European sales Jan-Sep 2013 midsize segment

The midsize segment in Europe as a whole saw a sharp decline of 26% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year. This is a result of a clear shift towards premium models in this segment. In fact, if we would combine the premium midsize with this segment, BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-class would hold the 1st, 3rd and 4th place of the combined segment respectively.

vw-passat-opel-insignia-ford-mondeo-skoda-superb-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013Segment leader Passat  has increased its market share slightly, as sales are off just under the segment average at -22%, as does its stretched-but-cheaper sister Skoda Superb (-21%), moving up to 5th place, passing Toyota Avensis (-39%). Biggest losers in the top 10 are Opel Insignia (-31%), Peugeot 508 (also -31%), Ford Mondeo (-34%), Toyota Avensis (-39%), which desperately needs a hybrid powertrain in order to stay competitive against the diesels, and Citroën C5 (-34%), suffering the most from the shift towards premium. It leaves you wondering how profitable Insignia and Mondeo must be, with sales divided between no less than three different body styles (sedan, liftback and station wagon), where all others make do with two and keeping in mind sales in this segment are traditionally skewed towards station wagons anyways.… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 Small MPV segment

Fiat-500L-Ford-B-Max-Citroen-C3-Picasso-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The small MPV segment in Europe as a whole saw a healthy increase of 13% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year, thanks to the introduction of two major new players who have shaken up the segment. Fiat 500L and Ford B-max were introduced in 2012 and are now the number 1 and 2 of the segment, knocking Opel Meriva off the top spot. With the European population aging, this segment will show even more growth in the future, as these models are very popular among the elderly carbuyers, because of their high seating position. Marketed mainly towards young families, the target group tends to prefer small SUVs for their style or mid-sized MPVs for their practicality.

Fiat 500L has been a welcome addition to the Fiat 500-family and has helped its utterly forgettable predecessor Idea to do exactly that: be forgotten quickly. In its home market Italy, it has been outselling its namegiver for three consecutive months and has been on the podium twice. Half of its European sales come from outside Italy, which may be more than any other large Fiat has accomplished since Fiat 127 in the seventies. Even in the US, the Serbian-built MPV has helped offset falling sales of the original Fiat 500 to keep Fiat brand sales flat year-to-date. Maybe this incredibly funny commercial “I’ve got my hose in the back” has got anything to do with it.… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 Midsized MPV segment

renault-scenic-ford-c-max-opel-zafira-vw-touran-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The once booming midsized MPV segment in Europe saw sales decline 12% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year, with all but two models in the top 10 selling more units than in 2012 and a very stable ranking, with just two models moving up in the top 10. Peugeot 3008 benefits from a steeper fall by Opel Zafira, and Dacia Lodgy passing Toyota Verso and Seat Altea for a ticket into the European top 10 at number 9.

That means Renault Scenic & Grand Scenic stays of the segment, despite (or thanks to?) already being facelifted twice since its 2009 launch. Ford C-Max & Grand C-Max are getting closer, leaving behind VW Touran, another model that’s had more nose (and tail-)jobs than Cher, which can’t hide that the basics have been around for 10 years and counting.… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 Large MPV segment

vw-sharan-ford-s-max-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The large MPV segment in Europe saw a sharp fall of 25% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year, with just the slowest selling of the only 9 players left in the segment selling more than last year. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, looking at the age of some of the models:

Lancia Voyager has been around as Chrysler Grand Voyager since 2007, rebadged into a Lancia in 2011 to replace the even slower-selling Phedra. But don’t expect Voyager to keep up this sales pace, numbers will keep going down faster than an iPhone battery.

Ford S-Max and Galaxy were introduced in 2006, when they shook up the segment. Their replacement is long overdue, because the production will move from the soon to be shuttered Genk factory to Spain, similar to Mondeo. The current versions are kept from even further declines with steep discounts and extra kit. If you’re looking for a good deal and don’t care about being hip and trendy (as every other MPV-owner), head straight to your Ford-dealer. Don’t expect the new generations to be able repeat the magic and turn the segment around once more. They’re still nothing more than large vans.… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 Small SUV segment

nissan-juke-renault-captur-peugeot-2008-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The small SUV segment in Europe is the fastest growing segment, growing 65% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year. By year end, the growth percentage will have increased even further, thanks to the hugely successful new entrants into the segment.

In 2014, the podium will look much differently, with Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 storming the podium, leaving Opel Mokka and Dacia Duster behind.

Within a few years time, the number of players in this segment will increase, as manufacturers have taken an interest in one of the bright spots in the European car market.

One of the new entrants in 2014 will be Fiat 500X, a crossover which will feature design clues from its little sister Fiat 500, as Fiat is trying to build 500 into a family of vehicles, much like BMW’s successful Mini brand. 500X will be introduced in the second half of next year and will share its platform with a Jeep vehicle.… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 Midsized SUV segment

Nissan-Qashqai-VW-Tiguan-Kia-Sportage-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The midsized SUV segment remains stable, growing just 1% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year. The fourth largest segment in Europe has a clear number one and number two, but there’s heavy competition for the other places in the top 10.

Soon-to-be-replaced Nissan Qashqai leaves the rest of the industry wondering when its sales momentum will come to an end, but for the first 9 months of 2013, its sales have remained virtually flat. The new generation will be introduced next month, a 7-seater to replace the Qashqai+2 is not planned, as Nissan will replace the body-on-frame X-trail with a crossover that is identical to the US Nissan Rogue, which will cater customers who need more seats. The new design will move X-Trail back up the ladder as well, increasing the Asian stranglehold on the segment.

ford-kuga-mazda-cx-5The new generation Ford Kuga, similar to the US Escape, is unable to match the Korean’s sales pace, while Skoda Yeti should improve on a recent facelift to defend it against new generations of the Japanese competition. Mazda CX-5 is making waves, doubling its sales of last year, while model changes of Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 have brought added interest into their showrooms. By year end, RAV4 will likely have passed CR-V again, as Toyota deliveries gain some momentum.… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 Large SUV segment

hyundai-santa-fe-kia-sorento-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The large SUV segment is following the path of the large MPV segment, decreasing 20% to just below 25.000 units in the first three quarters of 2013, but the premium brands are to thank for that. The premium large SUV segment sells five times the volume of the non-premium brands. While large MPV’s are mainly Europe-only models with the exception of Voyager, for most of the large SUV’s Europe is just an afterthought. More large SUVs are sold in the US and the Arabian Gulf states during a tennis game between President Obama and Secretary General Al Zayani than in 12 months in Europe.

Of the top players in the segment, only Hyundai Santa Fe is able to withstand the slide, with 635 more sales than in the same period last year, thanks to the introduction of the third generation, which is esthetically a huge step forward from the previous versions, which looked like someone had put them in an oven and they melted.

Kia Sorento has never been able to repeat the success of its first generation, due to unmemorable design. Sorento design stands out in the Kia showrooms, but not in a positive way and it is in desperate need of a Peter Schreyer make-over. But then again, could Kia care less about the European performance of Sorento, with 81.380 sales in the United States (-8%) in the first three quarters of 2013 vs. just 6.102 sales in Europe (-27%)?… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 Premium Compact segment

Audi-A3-BMW-1-series-Mercedes-A-Class-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The premium compact car segment in Europe remains the place to be for premium automakers, as the segment grew another 24% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year, totaling over 550.000 units in 9 months, or over 700.000 units when combined with the premium small car segment. New introductions and model changes of the big players make this a very dynamic segment.

The need to look twice to distinguish the new generation from the old generation, hasn’t hurt sales of Audi A3 at all, which has helped it steal the top spot from BMW 1-series. The small Beemer has also been redesigned, but the designers were to obsessed with ensuring it would be a good car, they forgot to make it look any better than the previous model.

Mercedes-Benz has finally got the memo that a premium compact car is bought by accountants, consultants and law firm apprentices instead of elderly people, which caused a 180° U-turn from the MPV-like old A-Class to the sporty hatchback new generation. As a result, the Stuttgart-based brand has finally caught up with its rivals out of München and Ingolstadt in this segment as well. Those in need of a higher seating position will be served by B-Class, while the hip and trendy are now welcome at Mercedes-Benz as well for a mini CLS, called CLA.… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 Premium Midsize segment

bmw-3-series-audi-a4-mercedes-c-class-sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The premium midsized car segment in Europe, let’s call it the account manager segment,  is declining much slower than its non-premium counterpart, down just 8% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year. The new generation of evergreen (or should I say evergrey?) BMW 3-series is to thank for that, increasing its lead over number 2 in the segment from 3.380 units to a crushing 57.065 units. That is including 1.335 sales of the 3-series Coupe replacement BMW 4-series. To be fair, adding A5 sales to A4, BMW would still lead by 16.488 Einheiten.

With every chance to get some flavour into this segment effectively killed by the all-conquering success of glutton BMW 3-series, only its Bavarian rivals Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class manage to sell in volumes worth mentioning, while all others just painfully fail. The German market can be thanked for this, as BMW 3-series, Audi A4/A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class respectively sell 34%, 36% and a whopping 43% of their total European sales at home.… Continue Reading …

European sales Jan-Sep 2013 Premium large car segment

BMW-5-series-Mercedes-E-Class-Audi-A6--sales-europe-jan-sep-2013The premium large car segment in Europe, shows a similar decline to its smaller sister premium midsize, down 8% in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same period last year. But wait, the similarities between the segments don’t end here: there’s 3 Germans on top, first foreigner is a Volvo, and maybe they will have left some crumbs for a few brands who refuse to quit struggling, against better judgment.

BMW 5-series keeps the lead, but barely, with Mercedes-Benz E-Class breathing down its neck. Looks like that € 1 billion Mercedes has spent on the recent facelift is paying off, with an additional 3.449 units sold this year. It has also passed Audi A6 by a large margin, which takes the biggest hit in the segment, losing 17.289 sales compared to last year. A6 is has been introduced in 2011, just like BMW 5-series, so they’re equally “fresh”. Although 5-series (F10) design isn’t exactly heart stopping either, at least it can be held apart from the previous model (E60), the one with the polarizing design. Maybe Audi’s Single Frame Grille has come to the end of its shelf life.… Continue Reading …