Sales of midsized premium SUVs in Europe keep growing even faster, at +44% in Q3, bringing the year-to-date tally for the first three quarters to +31%. None of the remaining nameplates has clocked a loss, but five out of ten show only single-digit gains, as over 40% of the segment growth can be attributed to a single brand: Mercedes-Benz. After years of slow sales due to a product that didn’t match the preferences of most buyers (the GLK), the German brand is now playing catch-up with the new GLC and GLC Coupe, immediately storming to third place of the segment. Ahead of the GLC are two elderly models, both about 8 years old already but still selling well in the final stages of their life cycle. The Volvo XC60 grows just 3% which means it loses about 4,5 percentage points of share, and the Audi Q5 improves 5% and loses 3,6 percentage points, but climbs back onto the podium after being relegated to 4th place in the first half of the year. [Read more…]
Archives for December 2016
US car sales were 1,378,330 in November, over a little over 10,000 units more than in October. More importantly, however, this marked a 3.6 percent increase on November 2015, the first monthly increase since July 2016. The higher demand was mainly driven by two factors: higher incentives offered by carmakers, and strong demand for trucks. Overall, truck sales rose 8.6 percent compared to 2015, while car sales fell by 3.9 percent. This performance also marked a return to positive year-to-date growth for the market, though with sales in 2016 up by only 0.1 percent compared to 2015 it’s anyone’s guess whether 2016 will be a new record year for the industry, or whether that distinction will remain with 2015.
Sales in the limousine segment in Europe are up 7% in the first three quarters of 2016, slightly slower than the overall market at +7,5%. In the first half, the segment had outgrown the market, but growth has slowed in Q3. Unsurprisingly, the German luxury brands control more than 90% of this segment, of course helped by their home country, which is the largest market for these vehicles in Europe. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class sees its share of the segment diminish from 44,7% in the first nine months of 2015 to 38,4% in the same period this year, keeping it ahead of the all-new BMW 7-Series. But there’s a catch: S-Class sales include those of the coupe and convertible models, which means that in pure sedan sales, the 7-Series may actually have reclaimed the lead of the segment. The Audi A8 is a distant third, unable to keep up with the brand power of the S-Class (“the best or nothing”), nor the freshness of the 7.
The premium large car segment in Europe is down 3% in the first nine months of 2016, as only two models in the top-10 improve their sales, while six others are down with double digits. As expected, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class takes control of the segment thanks to its new generation, growing by 13% and passing the Audi A6, up by less than 1% so far this year. At least that’s still better than most others, and the A6 actually adds a full percentage point of share, even though it’s about to be replaced next year. As we’ve seen with the A4 and now the A5 and Q5, Audi is able to keep sales of its outgoing models impressively stable, all the way to their replacement by the next generation. BMW can’t say the same, with its 5-Series down 10% for the year, as its successor has already been revealed. In terms of design, this is one of the most conservative in the market, and BMW proves that point once again with the evolutionairy design of the next-gen 5.
Not content to wait for spy photographers to snap the Cullinan prototype out in the wild, Rolls Royce decided to snap a few pictures itself and share it with the world. [Read more…]
The premium midsized car segment improves 7% in the first three quarters of 2016, almost in line with the overall market at +7,5%, and better than the mainstream midsized car segment at +5%. As in most premium car segments, the German brands dominate, with almost 86% of cars sold in this class having a German badge, but at least that figure is falling (last year it was over 87%) thanks to increased competition from Jaguar and Alfa Romeo, even if the latter is still gearing up. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is stable on last year, which means it loses share of the segment, but it holds on to the lead of the segment, outselling its closest rival the redesigned Audi A4 by 3.000 units in Q3. The BMW 3-Series is left behind in a distant third place, even though it grows 3% on last year. Keeping in mind the C-Class doesn’t split sales of its coupe and convertible models the way its rivals do with the A5 and 4-Series, it’s safe to conclude the A4 is the leader when it comes to sedan and station wagon sales.
Sales of premium compact cars grow slightly faster than the overall market in the first three quarters of 2016 at +9% vs. +7,5% and at more than double the growth rate of the mainstream compact car segment at +4%. Only four of the 14 models lose volume, among which the dominant leader Audi A3, down 4% but still almost as untouchable as its platform sibling VW Golf is in the mainstream segment. However, as I explain every quarter, Audi isn’t really as dominant as the ranking suggests. Mercedes-Benz is the real leader of the segment, with a 30,1% share (down from 30,6% in 2015) from its three models, followed by BMW with a 29,6% share (up from 29%) from its 4 models, while Audi only has a 20,7% share with its single model (down from 23,6%). Since the latter is unlikely to introduce a luxury MPV based on the Touran or Sportsvan, Audi will have to make do with just the 3- and 5-door hatchback, sedan and convertible versions of the A3.