Sales of premium midsized cars in Europe dip slightly in 2017 with a 2% decline to 694.000 sales, 4,5% of the overall car market, down from 4,7% in 2016. This is a much better performance than that of mainstream midsized cars which are down 13% but both continue to lose volume to crossovers. Segment leader Mercedes-Benz C-Class consolidates its leadership with sales up less than 1% while its two closest rivals show double digit declines. Keep in mind that the C-Class is available in 4 versions: sedan, station wagon, coupe and convertible, while Audi and BMW split up sales of their traditional sedan and wagon versions from the more stylish counterparts. When combining all versions (as displayed in the graph), Audi takes the segment lead from BMW with over 207.000 sales (up from 206.000) vs nearly 194.000 sales (down from 212.000). Audi is boosted by the new generation A5 coupe, convertible and Sportback, up 41% on the outgoing model, although this may cannibalize sales of the regular A4, down 10%. However, that is not enough for the A5 to outsell its rival BMW 4-series, also available as a coupe, convertible and 4-door Gran Coupe. In the fourth quarter the 4-Series outsold the A5 again after the tables had been turned in Q2 and Q3. These 3 German brands now control 83,3% of the segment. However, as one of our readers pointed out a few weeks ago, Audi’s volume comes mostly from the entry-level engine specifications
Sales of premium compact cars Europe are back to their 2015 volume after peaking at almost 940.000 units in 2016. With nearly 874.000 sales in 2017, the segment accounts for 5,6% of the total European car market, down from 6,1% the year before. The average age of the models in this segment is relatively high which explains some of the decline. The top-10 models ranking is exactly the same as 2016 but there have been some individual fluctuations and we have a new leader in the brands ranking. Audi still holds the top spot with the A3, but its 14% loss means a 1,5 percentage point of lost share as its rivals are closing in. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is pretty stable for a model that will be renewed in 2018 and stays ahead of the BMW 1-series as both models add more than a full percentage point of share. As a result, this top-3 increases its share of the segment to 51% and they are the only nameplates with 6-figure sales. The BMW 2-Series Active and Gran Tourer MPVs are down 15% as they’re being updated early 2018, but at least they remain well ahead of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, whose next generation will also include a 7-seater option. In fifth place, Volvo is best of the rest as usual in the premium segments in Europe, with the V40 pretty stable at -6%.
The large SUV segment is one of the smallest in Europe with fewer than 53.000 sales in 2017, down 4%. Compare that to the US where almost 2 million of these vehicles were sold last year, up 9,4% and surpassing sales of midsized sedans for the first time. Unlike the midsized crossover segment, where some models are also available as 7-seaters, there are not a lot of new entrants to this segment in Europe, but brands are actually withdrawing their slow selling models, like Nissan which no longer sells the Murano and Pathfinder and Mazda which never really sold the CX-9 in significant quantities, as opposed to the US. Then again, Ford entered the segment in 2016 by bringing the Edge over from the States. And while absolute volume remains relatively low (16.000 in Europe vs. nearly 143.000 in the US), it has quickly become the segment leader with more than 30% share. However, the Edge was already down 31% in the last quarter when the segment as a whole lost 25% as the entire top-5 lost by double digits. Only the low-volume SsangYong Rexton gained volume thanks to the all-new generation now available in Europe. [Read more…]
Sales of compact crossovers continue to surge in Europe, with a 30% gain in 2017 to nearly 1,5 million sales or 9,6% of the overall market, up from 7,7% in 2016. The entire top-5 has set new sales records in 2017. We’ve decided to separate 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 up 32% to 11,9% of the total European car market, of which Renault-Nissan controls 26% and VW Group 20%. The Nissan Qashqai is still the best selling crossover in Europe, despite adding just 6% to its record volume of 2016 to close in on a quarter million sales. Its closest rival is still the Volkswagen Tiguan, up 31% to become the second nameplate in this segment to top 200.000 sales and to close the gap with the top spot to less than 14.000 sales. The new Peugeot 3008 immediately jumps onto the segment podium with nearly 170.000 sales in its first full year, an impressive performance against any standard. It beats the two South-Korean rivals that have fought for the segment podium for years as well as the Ford Kuga which shows an impressive 27% growth despite being 5 years old already, apart from a facelift in 2016.
Sales of small crossovers in Europe took a pauze of their booming growth in recent years. The segment grew by 5% in 2017, to just under 1,51 million units, or 9,7% of the total market, up from 9,5% in 2016. In Q4, volume was up 14% again thanks to new brands entering the segment. The entire top-5 showed single digit growth or declines, indicating the growth is indeed fueled by new entrants. Even with a 2% decline and a resulting one full percentage point of share of the segment, the Renault Captur still rules and is the only nameplate in the class to sell over 200.000 units. Its closest rivals are still the Peugeot 2008 and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, both with a 3% increase, although the latter was down by 15% in Q4, potentially from internal competition from the newly launched Crossland X, landing at #14 for the year after taking 6th place in the fourth quarter. The new generation Dacia Duster has started sales early 2018, but the outgoing version managed to show a 4% increase last year after a 13% gain in Q4. This is a new annual record for the nameplate. One of the models that made this segment popular Nissan Juke is down 6% but manages to leapfrog the Fiat 500X to reclaim 5th place even though it is one of the oldest models in the class. [Read more…]
Sales of large MPVs in Europe were down in each quarter of 2017 after a strong rebound in 2016. A loss of 15% means that sales are down to just over 131.000 units, or 0,8% of the total market, down from 1% in 2016. At least this is still a higher segment volume than 2014 and 2015, but the future of the segment looks bleak as fewer brands see profitability at these volumes and 7-seat crossovers continue to cannibalize their MPV rivals, even though the latter are still way more space efficient and practical. Four out of six remaining players in this segment show double digit losses and only one improves its volume (by a mere 45 units). The Ford S-Max holds on to the segment lead and even manages to increase its share of the segment to 26,9% as it is down by 14%. Its sibling Ford Galaxy is down by 25%, which means Ford’s share of the segment is down from 39,7% to 38,5%. The Volkswagen Group twins are by far the oldest models still on sale in this segment but manage to improve to 46,1% share, up 4,5 percentage point on last year. The Seat Alhambra is stable on 2016 thanks to a last-minute surge: it gained 19% in the fourth quarter.
The midsized MPV segment in Europe has declined for 6 consecutive quarters and finishes 2017 with a loss of 8% on 2016 to just over 746.000 sales. This means the segment accounts for 4,8% of the total European market, down from 5,4% in 2016. Only three nameplates increase their volume this year, of which two come from the same manufacturer, although they’re technically not related: the Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic and the Dacia Lodgy. The Scenic was the segment best seller in Q2 and Q4, but that’s not enough for the model to top the chart this year as the Volkswagen Touran is ahead for the second consecutive year, although this time by just 2.138 sales. Other brands offer their two-row and three-row versions under the same name, as the Scenic, C4 Picasso, 2-Series and C-Max do, but VW splits them into two distinctive models. When combining the Touran with the (Golf) Sportsvan, the brand holds more than a quarter of the sales in this class. The Citroën C4 Picasso is knocked down into third place and is below 100.000 sales after 3 years above that level. The biggest loser in the top-5 is the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer with a loss of 15% and more than a percentage point of share.
Sales of small MPVs in Europe are falling at accelerating pace with a 44% decline in the fourth quarter leading to a loss of 26% in 2017. With less than 225.000 sales the segment now accounts for just 1,5% of total European volume, down from 2% in 2016. With two more models being pulled out of the class, this segment will consist of just 4 models as of 2018, of which one a low-volume EV. With a 23% loss the segment leader Fiat 500L actually improves its share of the shrinking segment to 28,1% but still sells almost 20.000 fewer units. It has also become more dependent on its home market Italy, which accounts for 73,6% of its European sales in 2017. At least the 500L can claim that it’s the best seller in one country: its production home Serbia. The surprise #2 of the segment this year is the Ford B-Max with a gain of 7%. What’s surprising about this is that until last year, sales of the B-Max had been slowly declining for 4 years, and moreover production of the model ended in September 2017. The last few thousand remaining in dealer stock will be sold off in early 2018. As a result of PSA replacing the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Citroën C3 Picasso with crossover models, sales of these two models were also in freefall in Q4, and these two will also sell of remaining stock in early 2018. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized cars in Europe have returned to decline in 2017 after a sharp rebound in 2015 and stable sales in 2016. The segment which sold over 1 million units as recently as 10 years ago is now down to its second lowest volume ever, after 2014. At nearly 543.000 sales, mainstream midsized cars now account for just 3,5% of the European market, down from 4,2% in 2016 and from 6,9% in 2007. Only one nameplate in the segment has been able to add volume last year and only three saw single digit declines with the remaining players in double digit decline. Segment leader Volkswagen Passat did slightly better than the rest of the segment at -11% to increase its share to over one third of the segment. Its platform sibling Skoda Superb holds on to 2nd place which means that for the first time ever, a VW-Skoda duo finishes on top of the annual ranking in both the compact and midsized segments. VW Group increases its share of the segment to 48,8% with these two models. The Opel/Vauxhall Insignia is the only model to even come close to the dominant players, with stable sales for the year but a 62% gain in Q4 thanks to the new generation. In fact, the Insignia outsold the Superb in both the third and fourth quarter and should be able to claim second place in 2018. [Read more…]
Sales of compact cars in Europe declined 2% in 2017 to nearly 2,34 million units after 4% declines in each of the last three quarters. Europe’s second largest segment accounts for 15,1% of the total market, down from 15,8% in 2016. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf is completely on par with the rest of the segment and holds on to its 20,6% share thanks to a facelift in Q2. Its stablemate Skoda Octavia is stable for the year, gaining less than 500 sales but that still means a new volume record for the nameplate, knocking down the Opel/Vauxhall Astra which was down 35% in Q3 after a 28% decline in Q3. Like the Corsa in the subcompact segment, the Astra suffers from Opel/Vauxhall’s new owner deciding not to chase volume at all cost as General Motors used to do. This means lower discounts and reduces deliveries to daily rental fleets, leading to a sales shock in the short term but should be beneficial for the brand in the long run. Fourth placed Ford Focus is also stable despite being in the final year of the current generation and despite the overall decline of the UK market, its most important market with a third of its European volume. In the battle of the French, the Renault Megane jumps ahead of the Peugeot 308 to take 5th place, but I´m sure Renault expected more from this new model. [Read more…]