After looking at the August 2017 car brand sales in Europe, let’s zoom in on individual model sales figures. The major thing to notice in the top-3 is the arrival of the Skoda Octavia behind the usual suspects VW Golf and Renault Clio. If last month the Octavia set a new personal best ranking with a 4th place, it immediately breaks that record in August, landing on the European podium for the first time since the nameplate’s was launched in 1996. The facelift with the double headlights must really have struck a chord with European buyers. In fourth place, the Volkswagen Tiguan equals the record ranking it also hit last April, and it’s Europe’s best selling crossover for the third time this year after April and January, and for the sixth time ever, after August, October and November of 2016. But wait, there’s one more record breaker in the top-5: the Dacia Sandero climbs two more spots on the personal best it set last month and is in the European top-5 for the first time ever. This also makes it a Renault-Dacia 1-2 in the subcompact car segment, as the Sandero outsells overall top-5 regulars like the Volkswagen Polo (#6), Opel/Vauxhall Corsa (#8) and Ford Fiesta (down to a record low of 32nd place), as well as other rivals like the Peugeot 208 (#9) and Toyota Yaris (#10). Granted, the Polo and Fiesta suffer from model change-overs and the Corsa is getting a bit long in the tooth, but that still doesn’t really discount the Sandero’s top performance with a gain of 23,3%. [Read more…]
European car sales are up by 6% in August 2017, the largest year-over-year increase in the last 3 months, and the fourth straight month of growth for the European market. August being the traditional holdiday month for Europeans, especially those in the South, it’s by far the slowest month of the year in terms of volume. Just 893.000 cars were registered in August 2017, more than a million fewer than last March. The year-to-date figure now stands at 10,54 million sales, up 4,1% on the first eight months of 2016. Among the five biggest markets, Italy (+15,8%) and Spain (+13%) showed the strongest improvements, as France (+9,4%) also outgrew the market, and Germany (+3,5%) improved at a lower pace, but the United Kingdom (-6,4%) is once again going in the opposite direction. Including the smaller markets, Lithuania (+34,4%) and neighbouring Latvia (+25,8%) showed the strongest growth, split by Iceland (+28,8%). Besides the UK, other markets in a negative trend are Ireland (-21,3%), Denmark (-12,1%), Cyprus (-10%), Belgium (-8,1%) and Romania (-3,3%).
Renault-Nissan is the biggest gaining manufacturer for the first time since last March, although the company has held on to its top spot in the year-to-date rankings ever since. In August, Renault-Nissan’s gain is more than 10.000 sales ahead of the next best performer, Volkswagen Group, while Daimler AG is not far behind the latter, leaving last month’s big winner Toyota Motor Company off the podium this month. In terms of relative growth, Aston Martin doubles up for the second consecutive month, while the two Chinese manufacturers SAIC and Geely also outperform. SAIC’s MG brand comes from a low base, selling just a few hundred cars a month in the UK only, while Geely benefits from its investments in the Swedish Volvo brand and the small British Lotus sportscar brand.
The Chinese car market grows for the third consecutive month in August 2017, with a 6,5% increase to 1,87 million sales. That brings the year-to-date total to almost 14,5 million sales, an increase of 3,7% on the same period in 2016. Looking at the final four months of last year, they were exceptionally good in terms of sales volume due to the pending reduction of the tax cut on small vehicles (engines of less than 1,6 liters). The tax, which was temporarily halved to 5%, increased to 7,5% on Jan. 1st 2017 and will return to its normal rate of 10% on Jan. 1st 2018. This may give the Chinese car market another boost in the final few months of this year, but will it be enough to keep the market from decreasing for the first time in a couple of decades? The year-end rally in 2016 pulled forward a lot of sales, which translated in a slow start of 2017 and that may be difficult to make up in the final few months of the year. Back to August: crossovers and SUVs continue their boom with an 18% increase to 760.700 sales, but for only the second time this year, after February, sedan sales also improved, up 4% to 954.800 units. The MPV segment remains weak with a decline of 19% to 155.200 sales. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a impressive improvement of 76% in August, to almost 68.000 sales. EVs were responsible for most of that growth, as sales increased 96% to 56.000, compared to a 22% increase for PHEVs, to 12.000. These figures add up to 260.000 EV and 59.000 PHEV sales in China so far this year, an increase of 30% on the first 8 months of 2016 and 2,2% of the overall market. The Beijing government has set a target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that will be imposed in 2018.
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in August stood at 24,9 million, the highest since last January and up almost a million on July. The share of domestic automakers in August was 38,5%, the lowest figure in the past 13 months and down from 39,15% in August 2016. However, it’s worth noting that the share of domestic brands in the crossover segment is an impressive 56%. Despite their success in this hot segment, sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments trailed the market growth at +4,7%, though still beat the US brands at +2,8% and the South-Korean brands at -27,2%, their lowest rate of decline since last February. With European brands up 8,7%, most of the growth in China came from Japanese brands at +25,3%.
After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for August, let’s take a closer look at the models ranking.
The Top 10 this year has been the setting of many fascinating battles. First, there is the battle of the Large Pickups, a battle which Ford F-series remains firmly in control of despite a wobbly start to the year, with sales up 15.0% in August alone. Following the Ford are Chevrolet Silverado and Ram Pickup, with the Ram putting in some good performances earlier this year, outselling its rival for three straight months March through May and coming to within 5,000 cars in the YTD total at the end of that period, but the Chevy regaining initiative since then to widen the YTD sales gap to over 35,000 units by the end of August. August growth stats reflect this clearly: sales for the Chevy are up 3.9%, while for the Ram they are down 6.5%, the largest drop in 12 months.
The decline in the US car market continued with a 1.6% decline in sales, despite August this year having one more sales day than last year. Despite the fact that some of the fall may be attributed to the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US towards the end of the month, it is clear that the market is not going to pick up anytime soon. The poor performance in August caused the SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) figure to drop to 16.13 million vehicles, the lowest figure in over three years.
After discussing the August 2016 European car brand sales ranking, let’s take a look at how sales of individual models compare. The first thing to notice in the model ranking is that Volkswagen has no less than 4 models in the top-10 for the first time ever, thanks to a record 6th place for the new generation Tiguan, the best selling crossover in Europe for the first time as well. This more than makes up for the double digit losses of the #1 and #2 in the ranking: the Golf and Polo. Another interesting peculiarity worth mentioning is that there are less than 1.000 sales between the #2 and #6 in the ranking, indicating how competitive this month has been. If in May the traditional leader VW Golf was followed by no less than 5 subcompact cars, in August that figure is down to 2, with the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta being followed by the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Skoda Octavia and VW Tiguan, which all outsell the Peugeot 208, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and Renault Clio. Especially the latter has a month to quickly forget, with sales down 30% and its lowest ranking in 4 years, while the Octavia easily hits its highest ranking of the year. [Read more…]
The European car market started the second half of 2016 on a negative note when a 34-month winning streak came to an abrupt end in July, but we’re back into positive territory in August. This is traditionally the weakest month of the year in volume terms because of the summer holidays, but sales increased 8,2% on the year before, to 842.696 vehicles. Among the major markets, the Southern European countries led the way again, with Italy (+20,1%) and Spain (+14,6%) showing double digit growth, compared to single digits for Germany (+8,3%), France (+6,7%) and the UK (+3,3%), the latter despite fears that Brexit may cause sales to fall in the second half of the year. The year-to-date figure is pulled up by the strong result in August, we’re now at +7,4% to just over 10 million sales, with only Switzerland and The Netherlands in the red.
Volkswagen Group took a big hit in July but recovers in August, adding the most volume of any manufacturer, followed by Renault-Nissan and Daimler AG, while Geely (Volvo) loses the most volume during the changeover from the successful V70 to the new S90/V90. Mitsubishi Motors, Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru) and Aston Martin are the only other manufacturers to lose volume in August. [Read more…]
The Chinese car market continues its booming growth rate when compared to the depressed figures of last year after the collapse of the domestic stock market. 2015 car sales would recover sharply in the last quarter after the government subsidized sales of small vehicles by halving the purchase tax on vehicles with engines of 1.6 liters and lower to 5 percent. That means it is unlikely Chinese car sales will keep up this growth rate for the coming months. In August, 1,76 million domestically produced passenger cars were sold in China, an increase of 27,8% for a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate of 23,2 million units, the highest since January. Year-to-date, Chinese car buyers have bought nearly 14 million locally produced cars, an increase of 14% over the first eight months of last year. Unsurprisingly, sales of SUVs and crossovers fueled the market, up 44% to 654.100 units, followed by MPV sales at +36% to 180.400. Even sedan sales showed impressive growth in August, albeit slower than the overall market. Still, a 20% improvement is the best we’ve seen in months, which translates into 916.200 sales. Local brands make a nice rebound with a 39,2% share of the market, the highest figure since Q1. Year-to-date, almost 40% of the cars sold in China wore a badge from a domestic brand, still two points above the full-year 2015 figure and the highest it’s ever been.
After exploring the auto brands sales for August 2015, let’s look at individual car model sales in Europe. After VW managed to place three models in the July top-5, it does even better in August, with the Skoda Octavia making it 4 Volkswagen Group vehicles in the top-5 ranking. This time, the Renault Clio impressively adds 23,7% to last year’s volume to take the second place in the models ranking behind the Volkswagen Golf, and ahead of the Polo and Passat. The latter showing the highest gain of the top-10 at +45,6%, while the Octavia reaches its highest ranking in almost 2 years.
The Ford Fiesta is expectedly weak in 6th place in August as UK consumers, who buy more than 40% of all European Fiestas, await the new 65 license plate series to be introduced in September. Therefore, expect the Fiesta to be back firmly in 2nd place next month, reaffirming that same position in the YTD rankings. Meanwhile, the facelifted Peugeot 208 reaches its highest ranking in 11 months in 7th place, ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Astra in 8th place, its highest ranking in almost 2 years, and ahead of its sibling Opel/Vauxhall Corsa for the first time since July 2013. The Astra benefits from sell-out pricing of the outgoing model, which puts it at a transaction price close to that of the Corsa, which may explain the sharp drop in that model’s sales. The Corsa is equaled in sales by its Czech rival Skoda Fabia for a shared 10th place, an absolute record for that nameplate and also the first time ever that Skoda places two models in the European top-10. [Read more…]
August is traditionally the slowest month of the year for car sales due to the summer holidays, and with just under 778.500 units it is down by a third on July. When compared to August 2014, car sales are actually up 11,3%, which is the third highest increase so far this year. As a result, year-to-date volume is up to 9.328.003 units, an increase of 8,4%, the highest improvement it has been so far in 2015.
If you’re wondering if Volkswagen has been hurt by the emission scandal in the US and the subsequent stop-sale of its diesel-powered vehicles in a few European markets, it will be hard to tell from its August sales figures, as these events didn’t take place until the last week of the month. We’ll have to wait for the September figures to give a substantiated verdict, but so far we can only claim that VW has the smallest increase of the top-15 brands in August at +3,4%, while Renault is the fastest growing brand of the top-15 at +20,3% thanks to showing the biggest volume increase of all brands, followed by Opel/Vauxhall and BMW.
However, not all is well at Renault, because its budget brand Dacia, which was a regular member of the fastest growing brands group in the first half of this year, is the biggest volume loser for the second month in a row, losing 2.300 units on August of last year as the new generations of the Sandero and Logan and the facelifted Duster are starting to lose their freshness. DS and Honda are also among the biggest losers, albeit with much smaller losses of less than 600 units each. [Read more…]