European car sales analysis Full Year 2015 – brands

Car sales in Europe increased 9% to 14,1 million units in 2015, which was better than expected, and means 1,2 million additional sales for a market still suffering from overcapacity. However, as both the US and China broke new sales records last year, Europe is still about 2 million sales off its peak of over 16 million sales in 2004 and 2005.

volkswagen_group-sales-europe-2015As I mentioned in the December 2015 European car sales analysis, the diesel scandal has had very limited effect on the sales of the Volkswagen Group, as it remains the #1 manufacturer by far and even adds the most volume of all at close to 200.000 additional sales, even though that means a slower than average relative growth of +6%. Renault-Nissan performs almost as good or even better, depending on how you look at it: its 11% growth is pretty impressive, but its 190.000 additional sales mean that the gap between the VW Group and the French-Japanese alliance is still growing.

Fiat_500X-Jeep_Renegade-sales-figures-Europe-2015General Motors showed the slowest growth of all major manufacturers at +2,1% and that’s not only due to the discontinuation of Chevrolet, as Opel/Vauxhall also grew slower than the overall market at +6,1%. With the help of small crossovers Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade, FCA managed to leapfrog Hyundai-Kia to reclaim 7th place in the manufacturers ranking. Meanwhile, luxury manufacturers have had a great year, with Daimler AG growing 17,1% to add over 120.000 sales and BMW growing 11,5% to add over 95.000 sales, and JaguarLand Rover (owned by Tata Motors of India) boosted sales 22,2% to pass Suzuki in the manufacturers ranking.

Honda_HR_V-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeHonda was the only manufacturer to lose volume in 2015, and it was a modest 1.771 units or 1,3%. Nonetheless, this is a new record low for Honda as it has now declined 7 straight years from a high of 311.801 in 2007 to just 130.808 in 2015, which is less than the manufacturer sold just in the month of December in both the US (134.070 Honda & 16.823 Acura) and China (151.587). It also means Honda dropped behind its Japanese rival Mitsubishi Motors for the first time ever. It’s a promising sign that Honda returned to growth in the second half of 2015 thanks to the addition of the HR-V small crossover, but I’m afraid that will also remain a niche player in this hot but competitive segment.

2015 manufacturers ranking

Group 2015 2014  % change change
1 Volkswagen Group 3.483.185 3.284.856 6,0% 198.329
2 Renault-Nissan 1.906.251 1.716.597 11,0% 189.654
3 PSA Peugeot-Citroën 1.470.713 1.390.239 5,8% 80.474
4 Ford Motor Corp. 1.039.155 959.197 8,3% 79.958
5 General Motors 937.880 918.760 2,1% 19.120
6 BMW Group 925.296 829.886 11,5% 95.410
7 Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles 868.597 764.311 13,6% 104.286
8 Hyundai-Kia 849.214 770.622 10,2% 78.592
9 Daimler AG 834.988 713.121 17,1% 121.867
10 Toyota Motor Corp. 595.749 554.395 7,5% 41.354
11 Geely (Volvo) 284.567 255.000 11,6% 29.567
12 Mazda 209.290 172.926 21,0% 36.364
13 Tata Motors (J-LR) 180.300 147.595 22,2% 32.705
14 Suzuki 177.686 161.144 10,3% 16.542
15 Mitsubishi Motors 132.975 101.354 31,2% 31.621
16 Honda 130.808 132.579 -1,3% -1.771
17 Fuji H.I. (Subaru) 38.033 32.907 15,6% 5.126
18 Tesla Motors 15.231 8.868 71,8% 6.363
19 Mahindra & Mahindra (SsangYong) 14.807 8.554 73,1% 6.253
20 SAIC MG 3.157 2.326 35,7% 831
21 AvtoVAZ (Lada) 1.883 1.602 17,5% 281
22 Aston Martin 1.623 1.559 4,1% 64
23 DRB-Hicom (Proton / Lotus) 828 650 27,4% 178

 

2015 brand sales

Ford EdgeIt shouldn’t come as a surprise to see Volkswagen is still the best selling brand in Europe, but it loses some of its impressive market share, from 12,4% to 12,1% as it grows slower than the market. In the battle for 2nd place, Ford grows to top 1 million sales again, which it last did in 2011. Coincidentally, the company also returns to an operating profit for the first time in 3 years. General Motors is still losing money in Europe, but expects to make a profit in 2016 after decades of losses. Still, its Opel/Vauxhall brand lost its third place to Renault, which passes Volkswagen in December thanks to its impressive last month of the year to become the brand with the biggest volume improvement in 2015 with 98.000 additional sales. With new model introductions of the Talisman, Megane and in the second half of the year the Scenic, plus benefiting from continued growth of the Kadjar and new Espace, the French actually have a shot at passing Ford this year. The Americans are only launching low-volume models this year, with the long-overdue replacements of the S-Max and Galaxy MPVs, and the introduction of the Edge large SUV.

Audi holds on to the title of best selling luxury brand, but BMW and Mercedes-Benz are closing in, as both show double the growth rates of their rival. Volvo is more than 450.000 sales behind the #3 in fourth place (18th overall).

Nissan_Pulsar-Toyota_AurisNissan was ahead of Toyota at the end of November, but thanks to an excellent month of December, Toyota manages to hold on to the title of most popular Asian brand in Europe, by a margin of less than 2.500 units. In 2014, the gap was still 48.500 units, so Nissan is closing in fast. The Japanese brand did manage to overtake Citroën last year, and increased the gap with Hyundai. Kia moved back ahead of Dacia despite the French-Romanian brand’s impressive first half of the year, and Mini passed Suzuki to enter the top-20. Jeep was the only brand to more than double its sales at +115,1%, and gaining 4 places in the process, two of which are its FCA stablemates Alfa Romeo and Lancia.

2015 brand ranking

2015 2014 2014 2015 2014
Brand sales sales change rank Market share Market share
1 Volkswagen 1.699.221 1.606.145 5,8% 1 12,1% 12,4%
2 Ford 1.039.149 959.191 8,3% 2 7,4% 7,4%
3 Renault 970.454 872.486 11,2% 4 6,9% 6,7%
4 Opel/Vauxhall 934.368 880.974 6,1% 3 6,6% 6,8%
5 Peugeot 849.857 782.883 8,6% 5 6,0% 6,1%
6 Audi 763.308 722.653 5,6% 6 5,4% 5,6%
7 BMW 743.466 672.376 10,6% 7 5,3% 5,2%
8 Mercedes-Benz 738.351 657.320 12,3% 8 5,2% 5,1%
9 Fiat 653.212 583.206 12,0% 9 4,6% 4,5%
10 Skoda 612.579 571.658 7,2% 10 4,3% 4,4%
11 Toyota 556.480 526.272 5,7% 11 3,9% 4,1%
12 Nissan 554.046 477.703 16,0% 13 3,9% 3,7%
13 Citroën 545.693 523.175 4,3% 12 3,9% 4,0%
14 Hyundai 466.167 418.824 11,3% 14 3,3% 3,2%
15 Kia 383.047 351.798 8,9% 16 2,7% 2,7%
16 Dacia 376.324 362.520 3,8% 15 2,7% 2,8%
17 Seat 336.560 327.330 2,8% 17 2,4% 2,5%
18 Volvo 284.567 254.225 11,9% 18 2,0% 2,0%
19 Mazda 209.290 172.926 21,0% 19 1,5% 1,3%
20 Mini 181.244 156.887 15,5% 21 1,3% 1,2%
21 Suzuki 177.686 161.144 10,3% 20 1,3% 1,2%
22 Land Rover 140.564 118.342 18,8% 23 1,0% 0,9%
23 Mitsubishi 132.975 101.354 31,2% 24 0,9% 0,8%
24 Honda 130.808 132.579 -1,3% 22 0,9% 1,0%
25 Smart 96.637 55.877 72,9% 28 0,7% 0,4%
26 Jeep 86.803 40.353 115,1% 30 0,6% 0,3%
27 DS 75.163 85.093 -11,7% 25 0,5% 0,7%
28 Porsche 68.270 54.004 26,4% 29 0,5% 0,4%
29 Lancia-Chrysler 61.865 71.954 -14,0% 26 0,4% 0,6%
30 Alfa Romeo 56.688 58.976 -3,9% 27 0,4% 0,5%
31 Jaguar 39.383 28.796 36,8% 34 0,3% 0,2%
32 Lexus 39.261 31.479 24,7% 33 0,3% 0,2%
33 Subaru 38.033 32.907 15,6% 32 0,3% 0,3%
34 Tesla 15.231 8.868 71,8% 35 0,1% 0,1%
35 SSangYong 14.264 8.190 74,2% 36 0,1% 0,1%
36 Maserati 6.067 5.734 5,8% 37 0,0% 0,0%
37 Infiniti 5.427 3.888 39,6% 38 0,0% 0,0%
38 SAIC MG 3.157 2.326 35,7% 41 0,0% 0,0%
39 Ferrari 2.648 2.461 7,6% 39 0,0% 0,0%
40 Bentley 2.419 2.443 -1,0% 40 0,0% 0,0%
41 Chevrolet 2.033 37.583 -94,6% 31 0,0% 0,3%
42 Lada 1.883 1.602 17,5% 42 0,0% 0,0%
43 Aston Martin 1.623 1.559 4,1% 43 0,0% 0,0%
44 Lotus 828 639 29,6% 45 0,0% 0,0%
45 Lamborghini 791 560 41,3% 47 0,0% 0,0%
46 Dodge 742 990 -25,1% 44 0,0% 0,0%
47 Rolls Royce 586 623 -5,9% 46 0,0% 0,0%
48 Cadillac 584 382 52,9% 50 0,0% 0,0%
49 Mahindra 543 367 48,0% 51 0,0% 0,0%
50 Tata 353 457 -22,8% 49 0,0% 0,0%
51 DR 231 349 -33,8% 52 0,0% 0,0%
52 Great Wall 156 493 -68,4% 48 0,0% 0,0%
53 Bugatti 12 12 0,0% 53 0,0% 0,0%
54 Daihatsu 8 11 -27,3% 54 0,0% 0,0%

About Bart Demandt

Bart is a 36-year old Dutchman who’s always had a thing for cars, the automotive industry and statistics. He’s combined these passions by writing about them on CarSalesBase.com. His daily driver is an Alfa Romeo GT 3.2 V6 which he just can’t seem to say goodbye to thanks to the mesmerizing exhaust note.
You can find all his articles Here.

Comments

  1. Of course 2015 sales aren’t affected by VAG-gate, because 1) the scandal started at the end of September and 2) a lot of companies have contracts with VW that can’t be cancelled immediately. When sales are still up after Q1 of 2016 you can state there is no effect and many European customers/companies suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. The way VW treats their customers in Europe should be reason enough to ignore the corrupt German car manufacturer. Or are Americans and Chinese simply smarter?

    The gap between VW Group and the rest is irrelevant, because they have more brands than any other car company. With 8 brands (12 in total) it would be weird not to be the largest within the industry.

    • Bart Demandt says:

      Hi Losange,

      I’m aware of the large percentage of corporate sales by VW Group, but that doesn’t mean sales to private buyers are negligible for the company. Especially Skoda and Seat will still depend heavily on private sales, and a big decrease in those sales would certainly have affected VW Group in the last quarter of 2015, but in my opinion that effect is limited.
      As you say: the scandal started at the end of December, so let’s assume the effect should be visible from November, as cars ordered before the scandal would still be delivered in October. From January to October, their sales were up by 6,3% and in November and December they continued to improve, albeit at a slightly slower pace of 2,6%. If we assume that all of the reduced growth from +6,3% to +2,6% can be attributed to the diesel scandal, we’re talking about 18.864 potential sales lost in those last two months, or 3,6% of VW Group sales.
      When comparing VW Group’s 6% growth over the entire year to the first annual decline in over a decade in China or a 4,8% decline in the USA, I’d say the effect is indeed limited so far.
      I agree with you that it’s interesting to see how their sales develop in 2016, and we’ll keep a sharp eye to it.

  2. Hi Bart,

    All brands have private sales, but percentages of corporate sales can be very high which results into artificial figures. Recently I read an article about the 20 most popular cars during Q1-Q3 2015 in Germany. The lowest percentage of corporate sales was 44,5 (#4 VW Polo, 22.622/50.838), the highest percentage was 91,2 (#2 VW Passat, 66.037/72.410). Other examples: VW Golf 69,3, Mercedes C-Class 69,1, Skoda Octavia 65,3, Audi A4 87,5, Opel Astra 81, BMW 2 series 56,8, Seat Leon 63,9. In other words, the popularity of these cars is questionable. A lot of companies force their workers (roughly 1/2 up to 9/10) to drive these cars. And this is Germany only; countries like Belgium, Netherlands and Norway also have high numbers of corporate sales.

    In my opinion we have to wait at least three more months to, carefully, make statements about possible effects of the emission scandal, because in Europe the waiting time for car deliveries have been increased to 4-6 months. People buying a car in September, October may get their car in January or later. Therefore orders post-Dieselgate can slow down the visibility of possible effects.

  3. I think VAG is too big machinery to be stopped now. Their sales in 2016 could be flat in first half of the year with decreased market share, but in second half or maybe Q4 i think they will bounce back again.
    They could be removed from the top now only if some other brands merge or something like that…
    I’m disappointed with Toyota, for a such large brand they aren’t even trying to do something serious in Europe. Face-lifted Avensis and Verso are helplessly old in comparison with their segment rivals.
    On the other hand nice success from Mazda, last 2 years they’ve be really trying in Europe and now they are gaining back their market share.
    Outlander PHEV is doing wonders for Mitsubishi. Too bad rest of their line-up is more or less disaster.

  4. Hi, I see in Poland where I live that whole VAG after dieselgate doubled or even more affords on marketing: tv and newspapers commercials. How about others countries? From what I see, I think that VAG decided to loose some money more rather than volume of sold cars. They are trying to avoid situations when lower sale could makes even worse sale. Untill now Dieselgate has only influence on image and short time on stock value. But casulties on volume are far worse- hit image and stock value as well, but more affect dealers. Less car sold would push some of them to change a brand. I have seen it in Poland with FIAT in last 10 years. I think VAG was hit strong but try to not show it as much as possible.

    • Bart Demandt says:

      Hi Ruta,

      I think you may have a point there. A big slowdown in deliveries would only mean more bad publicity for the company as it would be all over the news like it is in the US: “VW sales hit hard by diesel scandal” etc. With heavy discounts they could keep their volume relatively stable and thus get this whole situation behind them quickly. If only they could figure out a solution for their rigged cars quickly…

      By the way, I saw the Polish brand top-10 for 2015 last week and noticed that “local” manufacturer Fiat isn’t even in it anymore. I remember they were one of the biggest brands in the late nineties and early 2000’s with the Cinquecento and Seicento, but they must have fallen out of love with the Panda, and I think the new 500 may be too expensive. What a waste.

Let me know what you think of this article. Thanks!

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