The limousine segment in Europe started a decline in 2018 and this trend continued in the first quarter of 2019, with sales down 18% to nearly 10.500 sales. We have one newcomer and just two nameplates that improve their sales year-over-year, with the rest all in red, of which all but one with double digits. The dominant segment leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class not only maintains its top position, but also stabilizes its market share of over 31% with sales down 19%, only slightly more than the segment as a whole. It sells over 1.000 cars more than its nearest rival BMW 7-series which hasn’t yet borne the fruits of its latest facelift, which should help it reduce the Q1 decline of 23% in the following quarters. Keep in mind that S-Class sales include the Coupe and Convertible versions, which BMW splits out under the name 8-Series and most other brands don’t offer in this segment. The launch of the BMW 8-series helps the brand to outsell Mercedes-Benz in this class for the first time since 2012. Third place is for the Audi A8, down just 4% and therefore the best performer in the top-8, helped by its new generation. [Read more…]
The premium large car segment in Europe has fallen into a double digit decline in the first quarter of 2019, with sales down 13% to just over 100.000 units. Only four of the 14 models in the class sell more than they did in the same period of 2018, and only one in the top-4. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class holds its top position with sales down 11% which means it increases its share of the segment to 28,9%. Despite a take rate of 15,5% for the plug-in hybrid version, its nearest rival BMW 5-series loses 19% and is just 120 sales ahead of the #3 Audi A6. The latter has just been renewed and delivers 12% more vehicles than in Q1 of last year. The A6 adds over 5 percentage points of share of the segment, which means these three models now account for 76% of all sales in this class. At brand level, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi control 83,4%, up from 77,9% last year. The A6 clearly has a shot at the #2 spot for this year, but is already too far behind the E-Class to reclaim the segment title it last held in 2015. There’s only one caveat to that remark: the E-Class is also available in Coupe and Convertible versions, and sales of those are not split out. Unfortunately we can’t directly compare sales figures of only the sedan and station wagon versions, but the E-Class isn’t as dominant as it seems from these numbers. The Volvo S90/V90 takes a hard hit because of cannibalization from the new V60, which looks very similar to the V90 but is quite a bit more affordable. Sales of the Swedish models are down by 39%, accounting for half of the total segment’s decline so far in 2019 and there’s now a significant gap to the top-3.
Sales of midsized luxury cars in Europe continue their downward trend in the first quarter of 2019, with deliveries down 3% to just over 160.000 units. And if it hadn’t been for the thunderous arrival of the Tesla Model 3, the segment would have been down by 14%. In March alone, Tesla delivered more Model 3’s than any midsized namplate except for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and that also includes all mainstream midsized models like the VW Passat. However, this is not reflective of the long-term potential of the Model 3, as these figures reflect deliveries of cars ordered over the past few years. Tesla registrations will continue to fluctuate greatly over the course of the year as customer deliveries are dependent on the arrival of the ships that deliver the cars to Europe. The American EV brand may make some headlines as it may seem to outperform its European rivals, and the huge amount of pre-ordered vehicles is by all means an impressive feat, but in our analysis of the registration figures, we’ll always try to compare apples to apples. For the first quarter, the C-Class is still in command despite a 6% drop in sales, as its closest rival Audi A4 loses almost a quarter of its volume, as well as 4,6 percentage points of share, as some gasoline models still haven’t been available due to the WLTP standards introduced last September. Taht allows the BMW 3-series to close the gap to the #2 spot, despite seeing its sales slide 8% as the new generation is just arriving in showrooms. With Audi’s availability issues apparently solved (sales were down “just” 7,5% in March), an upcoming facelift for the A4 and BMW’s new 3-Series picking up steam, the battle on the podium will be intense for the rest of the year, especially with the wild card Model 3 that could crash the party as well.
Sales of compact luxury cars in Europe are down 6% in the first quarter of 2019 to just over 200.000 units. Only three nameplates manage to improve their sales in this period while all but all the others are down by double digits. After storming to the top of the chart in 2018 for the very first time ever, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class distances its competition further this year, with a 34% increase in deliveries and a 7,4 percentage points improvement of share, as it now holds almost a quarter of the segment sales by itself. That leaves the former segment leader Audi A3 down into 2nd place with a loss of 3% and the BMW 1-series in third place with a loss of 11% as a new generation will arrive later this year. That will be the end of the 1-Series as the only rear-wheel drive hatchback in the class as it will shift to the front-wheel drive platform of the 2-Series Active Tourer, X1 and Mini hatchback, among others. Mercedes-Benz has a second model that improves its sales in this class, with the B-Class up 5% thanks to its all-new third generation, moving past its direct rival BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer, and this is before a first-ever 7-seater version of the B-Class is launched. The 2-Series vans are down 29% despite relatively successful sales of the plug-in hybrid version, which makes up about 20% of the model’s sales. In sixth place we find the third Mercedes-Benz model with the CLA, down 15% as the new, second generation is just arriving in showrooms. Undoubtedly, the CLA will end the year in the positive when deliveries of the new model, including the Shooting Brake version, start to gain traction. [Read more…]
Sales of large SUVs in Europe have been in a downward trend in recent years and that trend continues in the first quarter of 2019 with a decline of 27% in deliveries as this remains the smallest segment of the European car market with fewer than 10.000 sales in the first three months of the year. Interestingly, this same segment is one of the largest in the United States representing over 12% of the total market with just over 500.000 sales in the first quarter, compared to just 0,2% of the European market. Every single nameplate in this class loses volume in Q1 of 2019 and four out of six are down by double digits with the remaining two down by single digits, both helped by recent model updates. The top-3 has been turned upside down with the new generation Hyundai Santa Fe reclaiming the top spot it last held in 2016, even though its sales are still down by 6%. The Santa Fe improves its share of the segment to 26,1% but its sibling Kia Sorento is still very close behind in second place despite losing more than a quarter of its sales. Hyundai-Kia now holds more than half of this segment as the 2017 leader Ford Edge sees its sales plummet by more than a third. The recently facelifted Toyota Land Cruiser gains share as its deliveries are down by just 9%, while the SsangYong Rexton is already down 30% despite still being the second freshest model in the class. The Mitsubishi Pajero (Montero in Spain, Shogun in the UK and Ireland) is down 78% after struggling with the new WLTP standards.
The compact crossovers segment in Europe has been growing briskly in recent years, but in the first quarter of 2019 that growth has stalled as the segment grew by just 1% to 476.000 sales. That means it now makes up 11,7% of the total Euorpean car market, up from 11,1% in 2018. We’ve separated the tables of the compact and midsized crossover segments but still feature them in one post and in one graph as the models in these classes are so close to each other in size and there are so many different opinions on which models belong in which of these segments. Combined, sales in these segments are down 1,5% to 14,2% of the total European car market, and VW Group improves its share of these segments to 23,7% while Renault-Nissan is down to 20,6% and PSA grows to 18,8% of these segments combined, for a whopping 63,1% share by just three manufacturers. The traditional class leader Nissan Qashqai loses a significant chunk of its advantage over its rivals with a loss of 18% and almost 3 percentage points of share. The Volkswagen Tiguan in 2nd place is also down, but by just 4% while the #3 Peugeot 3008 sees stable sales and therefore closes in on its two rivals. The Ford Kuga loses more than a fifth of its sales and is knocked off its 4th place by the Toyota C-HR, up 13%. The C-HR also passes the two South-Korean players Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, both down by double digits. The Renault Kadjar, freshly facelifted, is down 4% and feels the Skoda Karoq and Opel/Vauxhall Grandland X breathing down its neck.
Sales of small crossovers in Europe continue their booming growth curve in 2019 with another double digit gain in the first quarter. An increase of 11% leads to nearly 570.000 sales which means we’re very likely to see over 2 million sales in this segment this year for the first time ever. This segment already accounts for 14% of the overall European car market, up another two percentage points in a single year. That means this segment is closing in on the compact car segment (the “Golf class”) to become Europe’s second largest segment after the subcompact cars. No wonder manufacturers that are not playing in this class yet are rushing to join the party, while existing brands are doubling down on their efforts. As a result, it’s not only one of the biggest segments in terms of volume, but also in the number of players, with no less than 29 and another handful of newcomers arriving this year. And we also have a new player on top of the charts, with the Volkswagen T-Roc beating its rivals to the #1 spot just a year after its launch. It now holds 10% of the segment, but the former leader Renault Captur is not far behind, just 1.000 sales separate the two models and the Captur still manages to increase its sales despite having the second generation ready for launch in the second half of this year. As a result of that model change, the T-Roc looks set for a full-year victory to knock the Captur of the top spot it held for five years.
The large MPV segment in Europe lost volume for the 9th consecutive quarter in Q1 of 2019 with an 11% decline to just over 25.000 sales. European families, businesses and car rental companies continue to lose interest in this type of vehicle and the future of the segment looks bleak as fewer brands see profitability at these volumes while 7-seat crossovers cannibalize their MPV rivals, even though the latter are still way more space efficient and practical. Of the six remaining players in this segment, only one manages to improve its sales with four of the other five down by double digits. Like last year, the Seat Alhambra starts the year promisingly on top of the ranking, a position it was unable to maintain for the entire year. With a loss of 13%, the Alhambra loses faster than the overall segment, which is not surprising considering it’s also the oldest model in the class, together with its identical twin Volkswagen Sharan. Then again, the Sharan is down by just 3% and increases its share of the segment, as VW Group now holds 49% of all large MPV sales in Europe. The segment best seller for the past three years, the Ford S-Max loses 15% of its sales and is for now relegated to the #2 spot. The S-Max may strike back later this year unless Ford decides to pull the plug on its large MPVs early.
Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe are on track to a fourth consecutive and their largest annual decline, starting 2019 with 27% fewer deliveries than in the first quarter of 2018. Just under 128.000 midsized MPVs were sold and delivered in these three months as only three nameplates 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 Renault Scenic in 2018, the Volkswagen Touran is back on top of the ranking in 2019, even though both models are down by exactly the same percentage in Q1, at -21%. That means both also improve their share of the segment significantly, while their nearest rivals from the last few years tumble hard. The Citroën C4 Picasso (now renamed C4 Spacetourer) loses 42% of its volume as the former segment leader (2014 and 2015) is down into 5th place. And with the arrival of the brand’s first compact crossover C5 Aircross, the bleeding isn’t yet over for the C4 Picasso. In fact, production of the 5-seater version will end and only the 7-seater Grand version will continue to be sold, as the brand doesn’t yet offer a 7-seat crossover.
The compact car segment in Europe is in faster decline than the overall market in the first quarter of 2019, with a loss of 14% to 528.363 sales, as Europe’s second largest segment now accounts for 13% of the total market, down from 14,3% in Q1 of 2018. That means it is under threat from the small crossover segment (up 11% to 14% share of the market). This is also one of the main reasons for the decline of the compact car segment: customers deflecting to crossovers. Segment best seller Volkswagen Golf is due for a redesign this year and loses 16% of its volume but still holds a commanding lead over its competition. In second place we now find the Ford Focus with sales up 8% thanks to its new generation, outselling the Skoda Octavia by a significant margin and thus ending a two-year period with the VW Group in the top two spots. The last time another manufacturer held a top-2 position in this segment was 2016 when the Opel/Vauxhall Astra was the Golf’s nearest rival, but so far this year the Astra is down into 5th place with sales down 18%. The Peugeot 308 moves up a spot to #4 despite also losing volume, but improves its share of the segment by 0,7 percentage points. The Seat Leon and Renault Megane also do slightly better than the overall segment but are still down by double digits, while the Kia Ceed is up an impressive 35%, helped by the addition of the Sportswagon and ProCeed versions. This moves the Ceed into 8th place, its highest ever ranking in the compact car segment in Europe.