European sales 2017 first half: small MPV segment

Small_MPV-segment-European-sales-2017-Fiat_500L-Ford_B_Max-Opel_MerivaSales of small MPVs in Europe accelerate their decline in Q2 of 2017. After a 14% loss in 2016, a 10% decline in Q1, the segment loses 23% in the second quarter, bringing the first half figure to 146.494 sales, down 17% on last year. Surprisingly, one nameplate manages to improve its volume in Q2 and does so with double digits. The Ford B-Max, which has seen its sales decline every year since 2013, suddenly gains 15% in the second quarter, as dealers are getting rid of the remaining stock models before production is scheduled to end next September. This allows the B-Max not only to become the only model in the first half to increase its sales, but also to overtake the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva for 2nd place. The Meriva has been replaced by the crossover Opel/Vauxhall Crossland X and will also be phased out soon. As a result, segment leader Fiat 500L is likely to increase its share of this shrinking segment in the second half of the year, even though it too sees its demand fall, at a similar pace as the rest of the segment: -22% in Q2 and -18% in the half. The 500L now holds 27,6% of the segment. Three quarters of its sales come from its home market Italy, but at least it manages to be the best selling car overall in one European country: Serbia, where it is produced in the former Zastava (Yugo) factory.

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European sales 2017 first half: Midsized car segment

Midsized_car-segment-European-sales-2017_Q1-Volkswagen_Passat-Skoda_Superb-Ford_MondeoThe midsized car segment in Europe is in continuous decline as it is in the US. A 19% drop in sales in Q2 leads to a 16% loss in the first half of the year. With 286.049 sales, the segment now accounts for just 3,4% of total European volume. Only 2 nameplates manage to improve year-over-year and all but one of the other models show double digit declines. In Q2, the entire top-4 lost 13% or more, of which the segment leader Volkswagen Passat did the least bad and therefore improves its already high share of the segment to 33,2%, which means one in three midsized cars sold are a Passat. Count in the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Group holds a whopping 48,8% share of the segment. The Superb has fallen into the red as well in Q2 after growing in the first quarter. But its second place of the segment is not under threat as its nearest two rivals drop even harder. The Ford Mondeo holds on to its 3rd place despite a 28% loss in Q2, as the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia loses 29% as customer deliveries of the new generation are only just starting. Expect the Insignia to finish 2017 ahead of the Mondeo again, as it has done ever since its launch.

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European sales 2017 first half: compact car segment

Compact_car-segment-European-sales-2017-Volkswagen_Golf-Opel_Astra-Skoda_OctaviaThe compact car segment in Europe showed a 4% in sales in the second quarter of 2017, which means the first half figure is stable on that of the same period last year. At 15,2% of the total market with over 1,27 million sales, the compact segment is the second-largest segment in Europe after the subcompact segment. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf loses 2,5 percentage points of share but still sells more than the #3 and #4 of the segment combined and the gap to the #2 is still more than 100.000 sales. One of the reasons for its 12% loss is the recent facelift which hurt availability, but it also suffers from in-house competitions from crossovers like the new generation Tiguan, Seat Ateca and perhaps even the Skoda Kodiaq. Coincidentally with its shift from GM to PSA, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra starts to slip with a 7% decline in Q2, although it’s still in the black for the first half. The battle for 3rd place remains close, but the recently facelifted Skoda Octavia outsold the aging Ford Focus by 5.800 sales in Q2 to edge out a narrow lead to reclaim 3rd place. The new generation Focus won’t arrive until next year, so the Octavia is expected to finish the year on the podium for the second year in a row.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2017 first half: Subcompact car segment

Subcompact_car-segment-European-sales-2017_Q2-Renault_Clio-Volkswagen_Polo-Ford_FiestaThe subcompact car segment in Europe grew by 6% in the second quarter of 2017 and a similar rate in the first half. It remains the largest segment in Europe by a large margin, with an 18,6% share of the total market, at almost 1,56 million sales in the half. The segment is very dynamic thanks to a number of new and updated models, with plenty more to come later this year. But some of the existing models also show continued strength. At the top of the ranking, the top-3 is back to how it was for the full year 2016 with the recently facelifted Renault Clio in the lead ahead of the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta. The latter two are about to be replaced by completely new generations and should give the Clio a run for its money if it wants to top the segment for a second consecutive year. The new Fiesta is already in showrooms at the moment this article is published and the Polo won’t be long behind. Big loser in the top-10 is the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa with a loss of 16% in Q2 as its 2014 facelift cannot hide that it’s basically already an 11-year-old design. Unfortunately for the model, its replacement isn’t due until 2019. That replacement will be developed on the PSA platform which also underpins the new Citroën C3

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European sales 2017 first half: Minicar segment


The minicar segment continues to shrink in 2017 as has been forecasted by analysts, before it is expected to stabilize until 2020. Since minicars are unaffected by competition from crossovers, the segment is expected remain stable after a second year of small declines. Despite the downturn for the segment, minicars still account for 8,3% of new car sales in Europe with just over 692.000 sales in the half. Fiat retains the 31,5% share of the segment it held in Q1, up from 30,1% in the first half of 2016 and 28,1% in all of 2016. Both of its models, the Panda and the 500, improve their sales and each sells more than double the volume of any other nameplate in the segment. But while the 500 is popular across most of Europe, the Panda remains extremely dependent on its home market Italy for almost 80% of its sales (vs. 30,5% for the 500). Thanks to a strong second quarter, the 500 closes the gap to the #1 position and could reclaim the segment leadership after just one year of Panda domination. The Volkswagen Up! is down by 3% but holds on to its third place, although the Hyundai i10 is closing in thanks to a 10% increase. In the first half of last year, the i10 was in 6th place but it finished 2016 in 4th place before dropping back to 5th in Q1. This may be the year the South-Korean hatchback jumps onto the segment podium.

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European car sales analysis June and first half 2017 – models

citroen_c3-2016-new-generationAfter analyzing the car brand sales ranking for June 2017, let’s take a look at sales figures of individual models. The Volkswagen Golf scores its 14th consecutive monthly loss but remains firmly on top of the ranking. The Renault Clio continues to gravitate at its high level, ahead of the Volkswagen Polo, which maintains a surprisingly high level of sales considering its successor has already been revealed and should arrive soon. We’ve seen similar trends at Audi with the replacements of the A3, A4 and A5, but of course the most extreme example is Volvo with the XC60 first generation which gravitates at record heights in the final months of its career. Despite a loss of 9%, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra is back up to 4th place for the first time since last August ( andup from a horrid 12th place in May) because the Ford Fiesta is down into 9th place as deliveries of the new generation are yet to gain traction. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa cannot benefit from the Fiesta’s demise as it too is down by more than 20% and out of the top-10. That means the Peugeot 208 is now the #3 best selling subcompact car, but even worse for the Corsa: the Dacia Sandero is only just over 400 sales behind, compared to a gap of over 10.000 sales a year ago. The Citroën C3 isn’t far behind these two either.

Fiat_Tipo-2016-sales-forecast-EuropeThe Renault Captur is once again the best selling crossover in a record 5th place for the nameplate, despite a 6% loss on last year. The Nissan Qashqai is stable and keeps its place ahead of the Volkswagen Tiguan, even though the latter shows a massive 45,6% increase on its predecessor last year. After a horrid 20th place in May, the Ford Focus is back into the top-10 and is the best selling Ford since February 2012. The Renault Megane is finally climbing up the charts to #15 even though it loses 1,1% on last year. For the first time this year the Fiat 500 beats its platform sibling Panda for 2 months in a row. And for the first time since shortly after its launch, the Peugeot 2008 (#19) is outsold by the Peugeot 3008 (#18). The latter is a homerun for the French brand, as it’s only 2.000 sales behind the Tiguan (#14) and firmly in 3rd place of its segment. The Volkswagen Passat (#23) continues to sink down the ranking and is now only 13 sales ahead of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (#24), although the latter also includes the coupe and convertible versions. The Fiat Tipo (#26) has a third month of 15.000+ sales in the last four, and is closing in quickly on the Peugeot 308 (#25).… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis June and first half 2017 – brands

Toyota_CHR-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeToyota is the big volume winner among brands in June, followed by Fiat and Peugeot, the former of which builds on continuous demand for its 500 minicar, but increasingly on the success of the Tipo compact car. Peugeot scores nicely with its new crossovers 3008 and 5008. In the short term, PSA might regret its acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall, as it’s the fastest declining brand in Europe at double the volume lost of the next loser, BMW. PSA’s luxury brand DS has become a mainstay in the losers aisle this year and shows no signs of improvement anytime soon, unless the upcoming crossover DS7 Crossback proves to be a big hit. The rest of the already aging line-up will have to make do for a few more years, as only one new model launch is planned per year. In terms of relative growth, both Chevrolet (mostly Camaros and Corvettes) and Cadillac (mostly Escalades) more than double up, while Lotus, now under the flag of Volvo owner Geely, also shows a nice growth. Besides DS, we also find Lamborghini and Infiniti among the relative losers. For the latter, the Q30/QX30 duo which has been designed to put the brand on the map in Europe, has now officially and solidly flopped.

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European car sales analysis June and first half 2017 – manufacturers

European-car-sales-graph-June_2017Car sales in Europe increased in June 2017, but by the smallest figure so far this year at +1,7% to 1,52 million. Compared to June 2015, it’s still a healthy growth of 8,2% in 2 years time. The year-to-date figure now stands at 8,37 million sales, an increase of 4,1% on the first half of 2016. This means that in the first half of 2017, we’ve seen only one month of decline, countered by one month of double digit growth, and four months of single digit growth. Of the five largest markets, Italy (+12,9%) and Spain (+6,5%) outperformed, France (+1,6%) showed average growth, but the UK (-4,8%) and Germany (-3,5%) lost volume. New EU member states (+12%) contributed greatly to the overall growth, led by Romania (+47%), Lithuania (+40,6%) and Estonia (+33,7%). Contrastingly to its neighbors, Latvia showed the largest decline at -17,8%. In the first half of 2017, Italy (+8,9%) and Spain (+7,1%) outperformed the market, Germany (+3,1%) and France (+3,0%) also improved, but the UK is into the red with a decline of 1,3%. New member states improved 15,2% vs. an increase of 3,8% for the pre-2004 members. Biggest gainers are Romania at +27% and Croatia at +23,6%, while Ireland (-10%) is the fastest declining market, with only Finland (-1,6%), Latvia (-1%) and the UK as the other shrinking markets.

Fiat_Tipo-hatchback-station_wagonIn terms of manufacturer volume gains, FCA Fiat-Chrysler is the big winner in June, ahead of Toyota Motor and Volkswagen Group, while BMW Group, PSA and Ford Motor are the three biggest volume losers. In terms of relative growth, General Motors (now freed from the burden called Opel/Vauxhall) more than doubles deliveries of its US models, while Tesla Motors and Aston Martin also deliver nice growth on their newly launched models Model X and DB11. On the other end of the scales, Honda continues to bleed in Europe and risks becoming irrelevant if it doesn’t pay more attention to customer’s needs. Speaking of irrelevant brands, Mahindra & Mahindra enjoyed nice growth in recent years on the revival of SsangYong, but the honeymoon is over and the brand appears to have hit the full potential of its current line-up. In South-Korea, there’s already a new generation Rexton, let’s hope this makes it to Europe soon to help the brand continue its growth curve. Like Honda, Subaru treats Europe as an afterthought and also shows double digit declines.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Summer 2017, part 2 [w/ poll]

We’ve discussed a handful of new model introduction of this summer in part 1, and will continue with a few other newly launched cars that we think will either hit, miss or just don’t stir our senses at all. This is a series all about opinions on a site totally dedicated to facts, just to balance it off a bit. Here we’ll give our views on new cars and invite you to give yours, be it in the poll at the bottom or in the comment section below. Fortunately, every opinion is personal so even Kriss and I don’t always agree and we hope you don’t either.


BMW 6-Series Gran Turismo

Bart: hit

I get it, the 5-Series GT, which was actually based on the platform of the 7-Series, has been more of a commercial success than it was an aesthetic success. And by renaming it 6-Series they can make the new generation more expensive, because it has a higher number. Cynicism aside, this car should’ve been called the 6-Series GT since the first generation. And I get why that appealed to the people who’ve bought one: it was more spacious and almost as luxurious and comfortable as a 7-Series for less money, all while being less ostentatious than said 7-Series. And there are plenty of shoppers in this price range who couldn’t care less about the looks of their car, as long as it did best what it’s been bought for. With the new generation they’ve actually succeeded in designing a somewhat graceful car, thanks to stretching it by almost 9cm (3 inches) and lowering it by 2cm (almost an inch), which makes it a lot less bulky than the 5-Series GT. I’m actually starting to warm to this car the more I look at it. And it’s also a great alternative for those who’d love to drive a comfortable BMW and can do without the sportiness that BMW has to put into the 5-Series sedan (and wagon) in order to keep its reputation of maker of sports sedans.

Kriss: so-so

I have mixed feelings about this car. From a rational, sales-oriented perspective, BMW did exactly what it had to do to build on the moderate success of the first generation – it based it on the tour-the-tech new 5-series, made it better-looking (less ugly?), and gave it a posher name. But it remains, at its core, a fundamentally contrived and ungainly car, sort of a 5-series for people who will benefit from the extra space and the easier entry/exit that the higher driving position affords (so, basically, plus-sized and older people). And while the 6-series GT is less environmentally-unfriendly than SUVs, it makes for a much less attractive look on the roads.

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China car sales analysis First Half 2017

China-car-sales-graph-H1_2017In the first six months of 2017, Chinese car sales are up just 3% to 10,93 million. If the market maintains this growth rate, it will become the lowest increase in more than 13 years and possibly in more than 25 years. And there’s reason to believe it will come to that scenario, if you look at the sales curve in the second half of 2016, with increasing sales in the last quarter due to a pending increase in sales tax on cars with engines smaller than 1,6 liters, from 5% to 7,5%. Then again, that same tax will rise again in 2018 to 10%, so sales may show a similar curve in Q4 of 2017 as consumers pull forward their buying decisions to benefit from the lower tax. Back to the first half of 2017, in which crossovers and SUVs gained 14,9% to 4,41 million sales, while sedan sales were down 2,5% to 5,42 million and MPV sales slumped 9,4% to 1,09 million. Of these 10,9 million total passenger car sales, 42,3% came from domestic brands and 57,7% from import brands, compared to a ratio of 41,3% vs. 58,7% in all of 2016, as sales of foreign brand vehicles have slightly dipped while sales of local brands have continued to rise, especially thanks to the introduction of a range of afFordable crossovers by almost every single brand.

Auto-sales-statistics-China-Honda_URV-SUVBut that doesn’t paint the complete picture, as European brand sales have remained virtually stable at +0,85% and US brand sales have improved only slightly better than the overall market at +3,86%. The big shift has taken place between Japanese brands and South-Korean brands, as the former are finally starting to recover from their troubles during a diplomatic spat between China and Japan in 2012 over a few islands in the East China Sea, even though only Honda and Mitsubishi have returned to the market share they held in 2011. Still, Japanese brands have grown at a pace of +16,36%, double the gains of the domestic brands, while Korean brands were the only nation to lose volume at a terrifying -46,7%. The reason for that demise has been explained in our monthly reports for the last four months, but there’s another underlying reason which has been going on for a longer period. The South-Korean brands never achieved the kind of mainstream status in China as they did in Europe or North America. They remained a low-cost, low quality option for customers who wanted an import-brand vehicle without having to pay the premium for an actual established brand from Europe, the US or Japan. When the domestic brands started to improve their quality and subsequently their brand image, and also started launching a huge number of afFordable crossovers to satisfy the demand for this type of vehicle, the Koreans were left behind as customers proved less brand loyal than expected. Especially Hyundai has been left behind in this race as its partner Beijing Automotive keeps on expanding the brand’s sedan range to no less than 9 models of different generations sold alongside each other with a 10th nameplate coming up, compared to just 4 crossovers. When recovering from the anti South-Korean sentiment, both brands need to be quick to launch afFordable crossovers to the Chinese market or risk facing reduced market shares for years to come.

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