In the first quarter of 2018, European passenger car sales are up just 0,8% to 4,26 million, with Spain (+10,5%) as the biggest contributor to the growth, with Germany (+4%) and France (+2,9%) also in the black, while car deliveries declined in Italy (-1,5%) and most notably the UK (-12,4%). The new EU member states showed strong growth of 11.9% so far this year. Crossover sales are up 18,7% in Q1, while car models lost 4,3% and MPVs lost 20,7% as automakers are replacing their MPVs with crossovers to follow a shift in demand.
In March, European sales of passenger cars declined for the first time in 2018 and for the fourth time in 12 months. A loss of -4,7% means 1,83 million cars were sold in Europe this month, traditionally by far the biggest month of the year (see graph), due to the influence of the UK market, where the twice yearly license plate change (now to the “18” registrations) pushes car sales to a peak. As a result, the UK is the biggest market in Europe in March, taking 25,8% of the total market compared to just over 16% over the whole year. The 15,7% decline in UK car sales this month represents 87% of the total European loss as the rest of the European markets combined were down by just 0,9% in March. Among the major markets, new car sales also declined in Italy (-5,8%) and Germany (-3,4%), but France (+2,2%) and Spain (+2,1%) posted growth.
After looking at the February 2018 car brand sales in Europe, let’s zoom in on what’s hot and what’s not on a model level. Like in January, the Volkswagen Golf remains on top of the ranking and is also the fastest growing nameplate in the top-8 with a gain of 15,5% on a weak score a year ago when its facelifted version was not yet in showrooms. Still, this is the best [Read more…]
In February, European sales of passenger cars increased 4,4% to 1,15 million, which marks the fifth consecutive year of February sales growth, with sales up almost 40% on the nearly 829.000 sales of February 2013. Crossover and SUVs are the only segment to grow with an increase of 22,7% to a share of just over a third of the market while car models (hatchbacks, sedans, staton wagons, coupes and convertibles) lost 1,5% to 57,7% of the market and MPVs continued their sharp decline at -13,3% to 100.000 sales, 8,7% of the market.
After looking at the January 2018 car brand sales in Europe, let’s take a closer look at individual model sales figures. The Volkswagen Golf remains on top of the ranking but is also the fastest growing nameplate in the top-8 with a gain of 14,4% on a weak score a year ago when its facelifted version was not yet in showrooms. Still, this is the best [Read more…]
European sales of passenger cars in January increased 6,5% in January 2018 to 1,27 million, which marks the fourth consecutive year of January sales growth, with sales up 40% on the 908.000 sales in January 2013. As sales of car models (hatchbacks, sedans, staton wagons, coupes and convertibles) were stable at +2%, MPVs continued thier sharp decline as crossovers and SUVs are taking over the European streets. MPVs declined 19% to just 7,7% of the market (a new low) while crossovers increased 24% to take 34% of the market, a new high as their share was below 30% for the 2017 full year.
Sales of exotic cars in Europe increase 13% in 2017 to 6.776 units. For the first time the Ferrari 488 takes the annual segment crown, its predecessor 458 Italia never took the title so the last time a Ferrari was the best selling exotic car in Europe was in 2009, the last year of the F430. This is the first time in six years the Bentley Continental GT does not top the exotics sales charts, and the difference between the two models was just 7 sales as the Continental made a final sprint in an attempt to reclaim the lead. A new generation of the Bentley is due in 2018 so the tables are likely to be turned again this year. In third place we find the Aston Martin DB11, the segment leader in the first quarter of the year. This top-3 controls 63% of the segment and they’re the only models with four-figure sales in Europe. Best of the rest is the Lamborghini Huracan, up 25% to improve sales every year since its launch, as well as setting a new annual sales record for any Lamborghini model in Europe, beating the Gallardo’s 629 sales in 2007. The Aston Martin Vanquish is up 45% but falls 20 sales short of breaking its annual sales record from 2013 when the current generation was just launched. That helps it become the best selling V12-only model ahead of the Lamborghini Aventador, down 13% and the Ferrari F12, down by a third as its replacement 812 Superfast arrived in showrooms. The Rolls Royce Dawn convertible slightly dips but remains ahead of the Wraith coupe. The Honda NSX sells just an average of 10 units a month in its first year. Lastly, Bugatti delivered 16 unique copies of the Chiron in Europe last year, one shy of the Veyron’s peak year of 17 deliveries in 2007.
EV and PHEV sales in Europe have set another record in 2017 with a 33% increase to top 282.000 sales of plug-in vehicles, of which 132.000 full electric cars and 150.000 plug-in hybrid cars. Sales of the former surged 35% while PHEV sales spiked 31%. This means plug-in vehicles accounted for 1,8% of the European car market, up from 1,4% in 2016.
Sales of premium large SUVs in Europe declined in 2017 after three consecutive years of explosive growth during which 100.000 annual sales were added. A lack of new products may be responsible for the slowdown which caused sales to slip 6% to 270.000 units, or 1,7% of the overall European car market, down from 1,9% in 2016. The entire top-5 is down for the year and only 6 out of the 19 players in this class improve their volume this year. As you can read below, 2018 promises to bring a lot of news again so growth is expected to pick back up again. Class leader BMW X5 moves with the segment at -7%, maintaining its share at 12,8% and keeping distance to its closest rivals, the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 which were both in their second full year, compared to the X5 which is in its last full year. The XC90 was the best seller in the fourth quarter, allowing it to reclaim the #2 spot from the Q7. Likewise, the Mercedes-Benz GLE managed to finish the year ahead of the Range Rover Sport thanks to an excellent fourth quarter, even though both models lost more than the segment average. The new generation Land Rover Discovery more than tripled its volume in Q4 and grew by 29% for the year to reach the highest volume for the nameplate since 2007. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized premium SUVs in Europe continue to boom with a fourth consecutive year of double digit growth, of which the last three years showed at least 20% growth. In 2017, the segment grew by 21% to a record 492.500 sales, or 3,2% of the overall European car market, up from 2,7% in 2016. The first nameplate in this segment to top 100.000 annual sales is the Mercedes-Benz GLC, a runaway success for the brand which had struggled with the unsuccessful GLK until just a few years ago. Keep in mind these figures include sales of the GLC Coupe version, as the GLC would be in second place with just over 85.000 sales without the Coupe. Then again, its closest rival and former segment leader Volvo XC60 benefits from also having 2 different versions available for a few months after the arrival of the new generation. Especially in its home market Sweden the outgoing XC60 was continued to be sold at reduced prices alongside the new version, allowing it to become the best selling model there for the first time ever. Still, it’s impressive how the model was able to finish on such a high note, setting three consecutive annual sales records at the end of its life cycle and then extending that to a fourth record during the year of the model change to the new generation. It will be interesting to see if the new XC60 can continue this strong showing, considering the nameplate was down 11% in the fourth quarter when production of the first generation finally ended.