2016 is set to once again break a new record for both EV and PHEV sales in Europe, but mostly thanks to Plug-in hybrid cars. Sales of battery electric cars increased just 7% in the first three quarters of the year to 70.654 units, after improving by almost 50% in both 2015 and 2014. This means we’ll probably have to wait until 2017 to reach 100.000 annual EV sales in Europe, because a number of governments, most notably Denmark and Sweden, have dialed back on their EV incentives in 2016. Sales of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles are also slowing down their growth curve, but still improved by 45% and look set top 100.000 sales this year already. Total sales of plug-in vehicles are up 24% to 151.912, or 1,3% of the overall market, compared to 1,1% in the first nine months of 2015.
European car sales by segment
Sales of exotic cars in Europe grow at double the overall market in the first three quarters of 2016 with an increase of 15% to 4.773 units, compared to +7,5% of the rest of the market. More than half of those sales are for just two models: the Bentley Continental GT / GTC and the new Ferrari 488. The Ferrari was the segment leader in Q2 but the Bentley outsold it in Q1 and Q3. That means the British coupe and convertible is likely to celebrate its 5th consecutive year as the best selling exotic car in Europe, with either the 488 or its predecessor Ferrari 458 Italia not far behind for most of that time. The Lamborghini Huracan consolidates its third place thanks to the arrival of the Spider version. The Rolls Royce Dawn was the #4 of the segment in Q3 and moves to 7th place year-to-date with a good shot at moving up one more place by year end, trumping the Aston Martin DB9, which is being replaced by the al-new DB11.
Sales of large passenger vans in Europe are up 21% in the first nine months of 2016, after a 35% improvement in Q3. The segment outperforms the overall market at +7,5% by a large margin, as the entire top-6 shows double digit growth. The Volkswagen T6 still leads the segment with almost a third of total sales thanks to its facelift of last year. The T6 sold more than twice as many units in Q3 than any of its challengers. However, keep in mind these sales include those of the Multivan, the luxury passenger van that competes with the Mercedes-Benz V-Class. If we combine sales of the latter with those of its basic twin Vito Tourer, Mercedes would be the closest rival of VW in this segment, however still unable to touch the Transporter. The Fiat Ducato was outsold by the V-Class in Q3 but has built up a large enough advantage to keep its position by the end of the year.
Sales of large premium SUVs in Europe are up 25% in the first three quarters of 2016, significantly faster than the overall market at +7,5%, and at double the rate of growth in the US, where this segment grows 13%. However, in Europe this segment takes only 1,9% of total market volume, compared to 3,4% in the United States. The podium remains unchanged from the first half of the year, with the BMW X5 still in the lead, ahead of the two newest entries in the top-10: Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, unable to fight for the lead despite being much fresher than the X5. In fact, the Mercedes-Benz GLE also outsold them both in Q3 and moves into fourth place year-to-date, passing the Range Rover Sport. The entire top-4 of the segment is available with a plug-in hybrid option, which has helped popularity of the segment as a whole.
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.… Continue Reading …
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.
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.
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.