The large passenger van segment in Europe shows booming growth in 2017 at +26% to just over a quarter million sales, helped by fresh product and optimistic views on the economy. The chart toppers Volkswagen Transporter T6 and its luxury derivative Multivan grow just 2% which reduces their share of the segment by 6,1 percentage points to 26,9% but is also a new annual record for the nameplate. In second place the full-sized Fiat Ducato also loses share with a 16% growth rate and sells just over half the volume of the segment leader, distancing the Mercedes-Benz V-Class in third place. Combining the V-Class with its utilitarian version Vito as VW does with its versions too (and as displayed in the graph as opposed to the table below where we split the versions for as far as we know the data), Mercedes would be in 2nd place with 53.000 sales and 21,2% share. The Renault Trafic and its sister model Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro are both up with the latter at the segment average but the former also losing share. The two latest additions to these quadruplets are the Fiat Talento and Nissan NV300, both way behind the two established iterations of the same Renault-developed van. [Read more…]
European car sales by segment
Sales of exotic cars in Europe increase 13% in 2017 to 6.776 units. For the first time the Ferrari 488 takes the annual segment crown, its predecessor 458 Italia never took the title so the last time a Ferrari was the best selling exotic car in Europe was in 2009, the last year of the F430. This is the first time in six years the Bentley Continental GT does not top the exotics sales charts, and the difference between the two models was just 7 sales as the Continental made a final sprint in an attempt to reclaim the lead. A new generation of the Bentley is due in 2018 so the tables are likely to be turned again this year. In third place we find the Aston Martin DB11, the segment leader in the first quarter of the year. This top-3 controls 63% of the segment and they’re the only models with four-figure sales in Europe. Best of the rest is the Lamborghini Huracan, up 25% to improve sales every year since its launch, as well as setting a new annual sales record for any Lamborghini model in Europe, beating the Gallardo’s 629 sales in 2007. The Aston Martin Vanquish is up 45% but falls 20 sales short of breaking its annual sales record from 2013 when the current generation was just launched. That helps it become the best selling V12-only model ahead of the Lamborghini Aventador, down 13% and the Ferrari F12, down by a third as its replacement 812 Superfast arrived in showrooms. The Rolls Royce Dawn convertible slightly dips but remains ahead of the Wraith coupe. The Honda NSX sells just an average of 10 units a month in its first year. Lastly, Bugatti delivered 16 unique copies of the Chiron in Europe last year, one shy of the Veyron’s peak year of 17 deliveries in 2007.
EV and PHEV sales in Europe have set another record in 2017 with a 33% increase to top 282.000 sales of plug-in vehicles, of which 132.000 full electric cars and 150.000 plug-in hybrid cars. Sales of the former surged 35% while PHEV sales spiked 31%. This means plug-in vehicles accounted for 1,8% of the European car market, up from 1,4% in 2016.
Sales of premium large SUVs in Europe declined in 2017 after three consecutive years of explosive growth during which 100.000 annual sales were added. A lack of new products may be responsible for the slowdown which caused sales to slip 6% to 270.000 units, or 1,7% of the overall European car market, down from 1,9% in 2016. The entire top-5 is down for the year and only 6 out of the 19 players in this class improve their volume this year. As you can read below, 2018 promises to bring a lot of news again so growth is expected to pick back up again. Class leader BMW X5 moves with the segment at -7%, maintaining its share at 12,8% and keeping distance to its closest rivals, the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 which were both in their second full year, compared to the X5 which is in its last full year. The XC90 was the best seller in the fourth quarter, allowing it to reclaim the #2 spot from the Q7. Likewise, the Mercedes-Benz GLE managed to finish the year ahead of the Range Rover Sport thanks to an excellent fourth quarter, even though both models lost more than the segment average. The new generation Land Rover Discovery more than tripled its volume in Q4 and grew by 29% for the year to reach the highest volume for the nameplate since 2007. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized premium SUVs in Europe continue to boom with a fourth consecutive year of double digit growth, of which the last three years showed at least 20% growth. In 2017, the segment grew by 21% to a record 492.500 sales, or 3,2% of the overall European car market, up from 2,7% in 2016. The first nameplate in this segment to top 100.000 annual sales is the Mercedes-Benz GLC, a runaway success for the brand which had struggled with the unsuccessful GLK until just a few years ago. Keep in mind these figures include sales of the GLC Coupe version. Then again, its closest rival and former segment leader Volvo XC60 benefits from also having 2 different versions available for a few months after the arrival of the new generation. Especially in its home market Sweden the outgoing XC60 was continued to be sold at reduced prices alongside the new version, allowing it to become the best selling model there for the first time ever. Still, it’s impressive how the model was able to finish on such a high note, setting three consecutive annual sales records at the end of its life cycle and then extending that to a fourth record during the year of the model change to the new generation. It will be interesting to see if the new XC60 can continue this strong showing, considering the nameplate was down 11% in the fourth quarter when production of the first generation finally ended.
Sales in the limousine segment in Europe improved sharply in the second half of 2017 to pull the full-year figure up 13% after a 5% gain in the first half. Nearly 46.000 limousines were sold last year, 0,3% of the total European car market. Despite this impressive gain, only 2 models in the segment top-5 improve on last year, as the segment leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class is stable with a 200-unit loss thanks to a 30% gain in the fourth quarter when the facelifted version became fully available. The S-Class lost 4,6 percentage points of share in 2017, but that’s still much better than its closest rival BMW 7-series which was only in its second full year of sales but already lost 13% of its volume and 7,6 percentage points of share as the new generation’s design apparently doesn’t have a long shelf life. On the other hand, this is the third-best year for the model since 2006, and don’t forget the S-Class also includes sales of the coupe and convertible versions. Big winner of the segment is the Porsche Panamera with sales up more than threefold thanks to the new generation. The Panamera outsold the 7-Series in both the third and fourth quarters, helped by the S e-Hybrid version, but was unable to topple the BMW for 2nd place in the segment. The Sport Turismo version should help the Porsche move ahead of its rival in 2018, but it remains to be seen if that’s also enough to grab the #2 spot then, as the new generation Audi A8 is also in showrooms and looking to move up a few notches.
After 5 years of small declines, sales of premium large cars in Europe rebound sharply in 2017, bouncing back to their 2012 level and back above 400.000 units again after 3 years below that threshold. A 13% gain outperforms the overall market, growing the share of the segment to 2,7%, up from 2,5%. In both the third and fourth quarters the segment growth even accelerated to 19% over 2016. The redesigned BMW 5-series is unable to knock the Mercedes-Benz E-Class off its throne, but keep in mind the latter is helped by coupe and convertible versions which the 5-Series doesn’t have. So in terms of pure sedan and station wagon sales, the battle will be much closer or could even fall in favor of the BMW. Both models gain volume with impressive numbers and increase their combined share of the segment by 7,7 percentage points to 56,2% which means that more than half of every car sold in this class is either a E-Class or a 5-Series. Most of the share gains for these two come from their closest rival Audi A6 which is down by 16% to lose 6,3 percentage points of share as it is due for an all-new generation in 2018. Expect the A6 to suffer even more in the first half of this year before rebounding when customer deliveries of the new model start, but that won’t be enough for the nameplate to return to the top of the chart where it also stood in 2015 and from 2005 to 2007. Perhaps again in 2019?
Sales of premium midsized cars in Europe dip slightly in 2017 with a 2% decline to 694.000 sales, 4,5% of the overall car market, down from 4,7% in 2016. This is a much better performance than that of mainstream midsized cars which are down 13% but both continue to lose volume to crossovers. Segment leader Mercedes-Benz C-Class consolidates its leadership with sales up less than 1% while its two closest rivals show double digit declines. Keep in mind that the C-Class is available in 4 versions: sedan, station wagon, coupe and convertible, while Audi and BMW split up sales of their traditional sedan and wagon versions from the more stylish counterparts. When combining all versions (as displayed in the graph), Audi takes the segment lead from BMW with over 207.000 sales (up from 206.000) vs nearly 194.000 sales (down from 212.000). Audi is boosted by the new generation A5 coupe, convertible and Sportback, up 41% on the outgoing model, although this may cannibalize sales of the regular A4, down 10%. However, that is not enough for the A5 to outsell its rival BMW 4-series, also available as a coupe, convertible and 4-door Gran Coupe. In the fourth quarter the 4-Series outsold the A5 again after the tables had been turned in Q2 and Q3. These 3 German brands now control 83,3% of the segment. However, as one of our readers pointed out a few weeks ago, Audi’s volume comes mostly from the entry-level engine specifications
Sales of premium compact cars Europe are back to their 2015 volume after peaking at almost 940.000 units in 2016. With nearly 874.000 sales in 2017, the segment accounts for 5,6% of the total European car market, down from 6,1% the year before. The average age of the models in this segment is relatively high which explains some of the decline. The top-10 models ranking is exactly the same as 2016 but there have been some individual fluctuations and we have a new leader in the brands ranking. Audi still holds the top spot with the A3, but its 14% loss means a 1,5 percentage point of lost share as its rivals are closing in. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is pretty stable for a model that will be renewed in 2018 and stays ahead of the BMW 1-series as both models add more than a full percentage point of share. As a result, this top-3 increases its share of the segment to 51% and they are the only nameplates with 6-figure sales. The BMW 2-Series Active and Gran Tourer MPVs are down 15% as they’re being updated early 2018, but at least they remain well ahead of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, whose next generation will also include a 7-seater option. In fifth place, Volvo is best of the rest as usual in the premium segments in Europe, with the V40 pretty stable at -6%.
The large SUV segment is one of the smallest in Europe with fewer than 53.000 sales in 2017, down 4%. Compare that to the US where almost 2 million of these vehicles were sold last year, up 9,4% and surpassing sales of midsized sedans for the first time. Unlike the midsized crossover segment, where some models are also available as 7-seaters, there are not a lot of new entrants to this segment in Europe, but brands are actually withdrawing their slow selling models, like Nissan which no longer sells the Murano and Pathfinder and Mazda which never really sold the CX-9 in significant quantities, as opposed to the US. Then again, Ford entered the segment in 2016 by bringing the Edge over from the States. And while absolute volume remains relatively low (16.000 in Europe vs. nearly 143.000 in the US), it has quickly become the segment leader with more than 30% share. However, the Edge was already down 31% in the last quarter when the segment as a whole lost 25% as the entire top-5 lost by double digits. Only the low-volume SsangYong Rexton gained volume thanks to the all-new generation now available in Europe. [Read more…]