European car sales analysis March and Q1 2017 – brands

A record 1,92European-car-sales-graph-March_2017 million new cars were sold in Europe in March 2017. This is an increase of 10,5% over March last year and the highest monthly volume ever recorded. Part of the explanation for the surge in sales is that Easter fell in April this year instead of in March, like last year, which means dealers had extra selling days in 2017. Still, almost 2 million sales in a single month is an impressive figure and it even comes close to the 2,02 million sales in China this same month. March sales are usually around 11,5% of total annual volume, which extrapolates to an expected record 16,7 million sales in 2017. That would be an increase of 10,3% on 2015 and significantly higher than the previous record of 16,1 million sales in 2004.

All five of the big markets showed strong growth in March, with Italy (+18,2%), Spain (+12,6%) and Germany (+11,4%) leading the way with double digit gains, while the UK (+8,4%) and France (+7%) grow slightly slower than te rest of the market. 16 out of the 30 markets showed double digit gains and only 5 lost volume, all in single digits. The fastest growing market was Greece (+49,5%), recovering from its deep recession. In the first quarter, European car sales increased 7,8% to 4,22 million units. Italy was the fastest growing of the big markets at +11,9%.

Jaguar-Land_Rover-sales-March-2017March is a bit of a freak month for European car sales every year, as it is dominated by the UK market, due to the twice-yearly license plate change, this time to the “17” plates, which affects resales values and therefore incentivizes car buyers to postpone taking delivery of their new car until March. Over the course of an entire year, the UK makes up about 18% of total European sales, but in March this number rises to close to 30%. As a result, you will see the brand ranking also favors the brands that are relatively stronger in the UK than in the rest of Europe, which includes Ford, Opel/Vauxhall, Nissan and the British brands. For example Ford adds 2 percentage points of market share on February and JaguarLand Rover even doubles its market share.

Like in February, Renault-Nissan added the most volume of all manufacturers, this time followed by Volkswagen Group and Ford Motor Company, while in terms of relative growth both Aston Martin and Tesla Motors more than doubled their volumes and DRB-Hicom grew almost 50% with its Lotus sports car brand. Tesla_Model_X-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeThe only manufacturers to lose volume in March were Honda, Mazda, Fuji Heavy Industries and Mahindra& Mahindra.

At brand level, Ford was the big volume winner this month, adding 21.735 sales, ahead of Renault and Mercedes-Benz, while Honda, DS and Mitsubishi lost the most volume of all brands. In relative terms, DS was the biggest loser with a loss of 32%, followed by Mahindra at -30,5% and Dodge, which is not even officially imported to Europe. Infiniti joins Aston Martin and Tesla among the brands that double up, and Rolls Royce gets also a mention for almost doubling its volume on last year.

March winners and losers

Manufacturer biggest volume increase Renault-Nissan 32.287   Manufacturer biggest volume lost Honda -3.025
Volkswagen Group 24.654 Mazda -207
Ford Motor Comp. 21.735 Fuji H.I. (Subaru) -165
Manufacturer biggest % increase Aston Martin 109,3% Manufacturer biggest % lost Honda -12,1%
Tesla Motors 101,3% Fuji H.I. (Subaru) -3,9%
DRB-Hicom (Lotus) 48,7% Mahindra& Mahindra -1,8%
             
Brand biggest volume increase Ford 21.735   Brand biggest volume lost Honda -3.025
Renault 17.704 DS -2.993
Mercedes-Benz 15.336 Mitsubishi -1.130
Brand biggest % increase Aston Martin 109,3% Brand biggest % lost DS -32,0%
Infiniti 104,8% Mahindra  -30,5%
Tesla 101,3% Dodge -13,2%

Aston_Martin_DB11-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeYear-to-date, Renault-Nissan has already added over 50.000 units to its volume, and Volkswagen Group has added almost 42.000 units.FCA Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles has grown over 38.000 units. In relative growth, Aston Martin and Tesla both double up thanks to the DB11 and Model X, respectively. Suzuki grows almost 30%. On the other end of the scale, the only manufacturers to lose volume in Q1 of 2017 are Honda, Mazda and Fuji Heavy Industries, the latter by just 179 sales. 

Biggest winners among brands during the first three months of the year are Toyota thanks to the C-HR, followed by Fiat and Mercedes-Benz, while in relative terms we see Bugatti double up from 1 Veyron last year to 2 Chirons this year. DS is the big loser in Q1, both in absolute terms and in relative terms.

2017 Q1 winners and losers

Manufacturer biggest volume increase Renault-Nissan 51.696   Manufacturer biggest volume lost Honda -5.075
Volkswagen Group 41.970 Mazda -3.397
Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles 38.109 Fuji H.I. (Subaru) -179
Manufacturer biggest % increase Aston Martin 112,6% Manufacturer biggest % lost Honda -10,3%
Tesla Motors 111,8% Mazda -5,0%
Suzuki 29,9% Fuji H.I. (Subaru) -1,9%
             
Brand biggest volume increase Toyota 31.531   Brand biggest volume lost DS -6.739
Fiat 28.402 Honda -5.075
Mercedes-Benz 28.089 Mazda -3.397
Brand biggest % increase Aston Martin 112,6% Brand biggest % lost DS -33,4%
Tesla 111,8% Mahindra  -25,9%
Bugatti 100,0% Chevrolet -21,4%

 

Ford_Kuga-2017-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeOut of the 52 brands currently on sale in Europe, no less than 26 have sold more cars in March than they’ve ever done in a single month in Europe. We’ll discuss which ones in a separate article on record-breaking March car sales. Market leader Volkswagen is up just 3,9% in March and therefore loses 0,6 percentage points of share. As usual in March, Ford is in a strong second place with sales up 15,9%, but while Renault doesn’t benefit as much from a strong UK market, the French brand still grows 14,9% and outsells Opel/Vauxhall for the first March in at least 5 years. The latter grows only 3,3% and loses 0,4 percentage points of market share on last year. Mercedes-Benz is back into 5th place as the fastest growing brand in the top-10, outselling not only its German luxury rivals but also Peugeot. Fiat, Nissan and Toyota all grow with double digits, with Nissan outselling the latter thanks to the UK market, where it produces most of its cars for the European market. Besides traditionally in March and September, the last time Nissan outsold its Japanese rival was in June 2015 and thanks to the very successful launch of the C-HR, it may not happen again soon, unless the new Micra becomes a bigger hit than anybody could expect. Kia and Seat grow with double digits, both helped by their latest crossover additions Niro and Ateca, and the Spanish brand outsells Dacia for the first time since last November.

Volvo and Land Rover grow by more than 20% and so does small car specialist Suzuki, now ahead of Honda for the 12th consecutive month. Jaguar gains 74% to outsell Mitsubishi for the first time ever. You read that right: Jaguar outsold Mitsubishi in Europe. In all of 2015, Mitsubishi sold 93.500 cars MORE than Jaguar, but in March 2017 the British brand has turned the tables. Of course this is only a temporary phenomenon due to the exceptional UK volume this month, but nonetheless an amazing achievement. Alfa Romeo grows 49% in March thanks to the arrival of the Stelvio and hopes to experience a similar growth curve as Jaguar now that it finally has an SUV too.

March brands ranking

  Brand March 2017 March 2016
change 2017 share 2016 share
1 Volkswagen 186.246 179.221 3,9% 9,7% 10,3%
2 Ford 158.749 137.014 15,9% 8,3% 7,9%
3 Renault 136.608 118.904 14,9% 7,1% 6,8%
4 Opel/Vauxhall 129.834 125.700 3,3% 6,8% 7,2%
5 Mercedes-Benz 106.029 90.693 16,9% 5,5% 5,2%
6 Peugeot 104.068 97.520 6,7% 5,4% 5,6%
7 BMW 102.616 94.588 8,5% 5,3% 5,4%
8 Audi 99.085 94.402 5,0% 5,2% 5,4%
9 Fiat 98.599 84.697 16,4% 5,1% 4,9%
10 Nissan 90.770 77.867 16,6% 4,7% 4,5%
11 Toyota 83.123 69.176 20,2% 4,3% 4,0%
12 Skoda 71.960 66.815 7,7% 3,7% 3,8%
13 Citroën 67.859 62.397 8,8% 3,5% 3,6%
14 Hyundai 58.473 54.533 7,2% 3,0% 3,1%
15 Kia 53.111 47.249 12,4% 2,8% 2,7%
16 Seat 44.119 38.270 15,3% 2,3% 2,2%
17 Dacia 42.832 41.266 3,8% 2,2% 2,4%
18 Volvo 36.891 30.697 20,2% 1,9% 1,8%
19 Land Rover 32.663 26.837 21,7% 1,7% 1,5%
20 Mazda 30.476 30.683 -0,7% 1,6% 1,8%
21 Suzuki 28.097 23.017 22,1% 1,5% 1,3%
22 Mini 27.765 26.085 6,4% 1,4% 1,5%
23 Honda 21.998 25.023 -12,1% 1,1% 1,4%
24 Jaguar 14.271 8.227 73,5% 0,7% 0,5%
25 Mitsubishi 13.210 14.340 -7,9% 0,7% 0,8%
26 Jeep 11.756 10.620 10,7% 0,6% 0,6%
27 Smart 11.421 11.857 -3,7% 0,6% 0,7%
28 Alfa Romeo 9.427 6.328 49,0% 0,5% 0,4%
29 Porsche 9.259 7.454 24,2% 0,5% 0,4%
30 Lancia-Chrysler 8.379 7.274 15,2% 0,4% 0,4%
31 DS 6.370 9.363 -32,0% 0,3% 0,5%
32 Lexus 6.086 5.916 2,9% 0,3% 0,3%
33 Subaru 4.098 4.263 -3,9% 0,2% 0,2%
34 Tesla 3.885 1.930 101,3% 0,2% 0,1%
35 SSangYong 2.299 2.323 -1,0% 0,1% 0,1%
36 Infiniti 2.191 1.070 104,8% 0,1% 0,1%
37 Maserati 1.397 755 85,0% 0,1% 0,0%
38 SAIC MG 750 576 30,2% 0,0% 0,0%
39 Bentley 604 400 51,0% 0,0% 0,0%
40 Aston Martin 565 270 109,3% 0,0% 0,0%
41 Ferrari 442 348 27,0% 0,0% 0,0%
42 Lada 410 287 42,9% 0,0% 0,0%
43 Chevrolet 138 135 2,2% 0,0% 0,0%
44 Rolls Royce 122 62 96,8% 0,0% 0,0%
45 Lotus 113 76 48,7% 0,0% 0,0%
46 Lamborghini 91 86 5,8% 0,0% 0,0%
47 Cadillac 81 83 -2,4% 0,0% 0,0%
48 Dodge 59 68 -13,2% 0,0% 0,0%
49 DR 49 47 4,3% 0,0% 0,0%
50 Mahindra  41 59 -30,5% 0,0% 0,0%
51 Geely 10 0 0,0% 0,0%
52 Bugatti 1 1 0,0% 0,0% 0,0%

Alfa_Romeo_Stelvio-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeYear-to-date, Ford maintains its 2nd place above Renault but is unlikely to hold on to that for the next quarter, as the French brand outgrows it and is traditionally less strong in Q1. Volkswagen is the slowest growing brand in the top-10, followed by Audi and Opel/Vauxhall. Compared to Q1 of last year, Fiat and Mercedes-Benz both leapfrog BMW and Audi, while Toyota is the fastest growing brand in the top-10, kicking Skoda out of that ranking to #12, as the Czech brand is also outsold by Nissan. Honda also loses two positions, to Land Rover and Mini. Jaguar and Alfa Romeo are going to have an interesting heads-up battle against each other this year. Does anyone care to predict a winner? Lada enters the top-40 as the Russian brand is making a revival in Europe, even though it has a new sedan in showrooms with the Vesta, the brand’s best seller remains the antediluvian cult-SUV Niva.

  Brand Q1 2017 change 2016 rank 2017 share 2016 share change
1 Volkswagen 440.330 1,8% 1 10,4% 11,1% 7.882
2 Ford 311.891 8,2% 2 7,4% 7,4% 23.581
3 Renault 289.653 9,8% 4 6,9% 6,7% 25.889
4 Opel/Vauxhall 274.093 2,7% 3 6,5% 6,8% 7.095
5 Peugeot 244.057 4,3% 5 5,8% 6,0% 10.145
6 Mercedes-Benz 229.844 13,9% 8 5,4% 5,2% 28.089
7 Fiat 227.233 14,3% 9 5,4% 5,1% 28.402
8 Audi 220.216 2,6% 6 5,2% 5,5% 5.631
9 BMW 218.838 7,3% 7 5,2% 5,2% 14.909
10 Toyota 193.913 19,4% 11 4,6% 4,1% 31.531
11 Nissan 176.041 9,9% 12 4,2% 4,1% 15.812
12 Skoda 173.707 6,4% 10 4,1% 4,2% 10.431
13 Citroën 159.118 6,0% 13 3,8% 3,8% 8.939
14 Hyundai 132.708 5,9% 14 3,1% 3,2% 7.358
15 Kia 125.520 12,0% 15 3,0% 2,9% 13.485
16 Dacia 111.964 9,7% 16 2,7% 2,6% 9.924
17 Seat 101.733 18,0% 17 2,4% 2,2% 15.486
18 Volvo 80.071 14,0% 18 1,9% 1,8% 9.839
19 Mazda 64.432 -5,0% 19 1,5% 1,7% -3.397
20 Suzuki 64.421 29,9% 20 1,5% 1,3% 14.813
21 Land Rover 53.805 9,3% 22 1,3% 1,3% 4.585
22 Mini 52.180 6,6% 23 1,2% 1,3% 3.227
23 Honda 44.341 -10,3% 21 1,1% 1,3% -5.075
24 Mitsubishi 30.281 -7,2% 24 0,7% 0,8% -2.344
25 Jeep 27.110 3,3% 26 0,6% 0,7% 866
26 Smart 25.734 -6,3% 25 0,6% 0,7% -1.736
27 Jaguar 23.496 61,5% 31 0,6% 0,4% 8.948
28 Alfa Romeo 21.573 35,2% 30 0,5% 0,4% 5.618
29 Lancia-Chrysler 21.473 8,2% 28 0,5% 0,5% 1.619
30 Porsche 18.924 13,2% 29 0,4% 0,4% 2.202
31 DS 13.446 -33,4% 27 0,3% 0,5% -6.739
32 Lexus 12.188 2,8% 32 0,3% 0,3% 328
33 Subaru 9.413 -1,9% 33 0,2% 0,2% -179
34 Tesla 6.433 111,8% 35 0,2% 0,1% 3.396
35 SSangYong 4.987 1,8% 34 0,1% 0,1% 86
36 Infiniti 4.264 96,0% 36 0,1% 0,1% 2.089
37 Maserati 3.121 99,3% 37 0,1% 0,0% 1.555
38 Bentley 1.171 55,1% 39 0,0% 0,0% 416
39 SAIC MG 1.066 7,5% 38 0,0% 0,0% 74
40 Lada 1.014 47,4% 41 0,0% 0,0% 326
41 Aston Martin 948 112,6% 42 0,0% 0,0% 502
42 Ferrari 756 4,6% 40 0,0% 0,0% 33
43 Chevrolet 279 -21,4% 43 0,0% 0,0% -76
44 Cadillac 229 10,6% 44 0,0% 0,0% 22
45 Rolls Royce 225 65,4% 48 0,0% 0,0% 89
46 Lotus 220 8,4% 45 0,0% 0,0% 17
47 Lamborghini 198 8,2% 46 0,0% 0,0% 15
48 Mahindra  123 -25,9% 47 0,0% 0,0% -43
49 DR 121 -0,8% 50 0,0% 0,0% -1
50 Dodge 112 -14,5% 49 0,0% 0,0% -19
51 Geely 85 8400,0% 52 0,0% 0,0% 84
52 Great Wall 3 -88,9% 51 0,0% 0,0% -24
53 Bugatti 2 100,0% 53 0,0% 0,0% 1

 

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

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. Martin C says:

    Looks like the Passat killer once again failed to reach only just 4000 cars, and that’s in a period, where the Passat production is hit by shortages in delivery of parts to the glove compartment, halting many deliveries more than five months.

  2. Amin khan says:

    In the table you mentioned Feb 16- Fb 17 , so it should be changed to March
    Thanks if change it
    Best Regards

  3. Good and professional to see CSB provides its readers context why March (and September) are extra-ordinary months.
    In these two months 33% of Europe’s new car reg.’s comes from the UK, a region where Ford, Vauxhall, Nissan, and LandRover gain disproportionately.

    • Bart Demandt says:

      Hi Rick,

      thanks for the compliment. Even though a lot of our readers work in the industry themselves, at automakers, suppliers and dealerships, not everybody may be aware of all the peculiarities of EVERY market, so we do our best to explain the causes of certain seasonal variations.

  4. Fokker says:

    My god, look at Honda, outsold by the likes of Suzuki, Mini and Land Rover! Alfa Romeo is also very far behind, but at least they have finally outsold Lancia, which is offering a one, aging model.

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

*