After discussing the April 2017 European car brand sales ranking, let’s take a closer look at which individual models are helping their brand succeed or fail. After the freak event in March, when the Volkswagen Golf was not the best selling car in Europe, things have returned to normal in April, although the Golf is still the biggest loser by far in the top-25 wiht a loss of more than 28% on last year. The Golf lost more sales from April 2016 to April 2017 than its rival Renault Megane sold last month (Golf: -13.831 units). And while the Golf no longer sells double the volume of its nearest competitor, it still has a gap of almost 10.000 sales to the #2, as the entire top-3 is down. One culprit for the Golf’s demise is obvious in 4th place: the success of the Volkswagen Tiguan, up 70% to equal its highest ranking ever. Last month’s leader Ford Fiesta is down to 7th place as it’s payback time for its dependence on the UK market, which was exceptionally strong in March, but exceptionally weak in April. The same can be said of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, down 15% into 8th place. We welcome the Citroën C3 into the top-10 for the first time ever, as it even threatens to outsell its recently acquired stablemate Corsa. The Skoda Octavia is back into the top-10 which means there’s only one crossover in the top-10, as the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Captur are both just outside. The Captur is down 14% but remains ahead of its rivals Peugeot 2008 (#14) and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X (#25), which are both down by single digits as competition in the segment has intensified by the arrival of new players. [Read more…]
The Chinese car market is one of the most diverse in the world, with over 400 locally produced passenger car models from more than 70 domestic and foreign brands. If we include imported vehicles, minivans, pickups and commercial vehicles, there are more than 1.000 different models available. In the March 2017 sales ranking, we welcome 11 new models: 6 crossovers, a sedan, a hatchback and an EV version of an existing crossover. In the April 2017 sales ranking, we welcome 9 new models: 5 crossovers, 1 MPV and 3 sedans (of which 2 EVs).
After a successful launch of its first crossover, the Roewe RX5, SAIC launches its first sedan with its new corporate design, and it immediately is one of the most mature looking Chinese sedans on the market. Gone are all the frivolous shapes and shiny chrome accents, well except for the grille, that is. You could almost call it boring. The i6 launches in one of the most difficult segments in China, that of affordable compact sedans, but still a segment with a lot of potential. Power comes from either a 1,0T three-cylinder with 125hp/170Nm mated to a 6MT or 7DCT gearbox or a 1,5T with 170hp/250Nm also mated to a 6MT or 7DCT gearbox. A PHEV version named i6e will follow soon, powered by a 1-liter three-cylinder withh 125hp and a 82hp electric motor. Dimensions are 4.671/1.835/4.460mm with a wheelbase of 2.715mm. [Read more…]
The Chinese car market is fluctuating in the first four months of 2017: After a stable January, a promising 20% gain in February 2017 and a modest growth of 2,9% in March, April sales are down 2,2% again, for a total of 1,68 million units. Of course, this is still the second-best ever April figure, and the YTD total now stands at 7,54 million, an increase of 3,8% on the first four months of 2016. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate stands at 21,4 million in April, the lowest figure in the past 12 months. Sales of vehicles with engines of 1,6 liters or less fell 10% to 1.14 million, after the central government phased out a tax break on these models at the beginning of this year. SUVs and crossovers are once again the main (and only) winners in April with sales up 10% to 674.000 units, while sedans sales decline for the second consecutive month at -7,3% to 840.000 sales and MPVs lose volume for the fourth month in a row at -15% to 153.000. New Engergy vehicle sales improved 7,9% to 34.300 units, as EV sales gained 19% to 28.500 units but PHEVs plunged 27% to 5.800 sales. The share of domestic automakers dipped below 42% for the first time since last August as they benefitted the most from the tax cut on small vehicles.
After discussing the April 2016 European car brand sales figures, let’s look at the model level which cars are selling well in Europe. Despite the increased competition from the new generations Opel/Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane, and despite VW having been discredited by the diesel scandal affair, the Volkswagen Golf manages to continue improving, albeit slower than the overall market. The Golf’s strength can partially be explained by its solid reputation as a company car, and the subsequent preferential treatment the VW brand gets with the Golf and Passat when companies buy or lease new vehicles for their employees. They have decades of recognizable and inoffensive (some would say: boring) design to thank for that. The Renault Clio manages to grab 2nd place as it did exactly one year ago, ahead of 4 subcompact rivals, of which the facelifted Peugeot 208 shows the biggest improvement, while the YTD #2 Ford Fiesta is starting to show its age.
The Skoda Octavia jumps from 14th in March to 7th in April, followed by the Passat and the Astra, both with the exact same number of sales. That leaves the Ford Focus to complete the top-10. The Renault Captur keeps improving and consolidates its leadership of the fast-growing small crossover segment, with the Peugeot 2008 now in 2nd place (#17 overall), ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka (#24). The Nissan Qashqai drops out of the top-10 at #14 with the Hyundai Tucson closing in at #23 and the Kia Sportage at #25. The Renault Kadjar can’t keep up with the South Korean cousins and has to make do with 35th place, and that’s before the new generation Volkswagen Tiguan (#29) is fully available. Volkswagen’s new Touran hits the spot with a 38th place, ahead of the Citroën C4 Picasso in 39th, while the soon to be replaced Renault Scenic (#50) is also outsold by the Volkswagen Sportsvan and BMW 2-series Active Tourer (#47 and #48). [Read more…]
April 2016 marks the 32nd consecutive month of growth for car sales in Europe. At +8,9%, European car dealers sold 1.308.891 passenger cars, making it the best April since 2009 and bringing the year-to-date figure to 5.217.097, an increase of 8,1%. Of the five major markets, Spain is the most dynamic with a growth of 21,2%. Italy, which was the fastest growing market in the first few months and even outsold France in January and February, sees its growth slow down to a still very healthy +11,5%. Germany (+8,4%), France (+7,1%) and the UK (+2%) are in single digit growth, while Switzerland is the only country of the EU28 to lose volume in April, at -1%.
Volkswagen Group is back as the manufacturer adding the most volume, despite growing slower than the overall market. All of it volume brands showed volume gains, but only Audi and Porsche added market share. The performance of Daimler AG is more impressive, with an increase of 21,6% as Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW and reduced the gap to Audi by more than half. FCA passed Ford Motor Corporation thanks to strong volume gains at Fiat, Jeep and even Lancia, despite the latter being down to a single model in a single market. There are no big volume losers in April, with Mitsubishi Motors the biggest of them at -565 units, followed by Aston Martin and Tesla, both down just a handful of units. [Read more…]
Car sales in China are up 8,3% in April after a 12% increase in March. With almost 1,7 million sales of locally produced models, the market has almost doubled since 2010. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate is 21 million in April, the first time ever the SAAR has topped 20 million units four months in a row. Year to date, the growth of the Chinese car market is 8,9% to 7,1 million units. After enjoying record shares of over 43% in January and February, local brands are down to 38,8% of sales, still slightly above the full year 2015 figure, but indicating the foreign brands are fighting back for their piece of the world’s largest car market. The impressive surge of SUVs is also slightly slowing, but still very impressive at +33,3% to 610.000 sales, while MPVs improve at half that speed with an increase of 16,7% to 182.000 sales and sedans are still down, this time losing 2,5% to 905.000 sales. The Chinese market is not only impressive in terms of volume, but also in terms of the number of models: 415 different locally produced models of passenger cars were sold in April, of which 7 all-new nameplates. When including imported models, pick-up trucks and minivans, the number will almost reach a dizzying 1.000 different nameplates.
The big event this month is the new best seller on top of the rankings. After another price cut of 10%, inspired by increasing competition from most notably the Baojun 560, the Haval H6 saw its sales surge 43% to 43.946 units, overtaking both the perennial best seller Wuling Hongguang MPV and the Volkswagen Lavida sedan, even when sales of the Gran Lavida hatchback are combined with those of the sedan. This means China’s best selling SUV is now also China’s best selling passenger car overall for the first time ever. Year-to-date, the Hongguang still holds that title, but the Great Wall SUV brand has picked up the gauntlet to challenge its dominance. The Baojun 560 in its turn is down into 9th place vs. #4 year-to-date, and is even outsold by its rival GAC Trumpchi GS4 for the first time since the 560’s launch last July. [Read more…]
Automakers keep launching new models onto the Chinese market at lightning pace. After a whopping 12 new models in March, the number of newcomers stood at 7 in April. In the first four months of 2016 already 28 new models have entered the Chinese car market.
The best selling newcomer in April was the Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan with 3.659 sales. In Europe, this is a competitor to the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer, which was launched in China a month earlier, but the starting price of the Sportsvan is 105.000 Yuan lower than that of the 2-Series at 131.900 Yuan vs. 236.900 Yuan (€ 17.900,- vs. € 32.200,-). With such a price differential, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the VW selling more in its first month of sales than the BMW in its first two months. The Golf Sportsvan is sold in China with a 1.6-liter engine, a 1.2-liter turbo and two 1.4-liter turbocharged engines.
Plagued brand Lifan has a desperately needed success with the launch of the Maiwei (“MyWay”), selling 2.342 units of the new 7-seater SUV in its first month, making it the best selling model for the brand by far, as none of Lifan’s other models sell over 1.000 units. The Maiwei therefore already comprises 44% of Lifan brand sales, a figure that is highly likely to grow further in coming months, a similar trend we’ve seen with so many small local manufacturers after launching an affordable SUV (it costs significantly less than the price differential between the 2-Series Active Tourer and the Golf Sportsvan in China). However, the Maiwei has been unable to stop total sales of the brand from plummeting: even with the successful launch, Lifan sales are down 63% on April 2015 (YTD: -74%), as the rest of its line-up loses almost 80%, and its other two crossovers have suffered the hardest. The Maiwei is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter four cylinder engine. [Read more…]
After exploring the April 2015 auto brands sales, we’ll take a closer look at the most successful car models in Europe. Naturally, the Volkswagen Golf is still Europe’s best selling model, but its sales are down year-on-year for the first time in 20 months, as the new 7th generation Golf is starting to mature. An amazing performance of the Renault Clio in second place, outselling its rivals Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and Opel/Vauxhall Corsa by a large margin thanks to sales up 15,5%. This moves the Clio not far behind the Fiesta in the year-to-date ranking, giving it a shot at the #2 position by year-end, especially considering the Fiesta is starting to show its age. The Clio is in no way cannibalized by the introduction of the Captur small crossover two years ago, which continues its winning streak, improving another 20% on last year.
The Ford Focus hold on to the sixth place it already held last month, confirming the facelift is well-accepted by European car buyers. The Focus should be able to move into that same position by the end of the year, passing the Nissan Qashqai. Behind the compact Ford, the Volkswagen Passat returns to the top-10 for the first time since November 2012, while the Passat’s main rival the all-new Ford Mondeo is starting to gain traction, closing in on the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia, but still a long way from threatening the Passat, which sells almost triple its volume. [Read more…]
In the first quarter of 2015, the year-over-year growth of the car market accelerated every month, but that streak ended in April, when car sales increased “just” 6,5% to 1,2 million units, taking the year-to-date improvement to 7,85% and 4.822.477 units. Still, it’s the 20th straight month of improvement, although the climb is much less steep than in the US, where the car market has already recovered to pre-crisis levels. All major markets contributed to the expansion, with huge differences between markets, as Italy grew explosively at +24,2% but France up a mere 2,3%.
Renault-Nissan continues its stellar performance, adding the most volume in April and also passing Volkswagen Group to become the biggest gaining manufacturer year-to-date. FCA also improved greatly, thanks to the expansion of its home market Italy, but also thanks to overall excellent results for Fiat (thanks to the 500X) and especially Jeep, while the Alfa Romeo and Lancia brands continued to lose volume.
The fastest growing manufacturers are the ones with a low volume base, like DRB-Hicom thanks to the resurrection of Lotus, followed by Tesla Motors and surprisingly Lada, which has recently resumed sales in the Czech Republic and Hungary. [Read more…]
By now you’re used to my monthly updates on European car sales, and from now on I’ll be keeping you up-to-date on monthly car sales in China as well. You can also use the dropdown menu at the top right of this website to find brand-specific and model-specific auto sales in China of every model and brand since 2003. Keep in mind, the data I use is only comprised of locally produced models and excludes imported models.
After showing double-digit growth for decades, the growth of the Chinese car market seems to have slowed down in 2015. Mind you, this doesn’t indicate the market is shrinking, it merely indicates the growth rate is tempering to a more modest speed. However, after growing 13,55% in the first quarter of 2015, April growth has thawed to only 8,1%, almost half the growth rate of last April and a record low for the once-booming Chinese car market. When including imported models, the picture is even bleaker: +3,7% in April.
And while domestic carmakers have been losing market share at home for a few years now, April 2015 marks a slowdown of both imports and of foreign models locally built by the Joint Ventures the foreign carmakers have set up with their local partners. This phenomenon can be explained by two trends: [Read more…]