sales mark in the first nine months, a figure it took all twelve months as recently as 2014. In a sign of consolidation, all top-8 models gain volume, of which only two with less than 2 digits, while the following 9 modles all lose volume, #9 to #12 with single digits and #13 to #17 with double digits. The Nissan Qashqai is stable, which means it loses share of the segment, from 19,4% last year to 16,6% this year, but 2016 will be the 9th consecutive year the Qashqai leads the segment. However, next year may offer a change of guard, as the Volkswagen Tiguan was only 4.200 units behind in Q3 and even outsold the Nissan in August.
At +23% in the first nine months of 2016, the small crossover segment is still one of the fastest growing mainstream segments in Europe. Compared to the same period of last year, the segment has added almost 190.000 units of volume, pushing it past the one million sales mark after just three quarters of the year, a figure which it only hit in December of last year. Small crossovers outsold their larger counterpart midsized crossovers in the second quarter, but have fallen back behind again in Q3 as a result of surging sales in that segment thanks to a number of new launches there. The Renault Captur continues to improve but also to lose its dominant market share as the number of players in this segment grows. Its closest two challengers, the Peugeot 2008 and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka have both been facelifted this year and had a neck-and-neck race in Q3, which means the former holds on to 2nd place of the segment year-to-date.
The large MPV segment in Europe continues to rebound from its year-long slump after the fresh product drought has ended. In the first three quarters of 2016, sales are up 47% compared to the same period in 2015, as five out of six remaining models gain double or triple digit volume. Ford is the king of the segment with a share of more than 40% for its two models, both redesigned in the past year. Of these two models, the sporty S-Max sells just about twice as much as its functional sibling Galaxy, and the former is on top of the leaderboard, followed by the two entries of Volkswagen Group, which remain popular despite now being the oldest remaining models in the class. Combined sales of the Volkswagen Sharan and its clone Seat Alhambra are up by 4,1% but there’s a big internal shift, with the former down 11% and the latter up 26%, which means the gap between the two almost identical models has shrunk from more than 8.000 in 2015 to less than 170 so far this year.
Sales of midsized MPVs have been very stable in recent years, without any big growth or contraction. In the first half of 2016, sales increased 1% but in Q3 the segment suddenly lost 8% of its volume and is now down 2% year-to-date. Another big shock is the crowning of a new leader of the segment, which has been dominated by the French since Renault launched the first generation (Megane) Scenic in 1996. The Scenic and Citroën C4 Picasso have alternated as segment leaders in recent years, but this quarter the new generation Volkswagen Touran has claimed the year-to-date top spot and looks set to hold on to it until the end of the year, which would be a first time ever for the nameplate. Volkswagen now dominates 4 out of 7 mainstream car and MPV segments. In third place we find yet another German: the BMW 2-Series Active/Gran Tourer, the best selling luxury MPV in Europe.
The small MPV segment in Europe is dying quickly at -15% in the first three quarters of 2016, and it may drop below 300.000 units this year, down by a third on 2013 when Europeans bought more than 450.000 small MPVs. Those customers have switched to buying small crossovers, which are more trendy and also offer a higher seating position, one of the main selling points of these cars. Not a single of the still existing models in this segment improved its sales on last year, with the Nissan Note taking the biggest hit, losing almost a quarter of its volume and the Citroën C3 Picasso performing the best at just -2%. The Fiat 500L remains the distant leader thanks to its home market Italy which buys 2 out of 3 500L’s sold in Europe. The Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Ford B-Max complete the top-3. GM and PSA are developing the next generation Meriva and C3 Picasso together and are designing more crossover-like models to appeal to a wider audience. The Meriva will be renamed Crossland X.
The midsized car segment in Europe grew sharply in 2015 as two of the best sellers were renewed, but that growth has flattened to just 5% in the first nine months of 2016, slower than the overall market at +7,5%. This hasn’t stopped Volkswagen Group to increase its share of the segment from 43,1% last year to 46,2% this year, and occupying the top two spots of the podium. The VW Passat loses 4% but is still ultra dominant with almost one-in-three sales in this segment, followed by the Skoda Superb which almost doubles its volume of last year thanks to the new generation. In Q3 the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia was only 500 units behind the Superb, despite being due for a replacement early 2017. That leaves the Ford Mondeo in fourth place, unable to make a fist against the much older Insignia.
At +4% in the first three quarters of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew faster than the minicar and subcompact segments, but slower than the overall market. The traditional leader Volkswagen Golf is feeling the competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, but its top spot is in no way threatened. In fact, VW feels so confident about the strength of the Golf nameplate, its upcoming facelift will keep exterior design updates to a minimum. The Golf will be made up-to-date on in-car technology, with gesture control for its multimedia system and semi-autonomous features. Meanwhile, the Astra is the biggest winner of the segment in volume terms and is now the only other compact car with a double digit share of the segment. After narrowly edging out the Ford Focus for 3rd place in the first half of 2016, the Skoda Octavia firmly consolidates that position in Q3, as the Focus is the biggest loser in the top-10.
Sales of subcompact cars in Europe are up just 2% in the first nine months of 2016, and they were flat in Q3. Europe’s biggest segment is in a low point of its product cycle, with a lot of new and updated models due in the coming months, including new generations for the two best sellers and a facelift of the #3. Still, only two models out of the top-12 are down year-on-year, with the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa less than one tenth of a percent. In each of the three quarters we’ve had a different leader this year: we started with the Ford Fiesta on top, then after six months the Renault Clio had taken over, and now in the third quarter the Volkswagen Polo has taken charge, even though the Fiesta outsold it in Q3 despite both being in the final stage of their life cycle. The Peugeot 208 is the big winner in the top-5 and the Dacia Sandero takes those honors for the top-10, even though it was passed by the Skoda Fabia this quarter.