Predictions for 2017: China

We’ve discussed the 2016 success stories and disappointments of the Chinese car market, now we’ll focus on our expectations for 2017, like we’ve done for Europe. Looking ahead, even one year, can be very tricky. Last year we predicted EVs and PHEVs in China to continue their boom. From January to November 2016 sales of New Energy vehicles increased 102% in a market up 18%, to 282.292 units, including 41.796 in November alone. Pure electric car sales were the bulk of that volume with 208.839 units, an increase of 145%, while plug-in hybrid sales increased 35% to 73.453 units. And the good news is that although electric minicars/citycars still make up the bulk of China’s pure EV sales (62,2%), the real growth comes from the compact EV segment with sales up almost 9-fold. We also predicted two disappointments for 2016: DS and Volkswagen. DS was a no-brainer and you can read in our disappointments article, and for Volkswagen we said it would have to get used to single digit growth but the brand has shown remarkable resilience and has managed to grow 12,7% through November. While that’s still slower than the overall market, keep in mind the brand has completely missed the crossover hype in the same way PSA has, but it sedan-heavy line-up has continued to sell well. VW has launched 3 new nameplates in 2016: the Sportsvan has outsold its rival BMW 2-Series by almost 3-to-1, the Phideon is more of an image booster than a volume model at 800 monthly sales, but the C-Trek is the most promising with 5.600 sales in its first month.

1. Jeep: success

Jeep_Compass-China-2017Like DS was last year, Jeep is a no-brainer here. The American SUV brand could easily have been mentioned among our success stories of 2016, as it has sold well over 100.000 units in its first year of local production in China, peaking at over 16.000 sales in November with its two models: Cherokee and Renegade. That puts the brand ahead of Cadillac, which did get a mention as one of the most successful brands in China last year.… Continue Reading …

Disappointments of 2016: China

A new year is always a nice opportunity to reflect on the past year and in our case, that means looking at which cars have sold disappointingly in 2016 in China. We’ve already covered the surprises and disappointments in Europe as well as the surprises and disappointments in the US and the Chinese success stories of 2016, now let’s take a look at the Chinese disappointments. We’ll make our predictions for 2017 in a separate article. In a market that has grown 18% in the first 11 months of the year, it should be hard to find true losers, but still there are a few. I won’t even mention the biggest loser of all: Fiat with sales down 58,6% because the Italian brand simply isn’t relevant in China, with just 0,06% market share.

1. PSA

Auto-sales-statistics-China-DS_4S-hatchbackLast year, we predicted Peugeot-Citroën’s luxury brand DS would be on this list. And even though it was already down in volume last year, DS managed to underwhelm even our lowest expectations for 2016. In its third full year of sales, it’s down for the second consecutive year, and not by a small margin: -22,5% through November. None of its models has improved on last year, and its latest launch DS 4S has failed miserably with just 1.435 sales in 9 months, peaking at 276 sales in September. Whoever thought launching a premium hatchback in China would be a great idea deserves to be fired on the spot. Then again, the DS6 crossover is also down 22,5% but still by far the brand’s best selling model.

Sadly for the French, DS is not their only brand to suffer from poor product planning, and a lack of new products: Peugeot‘s only new model has arrived too late to make a mark, the 4008 (also known as the new generation 3008 in Europe) started sales in the fourth quarter and couldn’t prevent the French brand from losing 17,1% through November in a market up 18,8%.… Continue Reading …

Success stories of 2016: China

A new year is always a nice opportunity to reflect on the past year and in our case, that means looking at which cars have sold surprisingly well China in 2016 and which do we expect to surprise in 2017. We’ll also look at which cars or brands have disappointed from a sales volume point of view in a separate article. Click the following links to check back on last year’s surprises or disappointments. Also find our success stories for 2016 in the US and Europe and our predictions for China in 2017.

1. Domestic crossovers

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Borgward_BX7-SUVI’m short of superlatives to describe how sales of domestic brand crossovers in China have exploded in 2016. 4,4 million domestic Chinese crossovers were sold in the first 11 months of 2016, that’s more than the entire car markets of Germany and Spain combined! In a market up 18%, crossovers and SUVs from Chinese brands increased their sales by 51,7% through November. In comparison: sales of import brand crossovers increased 28,8%, faster than the overall market but just over half the growth rate of their domestic rivals. This also means that the share of Chinese brands in the crossover segment grew to 56,7%, much higher than their share of the overall market, which also grew to an all-time high of 40,7%. The share of domestic brand crossovers and SUVs in the overall market grew from 16,3% in 2015 to 20,9% in 2016. The cause of this impressive surge? A flood of hot new models, aimed directly at the needs and desires of the Chinese new car buyer, with prices so low import brands can’t match them and ever-improving design and quality, both exterior and interior, and most equipped with ever-larger infotainment touch screens on top of the center console. No less than 29 new nameplates were introduced in the first 11 months of 2016, of which 3 from all-new brands: Borgward, SWM and Hanteng.

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Predictions for 2017: Europe

Looking ahead, even one year, can be very tricky. Last year we correctly predicted that Mercedes-Benz had a shot at reclaiming its luxury crown, and it has overperformed. We also said the Jaguar F-Pace would be off to a great start, and that too has materialized nicely: having been launched in Q2 of 2016, Jaguar’s first crossover has outsold the Porsche Macan and BMW X4 in the second half of the year and has outsold the Lexus NX for full-year sales, grabbing a segment 7th place in H2, which is similar to the XE and not bad for a brand’s first entry into a segment that has very strong competition not only from new launches but also from surprisingly consistent old-timers.

Infiniti_Q30-QX30-sales-disappointment-Europe-2016In terms of expected disappointments, we predicted Ford would lose its #2 position in the brand ranking, and that happened in November when Renault stormed past in the YTD ranking. We also said Dacia would lose volume in 2016, but that didn’t materialize as expected. The French-Romanian brand has shown remarkable resilience as four out of its five models improved volume in 2016, despite no big new product launches, just minor updates. An impressive performance! Lastly, we doubted Infiniti’s ambitious targets for the Q30 and QX30, and although the latter is still in start-up mode, it’s safe to say the Q30 hasn’t really taken off as its parent had hoped it would. Sure, around 9.000 sales (8.391 through November) is by far the best any Infiniti model has ever sold in Europe (the next best being the Q50’s 2015 figure of just over 3.000 units), but it’s not even close to the European target of 30.000 annual sales for the two models combined.

Now, what do we expect from 2017?… Continue Reading …

Disappointments of 2016: Europe

A new year is always a nice opportunity to reflect on the past year and in our case, that means looking at which cars have sold disappointingly in 2016. We’ve already looked at which cars or brands have surprised in 2016 from a sales volume point of view in a separate article, as well as successes and disappointments in the US.

1. Jaguar XE

Jaguar_XE-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeWhen Jaguar launched the XE in 2015, expectations were high, as this was Jaguar’s second attempt at the premium midsized segment, and arguably a much better attempt than the first try: the X-Type. A lot has been critisized about the X-Type: it was too much Ford Mondeo, had too conservative styling and it was an utter failure. About that last point: they sold over 400.000 of them worldwide, half of which in Europe, over a 9-year life cycle. The model sold almost 31.000 units in its first full year of sales 2002 and peaked at 38.500 sales in 2004 in a segment 5th place behind the German Big-3 and Volvo. Now keep in mind the segment was a bit larger at the time, so let’s translate it to 3,1% of the segment in its first full year and 4,5% of the segment in its peak. 2016 was the first full year of sales for the XE and it took a segment share of 3,5%, slightly better than its supposedly failed predecessor 14 years earlier. It also took just 7th place of the segment, but that’s because Audi and BMW have separated their coupe and convertible models from the sedan and wagon versions. Jaguar is still best of the rest behind the Germans and Volvo. One could argue the F-Pace crossover may be cannibalizing, but there’s hardly any overlap in price between those two models, and a counterargument could be that the F-Pace is raking in extra attention to the brand and drawing people into its showrooms who may not have known about the XE otherwise. In its defense: there’s no station wagon version of the XE available (yet). So at first glance not a huge success, but nor is the XE’s first full year a clear-cut disappointment, then why is it on this list? Well, for one because it lost year-over-year volume in every month of the second half of the year, which is not a promising sign for a model in only its first full year of sales, and secondly because it was outsold by the Alfa Romeo Giulia in November and likely in December too, again not a great sign of what’s to come for the XE.

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Success stories of 2016: Europe

A new year is always a nice opportunity to reflect on the past year and in our case, that means looking at which cars have sold surprisingly well in 2016 and which do we expect to surprise in 2017. We’ll also look at which cars or brands have disappointed from a sales volume point of view in a separate article. Click the following links to check back on last year’s surprises or disappointments.

1. Skoda Superb

The third generation Superb has been an instant hit, breaking all records of its predecessors. In 2016 alone, approximately 86.000 Superbs were sold (79.200 through November), one sixth of its cumulative total of 518.000 European sales in 15 years and three generations. The Superb has improved with every generation: the first generation, which basically a long wheelbase Volkswagen Passat with a Skoda grille, sold an average of 15.500 annual units during its 7-year long career. The second generation with the double trunklid took the model to the next level with an average of 46.200 annual sales in its equally long career, peaking at 56.000 in 2011. But when the third generation launched in 2015 the Superb achieved new heights: its previous annual record has been smashed by 50% and for the first time the nameplate took 2nd place in the midsized segment, behind the Passat but comfortably ahead of segment mainstays like the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo. All on the same recipe as before: value for money, conservative styling, and above average interior room.

Car_sales_surprise-2016-skoda_superb

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European car sales analysis November 2016 – models

Renault_Megane-2016-European-sales-estimateAfter analysing European car sales for November 2016 by brand, let’s check out what the model ranking looks like. The Renault Clio celebrates its best November ever in 2nd place behint the traditional leader Volkswagen Golf, and ahead of its segment rivals Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta. The Opel/Vauxhall Astra is in 5th place for the second month in a row, followed by the Skoda Octavia, also with its best November ever. The Volkswagen Tiguan drops a position on last month, but celebrates its fourth straight month in the European top-10, while the Renault Captur is the 2nd best selling crossover in the continent, back in the top-10 for the first time since June, with – you guessed it – its best November ever. The same goes for the Nissan Qashqai by the way, right behind the Captur in 11th place. The Fiat Panda hits its best ranking since February in 12th place while its sibling Fiat 500 is down in 29th place. The Renault Megane (#14) doubles up its volume of last year and outsells the Peugeot 308 (#20) for the first time since June 2014 and the Ford Focus (#15) for the first time since December 2012. The Opel/Vauxhall Mokka (#21) outsells its rival Peugeot 2008 (#22) for only the third time this year, with the Dacia Duster (#25) not far behind.

For the first time since exactly one year ago, the Renault Kadjar (#33) outsells both the Kia Sportage (#36) and the Ford Kuga (#48), and the all-new Peugeot 3008 crossover also beats those two in 35th place.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis November 2016 – brands

European-car-sales-graph-November_2016November 2016 car sales in Europe are back in the positive after a slight drop the month before. A total of 1.176.026 new passenger cars were registered last month, an increase of 4,7% on the same month last year. That brings the 11-month total to 13.833.784 sales, up 6,5% on the same period last year and less than 300.000 sales from the 2015 full-year score for the 30 countries that make up the EU + EFTA. In other words, 2016 is going to be the third consecutive year of growth for the European car market after hitting rock bottom with less than 12,3 millions sales in 2013. All major markets showed improving sales, with the Southern European leading the way once again: Spain (+13,5%), France (+8,5%) and Italy (+8,2%) were outperforming, while the UK (+2,9%) and Germany (+1,5%) grew slower than the rest of the market. As 12 of the smaller markets grew by double digits (let by Hungary at +42,8%), The Netherlands (-20%) and Bulgaria (-7,1%) were the only losers in November.

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Welcome to CarSalesBase.com!

Carsalesbase-viewsAs you may or may not have noticed, the Left-Lane.com logo has been removed off the top of our website for a few weeks, as we had been informed it violated a registered trademark. When I started this blog just over 3 years ago, I simply hadn’t thought about any trademark issues because I could not imagine would take off like this. I just came up with a car-related name and decided to stick with it. Now, 3 years later we’ve accumulated a total of 3 million visits, of which the last million came from just the last 6,5 months. And you come from every country in the world. We like to thank each of you for your visits, comments, likes and shares, they’ve all been a great help to growing our reach.

After asking for your help in coming up with a new name, we were overwhelmed by replies, e-mails and Facebook messages, all with creative suggestions and all usable, because it helped us on the right track to find a suitable new name: CarSalesBase.com. The name refers to our database with car sales data of over 2.200 models in 3 continents, and it also refers to this site as your base for all your interests in automotive industry data, strategy and opinion articles. We hope you like our new name and keep visiting.

Now let’s get to some general notices:

What do you need to do now that we’ve changed our name and our domain?

  • Update your bookmarks, favorites and saved links of Left-Lane.com to Carsalesbase.com. That’s all. For now, they’ll be automatically linked to the corresponding page on the new domain, but that may not be forever, so please make sure you’ll be able to find us again.
  • If you’ve subscribed to our mailinglist (if not, fill in you name and e-mail address in the fields on the right-hand sidebar), the e-mail address that sends the updates with new articles 3x a week will change to info@carsalesbase.com. Make sure mark this address as “safe” to not miss any updates that may end up in your spam-folder otherwise.

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China car sales analysis November 2016

China-car-sales-graph-november_2016Get ready to see some sales records shattered again: in November the Chinese car market broke its 11-month old record of 2,38 million sales in a single month by 150.000 units to over 2,53 million sales, an increase of 19,6% on last year’s November, which happened to be the first time Chinese car sales topped the 2 million sales milestone. It also means that China has broken 2015’s full-year record of 20,18 million sales already in November, as the year-to-date tally now stands at 21 million sales in 2016. Again, the purchase tax cut on vehicles with an engine of 1,6 liters or less fueled the market, as the central government still hasn’t decided (or at least made public) whether to extend the tax cut into 2017. If they keep this up, next month could be yet another monster month, breaking this month’s record again. Regardless of the outcome, pulling forward these car sales will have a moderating effect on the first few months of 2017, as analysts uniformly agree the next two years will see Chinese car sales plateau. Then again, analysts have been predicting this scenario for a few years now, and they keep getting proven wrong as the Chinese auto market has continued to grow sharply against all odds.

The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate again hit a new record in October at 26,4 million units. Sales of crossovers and SUVs shot up 41% to 1,02 million units, while deliveries of sedans increased 10% to 1,28 million and MPV sales grew 8% to 235.700. The share of local brands dipped from their record of 44,35% in October to 42,42% in November, still above the average of this year, as year-to-date the local brands have a share of 40,67% of their home market, compared to just 37,66% over the full year 2015.

The earth-shaking news this month is the Haval H6, becoming the first SUV to break the 70.000 monthly sales barrier.… Continue Reading …