Sales of large SUVs in Europe are rebounding from a year-long decline, with sales up 28% in the first half of 2015. Only one of the 6 carryover models shows a decrease, the others are all enjoying double digit growth. The Hyundai Santa Fe is under threat from its family member Kia Sorento, thanks to that model’s all-new generation. The Sorento already outsold the Santa Fe in April and June and its 70% year-over-year increase compared to the outgoing model places it less than 10% off the segment pole position, even with the Santa Fe adding a still impressive 37%. The Korean siblings are the two fastest growing models in the segment, and together they held a whopping 71% share of the large SUV class in Q2, up from 66% in Q1 and 58% last year. [Read more…]
The compact segment in the US gets the dubious distinction as being the only mainstream segment to grow in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. In fact, the growth rate at 3% was very close to the 4% growth rate of the whole. market. Not a bad showing in these SUV-obsessed times.
The traditional segment leader, Toyota Corolla, strengthened its grip on the top spot. It seems that no matter what the opposition tries to do, the dependable, inoffensive Corolla still comes up on top. It probably helps that it is a younger design than the cars that took the three places behind it, all of which are about to be replaced in the coming year. Of the three the Hyundai Elantra did the best, and its year-on-year growth sees it snatch 3rd place ahead of Chevy Cruze by under 1,000 cars.
The midsized SUV segment in Europe sees its impressive growth rate of +15% in Q1 slow down slightly to a still enviable +11% in the first half of 2015, especially considering the segment continues to outpace the overall market, which is up 8%.
The traditional leader of the segment Nissan Qashqai manages to do even better than the segment as a whole, with sales up 13% to almost 125.000 units. This means the Qashqai has a chance hit the quarter million sales marker for the entire year if it keeps up this sales pace. Add to that the 586% increase to over 20.000 sales in 6 months for its larger sibling Nissan X-Trail, and also the successful introduction of the Renault Kadjar on the same platform, and we could be looking at potential sales of 350.000 Renault-Nissan SUVs from a common architecture this year. And as Kriss will surely show you in an article about US sales, Nissan is also on a roll across the Atlantic, where the X-Trail (called Rogue there) is breaking sales records every month, with factories in the US and Japan running at full capacity and still unable to fulfill demand. They’re now producing the Rogue in a third plant in Busan, South Korea, which is operated by Renault-Samsung Motors.
The aging Volkswagen Tiguan can’t keep up with these kinds of volumes and is down 9% but keeps its second place of the segment. Behind it, the two Korean siblings are neck-and-neck for the podium, with the Kia Sportage holding on to its third place ahead of the Hyundai ix35 and looking set to remain ahead for the rest of the year, as the ix35’s successor has just been launched in June. We find the Tucson (hey, that’s a familiar name, isn’t it?) in 27th place for now with its first 107 sales. As the months progress, that will undoubtedly grow to a monthly pace of around 10.000 sales, so a top-15 position by the end of the year should be possible, before becoming a podium contender in 2016, together with the Kadjar. [Read more…]
Small crossover sales continue to boom in the first half of 2015. Sales in this segment increased more than 50% last year, and after a slight hiccup in Q1 at “only” +34%, the year-to-date tally at the halfway mark is back up to +49%, thanks to a surge of 66% in Q2. This is for a large part due to new model introductions, but the incumbents keep growing to heights never imagined as well.
The segment leader Renault Captur has added another 23% to its already impressive score of last year, and has managed to rack up more than 100.000 sales in the past six months, which means it could end the year with over 200.000 sales. That’s Nissan Qashqai territory! Likewise, the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka is showing an even bigger improvement at +40%, giving the GM brands some long-awaited success and helping them defend their European brand top-3 position, which they’re currently losing to Renault. It’s late-bloomed success has helped the Mokka to leapfrog both the Peugeot 2008 and the Dacia Duster to take second place of the hottest segment in the continent, as these two models show more modest growth rates at +15% and +4% respectively. Although these figures may look a bit bleak in this segment, it’s still an impressive performance to keep growing despite an influx of hot new competitors. [Read more…]
Sales of large MPVs are down 19% in the first half, which is a slight recovery from the -26% in Q1. Both Ford models still losing more than half of their volume, as the new generations S-Max and Galaxy have only just been introduced. The S-Max will start its comeback in Q3 and the Galaxy in Q4. Meanwhile, the new generation Renault Espace has already been on sale for a few weeks, and it’s already threatening the S-Max for third place year-to-date. In fact, the Espace outsold its Spanish-built German-American rival by a 3 : 1 ratio in June and even outsold the Seat Alhambra that month to claim second place of the segment.
The Volkswagen Sharan remains unfazed by the arrival of the Espace, and even increases its growth rate from +5% in Q1 to +10% in the first half. The Sharan will surely finish the year on top of the segment, but with the Espace, S-Max and Galaxy in full steam next year, the battle for first place will be on. The Renault has taken first strike, anybody already want to make a prediction for next year? [Read more…]
Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe are down 1% in the first half of 2015, after increasing by that same 1% in Q1. The ever-increasing popularity of crossovers may have something to do with that, as it does with small crossovers vs. small MPVs. However, the model that suffers the most from a sales slowdown in Q2 doesn’t have an in-house crossover competitor: the Citroën C4 Picasso. In fact, the Picasso loses its pole position of the segment to its main rival, the Renault Scenic, despite the latter being 4 years older and due to be replaced next year, as well as having gotten some in-house competition from the already successful Kadjar crossover.
Volkswagen occupies the next two spots with the still fresh Golf Sportsvan now firmly ahead of the soon-to-be replaced Touran, making VW the biggest brand in the class. The Ford C-Max and Peugeot 3008 maintain their positions above the Opel/Vauxhall Zafira, which is the biggest loser of the segment at -35%. [Read more…]
The small MPV segment accelerates its slowdown in Q2, as sales of small MPVs are down 13% in the first half, from -9% in Q1. As mentioned before, this is undoubtedly due to the growing popularity of small crossovers and an influx of models into that segment. In fact, with the introduction of the Fiat 500X, all top-5 players in the small MPV segment now also have a crossover sibling/competitor within their brand. And it can’t be a coincidence these are the MPVs that are showing the steepest declines.
As a result, only three out of the nine surviving models show an increase in sales (and none of the top-5), while four others show double digit contractions (all in the top-5). The leader Fiat 500L keeps its share of the segment stable thanks to sales down “just” 11%, and the Fiat consolidates its first place as the its nearest competitor of last year Nissan Note drops even further at -27% and down into third position. The Opel/Vauxhall Meriva moves into second place as it does slightly less bad than the overall segment at -6%. Despite sales down 20%, the former segment leader Ford B-Max holds on to its 4th place thanks to the Citroën C3 Picasso’s even bigger drop at -28%. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized car in Europe are back up thanks to the new generations of two important players. With an increase of 12% in the first half, the segment recovers from its record low in 2014, and its growth even outpaces the overall market. However, the love isn’t shared evenly, as only 6 out of 19 models (not counting the already killed models: 6 out of 16) show a year-over-year increase. And the new generation Volkswagen Passat accounts for more than 30.000 of the 33.600 additional sales for the entire segment. So with the all-new Ford Mondeo also adding almost 15.000 sales, the picture for most other models is still quite bleak.
Despite being all-new (for Europe, that is. It’s been on sale in the US for over 2,5 years already), and despite sales up more than 50%, the Ford Mondeo hasn’t been able to outsell the 7-year old Opel/Vauxhall Insignia even a single month this year. It the Passat has still outsold it by a 2,5 : 1 margin every single month but March. So it’s safe to say European midsized car buyers are yet to be impressed by the new Mondeo. The previous model sold twice as many times in 2008 and the generation before it again twice as many in 1999. Of course, the segment as a whole was much bigger at that time, but Ford can be glad they’re selling the same car in the US and China as well now, so they can still gain economies of scale. Or perhaps the fact that it’s no longer a European design, but a world-car instead has something to do with the lack of interest in the new generation? [Read more…]
To kick-start our coverage of the US car market we figured it would be good to give our European readers a bit of background on what the car market is like across the Atlantic. Here are 6 trends that differentiate the two markets:
1. The stereotypes are true: SUVs and pickup trucks are much more important in the US
While mainstream cars make up 60% of car sales in Europe, they only make up less than 40% of the US market. This becomes even more stark once you add the premium derivatives – the proportions become 75% vs 45%. Instead, the SUVs chunk of the market is almost twice as large in the US (30%) as it is in Europe (17%). Add to that another 14% of the US market that’s captured by pickups, and the high-level difference between the two markets becomes clear.
Data reflects sales in the first half of 2015
Sales of compact cars have stalled in Q2 of 2015, as the segment is up just 4% at the end of the first half. This is down from +10% after Q1 and just half of the overall market growth of 8% so far. That said, the Volkswagen Golf, traditional leader of the segment and the overall market, is up just 2% but remains unchallenged by a large margin. VW dealers still sell more than twice as many as their nearest competitor, the Ford Focus.
After the Focus had to fight for its second place in the first quarter, with the Skoda Octavia outselling it in January and February, the facelift has given the Ford some renewed sales energy. It’s taken some distance from its Czech rival, which is now also challenged by the Peugeot 308, up 34% on last year. The 308 narrowed the gap to the Octavia to less than 200 units in June, while the Opel/Vauxhall Astra managed to outsell both of them that same month thanks to heavy discounts on the outgoing model as the new generation has just been revealed (pictured). [Read more…]