EV and PHEV sales in Europe continue to break records in 2019 with a 64% increase to nearly 565,000 sales of plug-in vehicles, which is 3.6% of the total European car market, up from 2.2% in 2018. Of this, full electric cars make up 361,000 sales, up 90% on the previous year, which gives them a 2.3% share of the car market. PHEV sales are up 31% to 203,000 units, which is a share of 1.3%. These figures are only set to improve significantly again in 2020 as the new average fleet emissions quota of 95 grams per kilometer are virtually impossible to be reached for any brand without plug-in vehicles which will be counted double towards the fleet average.
Sales of large SUVs in Europe are up 12% in 2019 to nearly 334,000 sales, 2.1% of the total European car market (up from 1.9% in 2018). This is the segment’s second best year in the last decade, behind the 344,000 sales in 2016 but still far below 2006 and 2007 when over half a million large SUVs were sold annually in Europe and when both the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and BMW X5 both sold over 50,000 units a year. In 2019, no large SUV is above that level, with the X5 thanks to the new generation up 46% to 44,700 sales, which gives it a sizeable lead over the Volvo XC90, which is down 4% to below 30,000 sales. The Range Rover Sport is up 6% and the Volkswagen Touareg is up an impressive 60% as both models leapfrog the Mercedes-Benz GLE, down 2% despite a new generation. This is the Touareg’s highest annual sales volume in over a decade, but still far below its record of nearly 45,000 sales in 2005.
The midsized crossover segment in Europe is up 8% in 2019 to 872,500 sales, or 5.6% of the total European car market (up from 5.2% in 2018). Like the midsized car segment, this is the smallest class where luxury brands outsell their mainstream rivals, at 58.9% share of the midsized crossover class, down from 64.3% in 2018 due to some impressive gains from the top mainstream models. In 2018 the two best selling midsized crossovers were luxury models, but the Mercedes-Benz GLC is now down to third place overall and the Volvo XC60 is down to fifth place overall. The Toyota RAV4 grabs the top spot with sales up 33% to almost 92,000 thanks to the new generation and popularity of the hybrid version. However, this is not even the RAV4’s best year in Europe, it was above 100k in 2004 and 2006. The Skoda Kodiaq, without any apparent reason, is up 38% to a new annual sales record for the nameplate at over 88,500 sales, jumping above 10% share. The best selling mainstream model of 2018 Peugeot 5008 is down 3% and into 6th place overall, while the Mitsubishi Outlander also sets a new annual sales record, with a record take rate of 81.2% for the PHEV version.
Sales of compact crossovers in Europe are up 11% in 2019 to 2.36 million, which makes this the fourth largest segment at 15% of the total European car market. This segment has doubled in the last three years and tripled in the last eight years. Big event at the top of the ranking: for the first time since its launch in 2007, the Nissan Qashqai is not the best selling compact crossover in Europe due to a 5% drop in sales while its rival Volkswagen Tiguan gains 6% on 2018, which allows it to claim the segment lead for the first time ever. One caveat to this claim: VW doesn’t publish split figures for the standard Tiguan and the 3-row midsized Tiguan Allspace, which we estimate at 15% of the nameplate’s total. And while the Qashqai lost its crown, 2019 still marks the 10th consecutive year of 200,000+ sales and a new generation will be launched in 2020. The Peugeot 3008 drops below the 200k mark after one year but holds its third place.
The small crossover and SUV segment is the third largest segment in Europe, behind the subcompact and compact cars, and ahead of the compact crossovers. Sales were up 16% in 2019 to 2.4 million, which is 15.3% of the European car market and just a quarter million sales behind compact cars, which means small crossovers could become the second largest segment in Europe in 2020 if the current momentum is maintained, which is very likely to happen. Only one nameplate in the top-10 doesn’t set a new annual sales record and two of the top-4 models have just been renewed and a number of plug-in hybrid and EV versions will arrive in 2020. After the Dacia Duster surprisingly claimed the top spot after three quarters in 2019, the Renault Captur struck back in Q4 to reclaim the segment crown it has held ever since its first full year of sales 2014. The Captur appears unhindered by a model changeover in Q4 as sales of the outgoing generation have remained flat while the new model is responsible for the additional sales and will reach its full potential only in 2020. An optional plug-in hybrid version should help the segment leader defend its top spot even better this year.
Sales of large MPVs in Europe have stabilized at their lowest level in at least two decades but possibly since its inception in the early 1980s. 2019 sales are up 400 units on 2018 which was the absolute rock bottom at 91,700 annual sales. Just 8 years ago in 2011 the two best selling large MPVs Ford S-Max and VW Sharan sold a combined 93,700 units and the entire segment sold almost twice the volume of 2018 and 2019. In 2003 it was triple the size. In the models ranking, the oldest models are outperforming the rest of the segment, as the VW Group twins Seat Alhamba and Volkswagen Sharan are the two best performers, up 8% and up 10% respectively. That allows the Alhambra to reclaim the segment lead from the Ford S-Max, down 4%. As a result, VW Group improves its share of the segment to 50.5%, up from 46.6% in 2018, while Ford’s share is down from 38.8% to 38.3%. [Read more…]
The midsized MPV segment in Europe continues its decline in 2019 at -16% to 489,000 sales, a record low and just 3.1% of the overall European car market, down from 3.9% in 2018. In 2008 just the top-3 models (Scenic, C4 Picasso and Zafira) sold a combined 500,000 units and the entire segment was over 1 million sales and in 2005 just the top-2 models (Scenic and Zafira) sold as many units as the entire segment now. The Scenic has its lowest annual sales since its launch in 1997 at just 76,000 deliveries, keeping it just ahead of the Volkswagen Touran, the segment best seller in 2016 and 2017.
Sales of limousines in Europe were down 6% in 2019 to just over 41,000 sales which makes this the second consecutive year of decline for the segment but the annual volume is still above that from 2008 to 2016. Traditional leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class is down a harsh 26% and is in danger of losing its top spot to the BMW 7-Series in 2020 as the S-Class will get a redesign this year while the 7 is still fresh from a facelift and has the momentum, having outsold its rival in Q4. The last two times the BMW limousine finished on top were in 2009 when its previous generation was just launched the year before and the Mercedes was facelifted and in 2012 just before the current S-Class was launched. In third place we find the Porsche Panamera for the third consecutive year, down 11% and outsold in Q4 by the BMW 8-Series, of which the Gran Coupe hasn’t even started customer deliveries. This makes the 8 a real contender for the segment podium, unless Porsche can deliver enough Taycan EVs in 2020.
Sales of large cars in Europe were down 13% in 2019 to 362,300 units, a new record low annual volume for this class, which now accounts for 2.3% of the total European car market, down from 2.7% in 2018. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the only nameplate to sell over 100,000 units in 2019 despite a 9% decline in deliveries. Its nearest rival BMW 5-Series drops below 100k with an 18% decline while the Audi A6 is up 16% thanks to the new generation, but is not yet able to reclaim the segment lead it held from 2005 to 2007 and in 2015, just before its rivals were renewed. The Volvo S90/V90 is in big trouble with a 28% decline in deliveries as it’s relatively dependent on its home market Sweden where tax penalties for inefficient vehicles have caused a shift to smaller cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles like Volvo offers in most of its other models.
After years of decline, the midsized car segment is actually up 1% in 2019 to 1.05 million sales, maintaining a 6.7% share of the overall car market. However, if it wasn’t for the thunderous arrival of the Tesla Model 3, the class would be down another 8% again this year. The all-electric sedan landed in 5th place with over 95,000 sales, of which 30,000 in The Netherlands and 15,700 in Norway, which means these two countries that account for 3.7% of the European car market have taken 48% of Model 3 deliveries thanks to generous subsidies and other perks for electric vehicles. In both countries the Model 3 was the best selling model overall and Tesla was the #2 best selling brand in Norway behind VW and in NL it was #3 behind VW and Opel. Another historic phenomenon in this segment happened in 2019, with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class taking the overall lead from the Volkswagen Passat, and luxury vehicles expanding their share to above 60% of the overall segment, also helped by the Model 3.