Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe continue their path to a fourth consecutive and their largest annual decline, with 25% fewer deliveries in the second quarter, leading to a loss of 26% in the first half of 2019. Just over 144.000 midsized MPVs were sold and delivered in these three months, and so far this year only three nameplates have managed to improve their sales on last year. Besides the competition from crossovers, it appears some potential MPV buyers are also cross shopping with van-based MPVs like the new Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Rifter as these balance their lower refinement with a lower price and more practicality. The fact that Opel/Vauxhall is not replacing the Zafira but giving its new van that same name instead is another indication of this trend. After ceding its top spot to the Volkswagen Touran in the first quarter, the Renault Scenic is back on top of the ranking after the second quarter, even though each model is down by more than 20%. That means both also improve their share of the segment slightly, while their nearest rivals from the last few years tumble hard.
The midsized car segment in Europe continues its decline in 2019 with a 18% decrease in deliveries in the second quarter, to less than 108.000 cars. In the first half of the year, sales are down 21% as the segments now accounts for just 2,5% of the European car market as just two out of the 12 available nameplates improve their sales in the first half. The segment which sold nearly 1 million units annually as recently as 10 years ago is now down even further on what already was its lowest volume ever. Interestingly, the luxury midsized car segment is down by just 1% so far this year and is 63% larger than these mainstream models. The traditional segment leader Volkswagen Passat falls faster than the overall segment but is back above 30% share in Q2, and still holds a dominant position. Its sibling Skoda Superb is the only model in the top-4 to improve its share of the segment with sales down “just” 11% while the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia loses almost a third of its sales and the Ford Mondeo is down by 22% and was outsold in Q2 by the new Peugeot 508 with its well-received design. The 508 should become a podium contender when it reaches full availability of all versions, as deliveries of the station wagon version only just started.
The compact car segment in Europe slows down its decline in the second quarter of 2019, with a loss of 8% to just over 557.000 sales, but is still down 11% for the first half as Europe’s second largest segment now accounts for 13,1% of the total market, down from 14,1% in the first six months of 2018. In both quarters the compact car segment showed lower sales than the small crossover segment (up 11% to 14,2% share of the market) and that makes the small crossovers are now the second largest segment in Europe, pushing the compact cars to #3. At least the overall best selling model still comes from the compact car segment, although the Volkswagen Golf is under threat from the Renault Clio now that a redesigned Mk VIII Golf is on the way and Volkswagen has an internal competitor with the T-Roc. Among compact cars, the Golf is still the dominant leader, even though its share is down by 0,7 percentage points to 20,4%, as it lost 14% of its sales in the first half of 2019. The already renewed Ford Focus is still in 2nd place but its margin over the Skoda Octavia was significantly smaller in Q2 with less than 700 sales separating them. The Focus is the only nameplate in the top-7 to improve its sales.
After an 8% decline in Q1 of 2019, sales of subcompact cars in Europe continue their decline in Q2 with a drop of 7%, to nearly 750.000 deliveries. In the first half of the year, Europe’s largest segment by volume accounts for 18% of the total market with sales down 7% on the same period in 2018. The Renault Clio takes firm control of the segment, outselling its nearest rival by almost 30.000 sales in Q2 and showing stable sales in the first half, leading to almost a full percentage point of additional share of the segment, to 12,3% (and even 13,3% in the second quarter). The Clio is enjoying a smooth changeover to the new generation which arrived in showrooms in Q2 while the outgoing model is still selling strong. Its rivals Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta are losing ground, with especially the latter falling behind quickly since its new generation was launched last year. The Fiesta was nearly outsold by the aging and soon-to-be-replaced Peugeot 208 in Q2 and all three sold fewer units than the surprise #3 of the segment in the second quarter: the Dacia Sandero. Despite being launched in 2012, the Sandero has managed to improve its sales every year since and its success is showing no signs of slowing down, with a 5% increase so far this year and adding nearly a percentage point of share, in the meantime passing hte Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and closing in on the 208 and Fiesta. Combined with the Zoe EV, the Nissan Micra and hte Renault Logan, the Renault-Nissan Group held a 28,3% share of the segment in the second quarter of 2019, compared to 23,4% for PSA and 19% for the VW Group.
The minicar segment in Europe reverses its decline in the second quarter of 2019 as European car buyers took delivery of nearly 340.000 minicars, a 2% gain on 2018 and leading to a 1% loss in the first half, compared to an overall market loss of 3,6%. After a dip below the 30% mark in Q1, Fiat’s dominance in this segment rebounds to 31,2% in Q2 with its two models. The Fiat 500 manages to outsell its sibling Fiat Panda by a slight margin, but not enough to reclaim the segment crown for the first half of the year. These two models are surprisingly resilient considering the 500 is in its 12th year without any major redesign and the Panda in its 8th year but is still the best performer in the segment top-10 for the first half of 2019. Surprisingly, the #3 best selling minicar in Europe in the second quarter was the Renault Twingo, helped by the recent facelift of the model. As a result, the Twingo has passed the long-time #3 of the segment Volkswagen Up! in the first-half ranking to claim 4th place behind the Toyota Aygo, after the Japanese model already leapfrogged the Up! in Q1.
After looking at the June and first half 2019 brands ranking for Europe, lets zoom in on the models ranking. Eternal best seller Volkswagen Golf is due fora redesign and loses volume for the 10th consecutive month. In fact, the Renault Clio has never been closer to taking the #1 spot in Europe, with a gap of just 1.500 sales between Europe’s two best selling cars. And the Clio is right in the middle of a changeover to the new generation, with June sales still mostly representing the outgoing model as well as the first demo registrations of the fifth generation Clio. To complete the good news for Renault in the ranking, the Captur jumps to equal its highest position ever in third place, making the podium exactly the same as the only other time this happened, in December 2017. [Read more…]
After a few relatively stable months in April and May, with sales up 1,4% and down 1,3% respectively, European new car sales were down by 7,8% in June 2019, to 1,48 million sales. For the first half of the year, sales are down 3,6% to 8,3 million units. According to ACEA, the surprisingly heavy decline in June can be attributed to a negative calendar effect. On average, June only counted 19 working days across the EU in 2019, compared to roughly 21 days the year before. As a result, the five major EU markets all posted declines, especially France (-8,4%) and Spain (-8,3%), whereas the UK (-4.9%), Germany (-4,7%) and Italy (-2,1%) performed better than the overall market. Just five out of the 30 countries of the EU and EFTA showed growth in March, with the fastest growing markets Lithuania (+41,1%), Romania (+15%) and Ireland (+12,7%), while Greece (+4,5%) and Cyprus (+0,9%) are the remaining countries in the plus. Biggest losing markets in June were Sweden (-52%) and Iceland (-47,7%), the former influenced by an artificially high month of June in 2018 which pulled forward registrations in anticipation of a new tax system in July of last year. In the first half each of the big EU markets recorded a slight decline with the exception of Germany (+0,5%).
EV and PHEV sales in Europe continue to break records in 2019 with a 44% increase to nearly 126.000 sales of plug-in vehicles, of which close to 83.000 full electric cars and almost 43.000 plug-in hybrid cars. Sales of the former surged almost doubled at +94% while PHEV sales were virtually stable at -3%. If in 2018 battery electric cars outsold PHEVs for the first time, in the first quarter of 2019 almost twice as many EVs were delivered than plug-in hybrids. Plug-in vehicles accounted for 3,1% of the European car market, up from 2% in the first quarter of 2018 and 2,2% in the full year 2018.
The premium large SUV segment in Europe returns to growth in the first quarter of 2019, helped by the arrival of five new nameplates. Nearly 70.000 large luxury SUVs were delivered in Q1, and the BMW X5 is still the best seller of them all. A new generation X5 has picked up where the previous one finished its life cycle: on top of the ranking. A 6% increase in deliveries means the BMW has grown its share of the segment to 13,4%. In second place we find the Range Rover Sport, which hasn’t been this high in the ranking since 2015. It’s helped by the Plug-in Hybrid version which has a take rate of 24% and is therefore responsible for more than the 12% growth of the nameplate. That allows the RR Sport to move past the Volvo XC90, which is down 10% despite selling more PHEVs than Range Rover, with a take rate of 27,4% for the electrified Swede. This is the only luxury segment where the Germans don’t dominate the top of the charts, but just due to their large number of entrants (12 out of 24 nameplates are German), they still control more than half of its sales with a 56,3% share of the segment. BMW is the leader with 15,7% share with its three models, followed by Audi with 14,2% with its two models, and Mercedes-Benz is struggling at just 10,6% for its four models. This is due to the model changeover of its best seller GLE, which sees a 58% drop in deliveries just as the new generation is arriving in showrooms. The GLE is therefore down to #8 and is just slightly ahead of the G-Class, which even outsold it in February, for the very first time ever.
The midsized premium SUV segment in Europe continues its steady growth in the first quarter of 2019 with a 5% increase to nearly 143.000 sales. In the top-10, only three nameplates improve their sales, helped by model updates. The segment leader Mercedes-Benz GLC loses ground with an 11% loss, which means it loses 2,8 percentage points of share and is now fewer than 1.500 sales ahead of both the #2 and the #3. The BMW X3 storms to second place with sales more than doubling thanks to the new generation. The X3 is looking to claim the top spot of the segment for the first time since 2013. Former leader Volvo XC60 is now down to 3rd place with sales stable on last year. It’s still in the running to reclaim the segment crown it held from 2014 till 2016, but the momentum is now with the X3. The XC60 has a take rate of 22% for the plug-in hybrid version, but the German brands are launching their full electric crossovers this year, with the Mercedes-Benz EQC, the BMW iX3 and the slightly larger Audi e-Tron, to which Volvo does not yet have an answer. The Audi Q5 is down to 4th place at a distance to the top-3 as it saw its sales decline by 18% in the first quarter. [Read more…]