After a rather unexpected double digit gain in January, sales of domestic passenger cars in China are down 8,4% in February. However, the explanation for these swings is that the Chinese New Year celebrations fell in February this year, while last year they fell mostly in January (Jan. 27 – Feb. 2), which means fewer business days in February 2018. Compared to 2016, when the celebrations were in the second month as well, 2018 sales are up 10%. Combined sales figures for the first two months are still up 3,2% which is actually still above expectations, as the Chinese car market was expected to slightly decline in the early stages of this year. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in February is up to 25,28 million, up 400.000 on January. which is down by 1 million on January 2017 at 24,74 million. [Read more…]
After discussing European car sales for February 2017 by brand, let’s check out what the model ranking looks like in the second month of 2017. Traditional leader Volkswagen Golf continues its double digit decline after a stable January. Besides its facelift, which still has to pick up steam, the Golf is hurt by increased competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane, but also by increased internal competition from the new Tiguan and Seat Ateca. The Renault Clio continues to improve and reclaims the 2nd spot it held in 2016, ahead of the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta, two models that are due to be replaced this year. For the first time since last September the Nissan Qashqai is the best selling crossover in Europe again, and for the first time since last August there’s only one crossover in the top-10. The Fiat Panda hits its highest ranking in 7 years with a 6th place, ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208. The Astra is down into 9th place despite still growing almost 10%, and it remains the #2 compact car ahead of the Skoda Octavia. The Volkswagen Tiguan is out of the top-10 for the first time since last July despite being the fastest growing model in the top-25. [Read more…]
After a promising start of the year with an almost 10% gain in January, European car sales disappoint in February with a gain of just 2,2% to just over 1,1 million units, still the highest February volume since pre-crisis 2008. The big difference in January vs. February growth can be attributed to the number of business days, which were higher in January 2017 and lower in February, compared to the previous year. A better indication of the strength of the European car market would therefore be the year-to-date gain, which stands at +5,9% to 2,3 million units. Among the major markets, France (-2,9%), Germany (-2,6%) and the UK (-0,3%) lost volume compared to 2016, while Italy (+6,2%) and Spain (+0,2%) improved. Altogether, 8 out of the 30 markets lost volume in February. Among the smaller markets, Romania (+62,9%) and Greece (+56,9%) stood out with excellent performances. [Read more…]
After a stable January, Chinese car sales rise a promising 20,2% again in February 2017. This is a result of the Chinese New Year festivities, which alternate between January and February each year, so it’s better to look at combined figures of these two months before drawing conclusions about the strength of the Chinese car market. Thanks to 1,59 million sales in February, combined volume for the first two months of the year is up 7,6% to 3,76 million. This is still stronger than most analysts had predicted, as expectations for the first quarter of 2017 were in the low single digits due to the rise on sales tax on vehicles with small engines. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate of 22,68 million is the lowest it’s been since last July, but still significantly up 12% from the 20,25 million of February 2016. SUVs and crossovers are unsurprisingly the main winners with sales up 36,9% to 644.750 units in February (first 2 months: +18,9% to 1.496.712), while sedans gain 15,3% to 772.555 sales (first 2 months: +4,2% to 1.857.478) and MPVs lose volume for the second month in a row at -3,9% to 167.076 (first 2 months: -10,2% to 393.533). Sales of New Energy vehicles (EVs and PHEVs) jumped 30% in February, following a 74% decline in January when electric car subsidies were reduced 20%. This month, domestic brands also reach a new record share of 46,5% in February, breaking the previous high of 45,4% last December. For the first two months combined, domestics have a 44,4% share of their home market, the highest it’s ever been at this stage of the year. [Read more…]
After discussing the European brand sales ranking for February 2016, let’s look at the model rankings. For the second month in a row Volkswagen monopolizes the top-2 with the Golf and the Polo. After losing volume in January, the Golf shows a slight increase last month. The Renault Clio benefits from a traditionally weak month of February as UK buyers, who buy more than 40% of all European Fiestas, are waiting for the new license plates in March. I expect sales of about 50.000 units for the little Ford in March, helping it move past the Polo in the YTD ranking. The Peugeot 208 also shows a nice improvement thanks to its recent facelift, while the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa makes it 5 subcompact cars in the top-6. The Corsa will also rebound next month on strong UK volume.
The Fiat Panda keeps the incredible pace it showed in January, proving it wasn’t a freak performance, even though it’s disproportionately dependent on its home market Italy. The Panda’s 7th place is its best ranking since at least 2009, when it ranked 8th for the full year. The little Fiat’s performance is even more impressive when you see that almost all other minicars are either stable or lose sales, with the exception of the renewed Smart Fortwo and the all-new Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva. The Skoda Octavia holds on to the 8th place it held in January, while the Peugeot 308 kicks its fresher rival Opel/Vauxhall Astra back out of the top-10. [Read more…]
Car sales in Europe continue their double digit growth in February, after a short interruption in January. Sales are up 13% to 1.077.352, the best February score since 2008 and the 30th consecutive month of growth for the European car market as it continues to slowly recover from the severe crisis. As in January, the gains are across almost all of Europe, with only Greece (-32,4%) and The Netherlands (-15%) contracting. The latter is due to a change in taxation of fuel efficient vehicles, which artificially boosted registrations in December, so the Dutch market should normalize as the year proceeds. The big winner is again Italy (+27,3%), once again larger than France (+13%) and now even the #2 market behind Germany (+12%) as the UK (+8.4%) traditionally has a weak first two months of the year as customers await the bi-annual license plate change in March, which usually pushes the UK to the #1 spot that month.
The love is also spread across all manufacturers, as all show growth in February, and the biggest volume loss at brand level is just 1.200 sales. As Italy is boosted, it’s not hard to guess which manufacturer is benefiting the most from this growth: FCA is the biggest winner, as it was in January, followed by Volkswagen Group and PSA Peugeot-Citroën. Skoda and especially Audi are boosting the VW Group, as Volkswagen and Seat are among the losers, albeit with small figures. In terms of relative growth, Lotus owner DRB-Hicom once again shoots up, followed by Mahindra&Mahindra thanks to their SsangYong brand, and Lada as its renewed distribution in Germany and Hungary marks the official starting point of a new mission to conquer Europe. [Read more…]
Car sales in China are up 3% in February to 1.348.856 units, after growing 11% in January. However, as the week-long Lunar new year holiday moves between January and February, it can influence car sales in those months. Therefore most analysts prefer to compare combined January and February sales to the year before, as it gives a more realistic picture of the direction of the market. And that direction is still up, helped by the continued tax cut on small vehicles (up to 1.6 liter engines). In the first two months of 2016, the Chinese car market has grown 7,75% to just over 3,5 million vehicles. The share of local brands continues to reach record levels, now at 44,84%, up from 39,14% in February 2015 and from the previous record of 43,29% last month. The other trend we’ve witnessed in the last year also continues: SUVs gain 55% to 1,27 million sales and MPVs add 14% to their volume to 436.000 sales, while sedans drop 13% to 1,78 million sales. If this trend continues, SUVs will outsell sedans sometime in the next year or so.
The Volkswagen Lavida (excluding Gran Lavida) is the only import brand model in the top-5 and trails the perennial leader Wuling Hongguang by a mere 338 units in February, but is still way behind in the first two months. The Haval H6 is under continued pressure from the Baojun 560 for the title of China’s best selling SUV, while the GAC Trumpchi GS4 moves into third place of that segment and 10th overall, making it 5 Chinese models in the top-10. The renewed Buick Excelle XT and GT are the fastest growing models in the top-10 and the Buick Envision is the fastest gainer in the top-20. [Read more…]
After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for February, let’s zoom in on the models. In the top-3 we immediately see that the RAM Pickup has closed in on the Chevrolet Silverado‘s #2 spot with a 23.2% increase, compared to a loss of 5% for the Chevy. A little further down, the Toyota Corolla has reclaimed the #2 passenger car spot from the Honda Civic, despite the new generation Civic’s impressive 31.7% improvement on last year. Nissan Altima sales are flat, but it stays ahead of its rival Honda Accord, while the Nissan Sentra shoots past the Ford Focus to take third place for compact cars as both improve more than 30%. The Sentra was helped by its recent facelift, but also thanks to fleet sales according to Nissan. The Honda CR-V hits a February record, but that couldn’t save it from being outsold by the Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 is still about 7,000 units behind the Camry, but the company expects the crossover to become the brand’s best selling model within five years.
After rising quickly in the past 2.5 years, the Nissan Rogue takes a breath. According to Nissan, this is a result of the phase-out of the previous generation Rogue, which until now was still sold as a cheaper alternative under the name Rogue Select. Similarly, Infiniti suffered a loss as the Q40 is phased out, the previous generation G37 sedan. The Chevrolet Malibu is the biggest winner in the top-25 with more than 50% increase, while its smaller sibling Chevrolet Cruze is the biggest loser at -29%. A similar phenomenon happened at Hyundai, where the Sonata midsized sedan improved 25% in 19th place, while the compact Elantra lost 23.8% in 31st place. Contrastingly, at Kia the Optima (#40) lost 16.9% while the Forte (#50) improved 47.5%. [Read more…]