After many, many spyshots, followed by what seems like even more teasers, VW has finally pulled the wraps off the new T-Roc.
Archives for August 2017
The new BMW Z4 Concept is a good, maybe even great-looking car: it has great proportions, some really nice and aggressive detailing, and is finished in a very eye-catching combination of sunset orange and brushed aluminum. But is it a great-looking BMW? Cover the grille, or simply merge the two kidneys into one single item, and many would struggle to ascribe the car to a particular brand – the Z4 blends a lot of cues, many seemingly from other carmakers, making the finished product seem a bit too un-BMW-like for my taste. And while the outside influences could be ascribed to many different sources, there is one concept in particular that the Z4 reminds me of…
After two months of slumping sales in April and May, the Chinese car market recovers with two months of increases in June and July. July sales are up 5,4% on 2016 and a whopping 30,8% on July 2015, which was especially depressed when the Chinese stock market crashed, before the Beijing government stepped in with their tax reduction on vehicles with small engines. A total of 1,65 million new passenger cars were sold last month, naturally a new record for July sales in China. The year-to-date total now stands at 12,59 million sales, an increase of 3,4% on the first seven months of 2016. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate stands at 24 million in July, the highest figure since January. SUVs and crossovers are once again the main (and only) winners in April with sales up 18% to 689.500 units, while sedans decline for the fourth consecutive month at -0,3% to 824.900 sales and MPV sales continue to plunge at -11% to 136.500. New Energy vehicle sales improved 55% to 57.000 units, as EV sales gained 70% to 45.000 units and PHEVs rebounded for the second straight month at +16% to 12.000 sales. Year-to-date, EV and PHEV sales in China are up 22% to 251.000 sales, of which 204.000 EVs (up 34%) and 47.000 PHEVs (down 13%). Sales of domestic automakers were up 9,5% and their share is up from 38% to 39,5%, although that is the lowest share since last January. Japanese brand cars are up 16,3%, sales of US brand cars are up 3,9% and of European brand cars are up 0,9%, while sales of South-Korean brand cars are down 46,7%.
After a booming first quarter of 2017, sales of exotic cars in Europe have stabilized with a 2% decrease in the second quarter. First half sales are still up, but by “only” 18%, to 3.951 units. We already had a new segment leader in Q1 with the all-new Aston Martin DB11, but in Q2 we crown yet another new leader, as the Ferrari 488 has topped the charts for the first time in its career. Ever since it replaced the former segment leader Ferrari 458 Italia, the Bentley Continental GT had topped the charts. Until this year, that is. After a stable Q1, the Continental loses 23% of its volume in Q2, which leads to an 11% loss year-to-date. The next generation will be revealed at the Frankfurt Auto Show in a few weeks time and will arrive in Bentley showrooms next year. The DB11 slows down slightly in the second quarter and was even outsold by the Continental GT in Q2 (by just 6 sales), but is expected to rebound later this year when deliveries of the AMG V8 twin turbo engine pick up steam. The only other model in the segment to sell more than 100 units per quarter is the Lamborghini Huracan in fourth place with a 12% increase in the first half.
Sales of large passenger vans in Europe continue their double digit growth thanks to ongoing success of existing models and a rejuvenation of a number of players. A 36% growth in Q2 brings the first half 2017 figure to 137.832 sales, up 34% on the year before. The three top sellers all grow slower than the segment and lose share but remain dominant with a combined 54,9% share (down from 68,3%). The Volkswagen Transporter T6 and its luxury derivative Multivan add just 5% to their sales of last year and lose 7,2 percentage point of market share, but still sell more than 50% more than their closest rival. Even when combining the Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer with its luxury derivative V-Class, Volkswagen maintains a comfortable lead. And while VW may lose share, its volume is still growing despite the increased competition from the all-new PSA-Toyota vans. The Fiat Ducato reclaims the 2nd spot in Q2 as it is boosted by sales of camper vans in spring and beginning of summer, a segment in which the Ducato is ultra dominant.
Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles and the Plug-In Hybrid segments, let’s look at the final Alternative Power segment: regular hybrids. This segment is the most well-established of the three, with sales in the first half of 2017 almost twice as high as sales in the other two segments combined. As a result, the growth in the segment was not as high as for the other two, but 24.9% is nothing to be sneered at, as it was still higher than any non-Alternative Power segment bar the SUV Premium Compact segment.
Having analyzed the Electric Vehicles segment, let’s look at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs for short. The segment enjoyed a growth rate of 61.6%, the highest of all segments, though its total sales remain below those of pure Electric Vehicles, at just over 40,000 in the first half of the year.
After 3 years and one quarter of booming growth, the premium large SUV segment in Europe has hit a roadblock. Sales were down 6% in Q2, pulling down the year-to-date growth rate to just 2%, less than the overall market. A total of 150.235 large luxury SUVs were sold in the first half of 2017. The BMW X5 is on its way for a fourth consecutive year on top of the ranking, ever since the current generation was launched. The Audi Q7 jumps from 4th place in the first quarter to 2nd in the second quarter and also grabs that position in the first half ranking, outselling the Volvo XC90 (down 30% in Q2) and Range Rover Sport (down 13% in Q2). The XC90 has seen a similar drop in the US, where they blamed it on limited availability due to worldwide demand, especially for the T8 plug-in hybrid version, but the same seems to be happening in Europe now. With less than 1.000 monthly sales, China can’t be responsible for the limited availability in Europe and the US, so there must be another explanation. We’ll keep you updated as we find out more. [Read more…]
Sales of Alternative Power cars in the United States increased by a substantial 32.2%, a rate of expansion considerably faster than that of the second fastest-growing segment, SUV Premium Compact. Comprising of regular hybrid, PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and EV (electric vehicle) segments, Alternative Power cars ended the first half of 2017 with almost 260,000 cars sold, more than the Subcompact segment, and not far off the Minivan segment. For accounting purposes, keep in mind that we classify many of the Alternative Power cars in other segments too e.g. Toyota Prius liftback figures in the Compact segment, while Ford Fusion PHEV figures in the Mid-sized segment. At least part of the reason for this growth is that EVs and PHEVs continue to benefit from Federal and State rebates, which lower their price even before consumers consider the lower cost at the pumps/mains.
First, let us look at the EVs segment, which grew by 41.2% in the first half of 2017, to a total of 45,150 cars.
The midsized premium SUV segment continues to outgrow the overall market with a 12% increase in Q2 and a 20% increase in the first half of 2017, to 276.300 sales. The two segment leaders consolidated their grip on the segment as both showed double digit growth while their closest four rivals all showed double digit declines. As a result, the #1 and #2 hold a combined 40% of the segment in Q2 and 37,3% in the first half. Amazingly, the Volvo XC60 reclaims the top spot it lost to the Mercedes-Benz GLC in the first quarter. Keep in mind that almost all of these sales are the outgoing model, as the new generation had only just arrived in showrooms by the end of the first half. And the GLC figures also include sales of the GLC Coupe, which makes the Volvo figures even more impressive. If the changeover to the new generation happens smoothly, the XC60 could finish on top of the ranking for the fourth consecutive year, and potentially with more than 100.000 sales for the first time ever. The Audi Q5 took third place in the second quarter but still lost 17% on the sales figures of its predecessor in the same period last year, and it’s not enough to kick the Range Rover Evoque off the year-to-date podium.