European sales of passenger cars in December were down for the third time in 2017, at -4,83% to nearly 1,13 million sales, even below the December 2015 figure. The major explanation for this decline is having one less working day compared to December 2016. Crossovers and SUVs bucked the trend and booked a 9,4% increase in sales to reach a record 32,9% share of the European car market, indicating this type of vehicle is on schedule to claim more than one third of the market in 2018. Sales of cars were down 10,4% to 57,5% of the market, a new low and the 6th consecutive month below 60% which had never happened before. MPV sales were down 11,8% in December to 9,6% of the market.
Nearly all major EU markets saw their sales decline, with Spain (+6.2%) as the exception. The slowdowns in France (-0,5%), Germany (-1%) and Italy (-3,2%) were less than the overall market, but the UK car market posted its 9th straight month of decline, with registrations falling by 14,4% in December. Other big losers were Ireland (-63,4%), Netherlands (-50,6% on an artificially boosted December 2016) and Croatia (-40,2%), while Lithuanian car sales were up 38,7%, followed by Iceland (+28,2%) and Norway (18,2%), the latter with a more than 50% share of EVs and PHEVs.
No manufacturer gained more than 5.500 sales in December, with BMW Group leading the way, followed by Hyundai-Kia and Tesla Motors, the latter always strong in the last month of a quarter and helped by strong volume in Norway where it was the best selling brand in December with a 15,3% share of the market, and its 2 models leading the charts for a 1-2 finish. Half of Tesla‘s European sales were in Norway this month, compared to 30% over the full year. Usually one of the big winners among manufacturers, Renault-Nissan, FCA Fiat-Chrysler and Volkswagen Group are contrastingly the big losers in December, each losing more than 10.000 sales. In terms of relative growth, Tesla Motors is the peak performer in December with a 75,7% gain, while all others improve by 6,4% or less. SAIC MG is the fastest declining manufacturer at -43,6%, followed by Tata Motors and FCA.
At brand level, Peugeot adds the most volume, followed by BMW and Dacia, while Opel/Vauxhall, Fiat and Renault are the only brands to lose over 10.000 units of volume in December. Bugatti quadruples its deliveries from 1 to 4, unofficially imported Dodge improves 148% and outsells the officially imported Chevrolet USA models, while Chinese-Italian DR Motor is down by half, and so are Infiniti and SAIC MG almost.
December winners and losers
|Manufacturer biggest volume increase||BMW Group||5.469||Manufacturer biggest volume lost||Renault-Nissan||-14.435|
|Tesla Motors||2.077||Volkswagen Group||-11.955|
|Manufacturer biggest % increase||Tesla Motors||75,7%||Manufacturer biggest % lost||SAIC MG||-43,6%|
|BMW Group||6,4%||Tata Motors||-20,4%|
|Brand biggest volume increase||Peugeot||6.060||Brand biggest volume lost||Opel/Vauxhall||-13.965|
|Brand biggest % increase||Bugatti||300,0%||Brand biggest % lost||DR Motor||-51,2%|
Behind the usual suspects Volkswagen and Renault on top, BMW hits a record #3 spot, beating not only its luxury rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi, but also Peugeot, Ford and Opel/Vauxhall. Its previous highest ranking was a 5th place, scored in August and September 2015, as well as September 2014 and 2013. This caps off a year in which Mercedes-Benz scored a historic #2 place in August, and both records are a result of a number of factors: the increasing share of luxury brands thanks to their expanded line-up of entry-level models, the weakness of Ford due to the model change of its best seller Fiesta and aging rest of its line-up, and the weakness of Opel/Vauxhall after the takeover by PSA. Peugeot is in fourth place for the third month running and the best performing brand in the top-10. After 2 months in 6th place, Opel/Vauxhall is knocked down one more spot to #7, a record low for the brand and due to a 19,4% loss, the largest in the top-10. And that’s only because Fiat is out of the top-10 for the second straight month with a 22% loss on last year. Dacia repeats is best-ever 12th place also hit in August, outselling Hyundai, Citroën and Nissan. Mini scores a nice improvement at +10,1%, but Jaguar (-24,6%), Mitsubishi (-20,1%) and Land Rover (-18,5%) are in trouble.
December brands ranking
|Brand||Dec-17||Dec-16||change||2017 share||YTD rank|
European car sales statistics are from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. They exclude vehicles registered as commercial vehicles. Source: ANDC, JATO Dynamics