Sales of compact cars in the United States are down by a worrying 16% in 2019, and the segment is down 1.6 percentage points of share of the total US car market, to 9.7%. It now holds 35% of the sedan market in the US, down from 36.8% in 2018. The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla consolidate their leadership thanks to stable sales while their closest two rivals both see their sales drop by double digits. The Civic and Corolla are now not only the only two nameplates to sell over 300,000 cars each, but also the only ones to sell over 200,000 cars, with the Nissan Sentra and Hyundai Elantra both dropping below that threshold as both are down by 13%. The Civic and Corolla together hold 38% of the compact car segment (39.7% of non-luxury compact cars), up from 32% in 2018. We lose three members of the 100k sales club, as the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze have been killed by their manufacturers and the Kia Forte dropped below that mark despite falling slower than the overall segment. We do welcome a returning member after a 1-year absence with the Jetta back above 100,000 sales again, allowing it to jump from 8th in 2018 to 5th in 2019. [Read more…]
The subcompact car segment in the United States saw a decline of 6% in sales in 2019, as it now holds just 2% of the overall car market and 7.3% of the overall market for sedans. The class leader Kia Soul consolidates its position as it moves with the segment at -6% while its closest rival Nissan Versa is down by double that at -12% as it’s preparing for a new model generation. The Ford Fiesta, in its last full year on the North American market, shows a 16% gain as dealers are discounting to move them off their lots. [Read more…]
Despite the low fuel prices and all the talk about Americans buying fewer cars, especially small cars, the minicar segment in the United States has managed to actually grow in 2019, showing a 6% increase to over 80,000 sales, which means it still holds a tiny share of 0.5% of the total US car market. The two best selling nameplates in the segment happened to be the only two to improve their sales volume, and both did so by double digits, while the remaining three all lost by double digits. [Read more…]
After looking at the 2019 Chinese car market including sales by brand, let’s look at the models ranking. China is one of the world’s most diverse markets, with 95 different brands (excluding the makers of cheap Low-Speed Electric Vehicles) selling nearly 600 models in 2019, of which 100 sold fewer than 1.000 units last year, and half sold fewer than 10.000 units, while only one model managed to sell over half a million cars in 2019. [Read more…]
The Chinese car market has declined every single month in 2019, which means it has continued its losing streak to 18 consecutive months. One little ray of hope is that December 2019 showed the lowest rate of declines of the streak at -0,9%, and all the double digit losses were limited to the first half of the year. A grand total of 21,07 million passenger cars were delivered to Chinese dealers in China in 2019, which is 9,5% lower than 2018 and 13,4% lower than the peak of 24,3 million in 2017. These figures exclude commercial vehicles, minivans and imported cars and reflect wholesale deliveries from the factory to the dealers. In the short term, the Beijing government is not planning any incentives to prop up the market, but it has ended its reduction of subsidies on one of the fastest growing segments of the Chinese car market: that of EVs and plug-in hybrids. Rather, the government seems to see this market contraction as an excellent opportunity to consolidate the market as (too) small players will be forced to close down or be taken over, while the larger state-owned carmakers also feel extra pressure to merge their operations and cut loss-making domestic brands. Also, China’s central government has pressured most major cities and provinces to adopt State 6 emissions rules (which are similar to the Euro 6 standards) on July 1, which caused local dealerships to offer steep discounts on vehicles that didn’t meet these standards. This is one of the reasons why wholesales have reduced their decline in the second half.
A lot of analysts had predicted US car sales to dip below 17 million in 2019, but the market proved stronger than expected and has scored a fifth consecutive year above that symbolic 17 million mark, despite a 1.2% drop in sales. As has been the trend in recent years, sales of car models (sedans, hatchbacks, wagons, coupes and convertibles) declined, as they showed an 11.7% drop to a record low share of 27.8% of the total market, while truck sales (crossovers, SUVs, pickups, minivans and vans) were up 2.7% to a record 72.2% of the market. Japanese brands were the biggest losers at -2.9% but still hold 37.2% combined market share, the lowest it has been since 2015. American brands also struggled (-2.1%) to a share of 44.9% the third-ever lowest share after 2012 and 2017. European brands were up 1.2% to a share of 9.6%, the highest since 2013. Korean brands were the big winners in 2019, gaining 4.6% to a market share of 7.8%, the highest since 2016 but still a full percentage point below its peak in 2011. [Read more…]
In November 2019, car sales in Europe marked a third consecutive month of growth, preparing to finish the year with an increase if December is up by 3,7% or more. And considering December 2018 showed a WLTP-induced dip of 8,6%, that is very likely to happen. European consumers and businesses have taken delivery of 14,39 million cars in the first 11 months of 2019, a decrease of just a quarter of a percent. Of the five major EU countries, only the UK posted a sales decrease in November (-1,3%), while Germany (+9,7%), Spain (+2,3%), Italy (+2,2%) and France (+0,7%) showed strength. Year-to-date, the picture is less positive, (-5,7%) and the United Kingdom (-2,7%) in the red the most while Germany (+3,9%) is the only large market that recorded growth so far in 2019.
In October 2019, European car sales continue to recover from their WLTP induced dip last year, with a 9,6% increase in sales, after a 7,1% drop in October 2018. This brings the year-to-date tally almost back into the positive at -0,7%. Like last month, VW Group and Renault-Nissan are the big winners compared to last year, because they were also the big losers a year ago, being least prepared for the WLTP fuel efficiency and emissions testing procedure that kicked in at September 1st, 2018. Almost all EU countries posted increases in October, with the exception of Cyprus and the UK. Four of the five major EU markets showed strong improvements, with Germany (+12,7%), France (+8,7%), Italy (+6,7%) and Spain (+6,3%) in recovery mode, while deliveries in the UK were down 6.7% on Brexit-related uncertainties.
EV and PHEV sales in Europe continue to break records in 2019 with a 38% increase to nearly 383.000 sales of plug-in vehicles in the first three quarters of the year, of which more than 257.500 full electric cars and over 125.000 plug-in hybrid cars. Sales of the former almost doubled at +93% while PHEV sales were actually down at -13%. The latter is a result of the new WLTP fuel efficiency cycle and new, tougher government incentive requirements in some countries, which PHEVs only qualify if they have an electric range of at least 50km. If in 2018 battery electric cars outsold PHEVs for the first time, in the first three quarters of 2019 more than twice as many EVs were delivered than plug-in hybrids. Plug-in vehicles accounted for 3,2% of the European car market, up from 2,2% in the full year 2018.
- Segment up 8% YTD, gains 0,2 percentage points to now hold 1,8% of the European new car market
- BMW X5 untouchable, best performer in the top-3 at +27% and the only nameplate to sell over 10k units per quarter
- VW Group best selling manufacturer YTD with 31,6% share ahead of BMW Group with 18,1% and Jaguar-Land Rover with 18% and Daimler with just 13%
- The Volvo XC90 in 3rd place in Q3 but returns to 2nd place YTD ahead of the Range Rover Sport, just when the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE outsold the XC90 to grab the #2 spot for the quarter
- The VW Touareg outsells the RR Sport as well in Q3 to take the fourth place it also holds YTD
- Audi places no less than 3 nameplates in the YTD top-8 with the e-Tron as best seller in overall 7th place in Q3, followed by the Q7 and the Q8, which is still the brand’s best seller for the year
- The renewed Porsche Cayenne outsold all three Audis in Q3 but is still behind for the first three quarters
- The Range Rover is knocked down 2 spots in the YTD ranking to #10, just ahead of its stablemate Land Rover Discovery, one of the biggest losers of the segment, together with the Q7 and the Tesla Model X
- The Mercedes-Benz G-Class manages to hold on to its 12thplace YTD with sales up 55% thanks to the new generation
- The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and BMW X6 are simultaneous high double digit losers this year, as victims of the fresher Audi Q8
- The BMW X7 outsells its rival Mercedes-Benz GLS by a huge margin, taking a 16th place in the third quarter.