November 2016 car sales in Europe are back in the positive after a slight drop the month before. A total of 1.176.026 new passenger cars were registered last month, an increase of 4,7% on the same month last year. That brings the 11-month total to 13.833.784 sales, up 6,5% on the same period last year and less than 300.000 sales from the 2015 full-year score for the 30 countries that make up the EU + EFTA. In other words, 2016 is going to be the third consecutive year of growth for the European car market after hitting rock bottom with less than 12,3 millions sales in 2013. All major markets showed improving sales, with the Southern European leading the way once again: Spain (+13,5%), France (+8,5%) and Italy (+8,2%) were outperforming, while the UK (+2,9%) and Germany (+1,5%) grew slower than the rest of the market. As 12 of the smaller markets grew by double digits (let by Hungary at +42,8%), The Netherlands (-20%) and Bulgaria (-7,1%) were the only losers in November.
Car sales in Europe stabilize in October after a slow but steady rise in the past years. In fact, the 0,6% drop in sales is only the second negative result in 3 years, after last July. A total of 1.133.276 cars were sold this month, which brings the year-to-date figure down to + 6,7% at 12.662.372 sales. October showed mixed results between the markets, with the Southern European countries as the big winners again: Italy (+9,7%) and Spain (+4%), but also the United Kingdom at +1,4%, while Germany (-5,6%) and France (-4%) lose volume. The biggest relative loser is The Netherlands at -22,2%, which is also one of only two countries to be in the red year-to-date, together with Switzerland.
Car sales in Europe continue their slow but steady rise, as a 7% increase in September confirms the July dip was only a slight glitsh and no warning sign of a plateauing market as the US is facing. With 1.489.343 sales, this is the highest September volume for the European market on record and it brings the Year-to-Date figure up 7,5% to 11.529.096 sales. All major markets posted growth, with the Southern European markets at double digit growth again: Italy (+17,4%) and Spain (+13,9%), followed by Germany (+9,4%) and France (+2,5%). Even the UK showed another slight improvement at +1,6% despite the fears that the subsequent price increases after the devaluation of the British Pound and the uncertainty after the Brexit vote would hurt demand in that market. As usual in September (and March), the UK is easily the largest market in Europe as sales in this market are skewed towards these two months thanks to the twice-yearly license place change, this month to the “66” plates.
The UK accounted for almost a third (31,5%) of total sales in the 27 countries of the EU and EFTA in September, while the full-year share ends up at around 18,5 – 19%. That also influences the brands and models ranking, with those that are popular in the UK gaining an advantage over those that are relatively more dependent on mainland Europe. This most notably affects Ford, Opel/Vauxhall, Nissan, the British brands Mini and Jaguar–Land Rover and the German luxury brands to whom the UK is their biggest European market after Germany. Ford and Opel/Vauxhall both sell almost twice as many cars in September than they did in August, while for Mini that ratio is over 2,5 and both Jaguar and Land Rover sell more than 3 times as many units in September compared to August. Nissan moves from 16th place in August to 11th in September and adds more than a percentage point of market share.
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…]
After 33 months of non-stop growth, the European car market’s recovery has come to an end in July 2016, with sales down 2,6% for the month, at 1.147.258 units. After showing impressive growth in the first half of the year, even the Southern European countries see their recovery stall, with increases of just 3% in Italy and 4% in Spain. Surprisingly, UK sales are stable at +0,1% while the German car market contracts 4% and France is down even harder at -10%. Year-to-date, we’re still in positive figures at +7,3% to 9.174.057 sales, although we may finish the year in the red if this trend continues as expected, spurred by the Brexit vote.
If Volkswagen Group was the biggest gaining manufacturer as recently as two months ago in April, its fortunes have changed suddenly, as it is the biggest losing manufacturer in July, down almost 27.500 units of volume on the same month last year. That means VW Group accounts for 89% of the entire market’s lost volume this month. But wait, there’s another big loser in the continent, as PSA lost over 16.000 sales as well, while 13 other manufacturers lose less than 2.000 units and just 8 gain volume this month. The biggest volume gainer is Tata Motors at +4.190 units thanks to gains of both Jaguar and Land Rover, followed by Hyundai-Kia and FCA. Relatively, Tata Motors is the fastest growing manufacturer as well, with a gain of almost 33%, followed by SAIC MG and Suzuki, while Aston Martin, Tesla and Lotus all lose more than 37% on last year. [Read more…]
After car sales in Europe showed signs of a boom in May with an increase of 15%, the growth rate returns to a more modest level in June, up 6,4% to 1.493.929 sales. In the first half of 2016, European car dealers sold 8.026.798 vehicles, 8,8% more than in the same period a year earlier. As in the months before, the fastest growing markets are in the South and East of Europe, with Italy and Spain both showing double digit growth at +11,9% and +11,2% respectively, while Germans bought 8,3% more cars and the French just 0,8%. In the UK, sales were down 0,8%, as private sales dropped in preparation for the Brexit vote in the last week of the month. As a result of that vote, expect the UK market to decline even more for the remainer of the year and to have a negative influence on European car sales in the second half of 2016. In the first half, Italy has grown 19,2% and Spain 12,5%, followed by France (+8,3%), Germany (+7,1%) and the UK (+3,2%), while only The Netherlands (-3,6%) and Switzerland (-2,3%) showed declines.
Once again, Renault-Nissan adds the most volume of all manufacturers, followed by the luxury manufacturers Daimler and BMW, as Volkswagen Group sales are stable and Ford Motor Company, Mitsubishi Motors and PSA lose the most volume. In relative terms, AvtoVAZ is the fastest growing manufacturer for the second month in a row, followed by SAIC MG. These two brands still sell less than 500 units a month so such fluctuations in sales are not that difficult to accomplish, which makes the 43,3% increase at Honda even more impressive. The brand has been struggling for the past few years in Europe with a new product drought which has ended with the (late) introduction of the new Jazz and HR-V, but it will be difficult to return to former glory. The fastest shrinking manufacturers are DRB-Hicom which swings from big winner to big loser every month with its Lotus sports car brand (+34,5% in May, -50% in June), followed by Mitsubishi Motors and Tesla Motors. [Read more…]
In May, automobile sales in Europe recorded their highest monthly growth rate in more than a decade, at just over 15%, which also makes it the 33rd straight month of growth. A total of 1.315.772 sales is also very close to the figure of May 2008, just before the market started its decline from the financial crisis in Europe. The year-to-date figure of 6.532.869 is up 9,5% on the first five months of last year. Again, the Southern European countries are showing the fastest growth rates, at +27,3% in Italy, +22,3% in France and +20,9% in Spain. German car sales were also strong at +11,9%, while the growth in the UK stalled after a few years of robust gains. Analysts expect the Brexit vote to have a negative effect on car sales in the UK, which may result in slower growth of the European market in the second half of 2016. In May, only Switzerland and Ireland showed modest declines.
As a result, manufacturers that are strong in southern countries benefit the most, as Renault-Nissan adds almost as many units as Volkswagen Group, with PSA and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles also adding some good volume. Only three manufacturers lose volume in May: Mitsubishi Motors, Tesla Motors and Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru‘s parent company. Relatively, AvtoVAZ shows the fastest growth from a low base on its new models, which are available in just a handful of European countries so far. Mahindra & Mahindra are still boosted by the resurrection of the SsangYong brand, while Lotus continues to alternate between big gains and big losses from one month to the other. [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…]
Bart and Kriss couldn’t agree on whether the US is ready for a true low-cost car brand, and now they’re locking horns again on whether Volkswagen would benefit from following the highly successful Dacia strategy that has been raking in the profits at Renault.
I just don’t understand why they haven’t done this already. Like with crossovers, Volkswagen has waited too long to follow this trend and has squandered the opportunity to gain a huge volume boost. Not only from the newly-created, low-cost brand itself, but also from sharing the platforms and cost-saving technologies to some of the existing VW Group brands, most notably Skoda and VW itself in regions like South America and China, where it still sold decades-old models under the VW brand until recently. As our reader M. Hoffman commented earlier, last year 46% of worldwide sales of the Renault and Dacia brands combined were Dacia-based models, so they gained huge economies of scale without the need to launch an additional brand in every single market. In markets where Renault was an established brand, like Europe and Mediterranean Africa, Dacia filled the open slot below it, and in markets where Renault was still trying to gain a foothold, like Russia, Asia and South America, the models helped establish Renault as a top player, not necessarily with a budget-brand image.
My big worry is brand-overload over at VW Group. They already have some 12 brands in their portfolio (counting trucks and motorcycles), plus their mainstream offerings (VW, Seat, Škoda) are already rather close and the company seems unable to give them truly different characters. In a sense, the success of Dacia stems from Renault being OK with the cars being no more than acceptable by European standards, at least at first. Somehow, with German perfectionism I don’t see how they could do that – I’m afraid is that they would be unable to position the new brand low enough for it to truly remain a different offering. After all, Škoda started off as a budget offering, but quickly caught up with Seat in terms of quality and is now a mainstream brand that offers good value for money, rather than being a true value brand. [Read more…]
The European car market enjoys its 31st consecutive month of growth in March, but an increase of 6% is the second lowest relative improvement of the last twelve months, just ahead of last October’s +2,9%. This can be partially attributed to Easter falling in March instead of last year’s April, which means we’ve had fewer selling days. On an even more positive note, the 1,7 million sales volume was close to the March 2007 level. As traditional, and as predicted last month, the UK posts a strong volume in March, helped by the twice yearly change to the new license plates, as the UK takes 30% of total EU sales this month, compared to about 18,5% over the course of a full year. UK sales were up 5,3%, while the French car market grew by 7,5% and Italy is still on fire with an increase of 17,4%. Germany is the outsider of the large markets with sales down by less than a tenth of a percent, one of six countries to lose volume.
If Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles was the big winner in February, it keeps doing well in March even though Renault-Nissan adds even more volume. BMW is among the winners this month as well, adding over 12.000 units on the same month last year. On the other side of the spectrum, Mitsubishi continues to lose volume, and is joined by Ford and Tesla this month. At Ford, slowdown of its core hatchback line-up is not offset by growth of its MPV and crossover models, while Tesla suffers from a general slowdown in Norway, its most important market, and from buyers waiting for the updated version of the Model S. [Read more…]