Mazda MX-5 almost takes the segment lead, as RWD cars soar and FWD cars crashThe Small Sports segment lost an astonishing 31.6% sales in the second quarter of 2017, a bad performance second only to that of the Minicar segment that lost almost half its sales over the same period. Combined with the slower decline experienced by the segment in the first quarter of the year, sales in the segment were 22.8% smaller in the first half of 2017 than in 2016. Although there is some hope in the form of the new Hyundai Veloster, that car won’t arrive until sometime in 2018 – until then, it’s likely sales will continue declining.
Sales of exotic cars in Europe have exploded in the first quarter of 2017, with a growth of 45% to over 2.100 units. And after years of domination by the Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari 458 Italia, we have a new segment leader, straight out of the box. With almost a quarter of total segment sales, the all-new Aston Martin DB11 has stormed to the top of the ranking, ahead of the Ferrari 488 which maintains its second place thanks to a sales growth of 35%, while the former segment leader Continental GT is kicked down to third place with stable sales. Never before has an Aston Martin topped the exotic car segment in Europe, but the DB11 is an obvious hit with affluent buyers. It has turned the two-horse race at the top of the ranking into a three-way, as the top-3 dominates the segment with 68,3% of total sales as the #3 sells more than triple the volume of its closest rival.
The Small Sports segment accelerates its decline in the first quarter of 2017 with a loss of 16.8% after already losing 6.5 percent in 2016. Sales of small sports cars dropped to 69,938 in Q1 as 9 out of the 13 models lost volume, of which 7 with double digits. The top-3 are the American muscle cars, which hold more than three quarters of the segment and they lose slightly faster than the rest of the segment. And keeping in mind sales of muscle cars have traditionally proven to be a bellwether for the entire US car market, this could be yet another indication that car sales have hit their peak. Hopefully the facelifted Ford Mustang can breathe some much-needed new life into the segment. The only other sports car news in 2017 will be the new Toyota Supra, co-developed by the Japanese brand with BMW.
The exotic car segment in Europe grew at double the overall market growth in 2016, at +12%, helped by a handful of new products. But the leader of the segment remains unchanged, even though the Bentley Continental GT gains just 5% and therefore loses 2 percentage point of share. In Q4, the Continental GT was even down a worrying 11,5%. The Ferrari 488 continues where its predecessor 458 Italia left off: in 2nd spot, ahead of chief rival Lamborghini Huracan, which also gains just 5%, but had a more positive Q4 at +64%. The Ferrari F12, about to be replaced by the 812 Superfast in 2017, almost doubles its sales in the fourth quarter to finish the year with a 31% gain. 2016 has been a great year for Italian V12 supercars, because Lamborghini Aventador does even better at +135% in the fourth quarter and +48% for the year.
Sales in the Small Sports segment fell by 6.5 percent in 2016 to 319,406 – a useful 40 percent higher than during the sector’s low in 2009, but still some 30 percent below where the segment was a decade ago. The decline is faster than for the Premium Small Sports segment, but almost identical to that for the Premium Large segment. The segment’s prospects don’t look that great for 2017, either: the big-selling new muscle-cars are losing customers (Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro), many of the models are getting on in age but are unlikely to be replaced anytime soon as manufacturers put their efforts and resources into SUVs (Dodge Challenger, Nissan 370Z, Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ), while the demise of the Scion brand will see the end of the well-selling Scion tC. Probably the only truly new model that will arrive in 2017 will be the new Toyota Supra, co-developed by the Japanese brand with BMW.
Sales of exotic cars in Europe grow at double the overall market in the first three quarters of 2016 with an increase of 15% to 4.773 units, compared to +7,5% of the rest of the market. More than half of those sales are for just two models: the Bentley Continental GT / GTC and the new Ferrari 488. The Ferrari was the segment leader in Q2 but the Bentley outsold it in Q1 and Q3. That means the British coupe and convertible is likely to celebrate its 5th consecutive year as the best selling exotic car in Europe, with either the 488 or its predecessor Ferrari 458 Italia not far behind for most of that time. The Lamborghini Huracan consolidates its third place thanks to the arrival of the Spider version. The Rolls Royce Dawn was the #4 of the segment in Q3 and moves to 7th place year-to-date with a good shot at moving up one more place by year end, trumping the Aston Martin DB9, which is being replaced by the al-new DB11.
Sales in the Small Sports segment declined by 4 percent in the third quarter of 2016, a recovery after the 15 percent decline recorded in the second quarter of the year. This means that the segment did better than the Sports Large segment but not as well as the Small Premium Sports segment, the only one of the three to record a rise in sales so far this year.
Sales of exotic cars in Europe outgrow the overall market in the first half of 2016 with an increase of 15% to 3.182 units. More than half of those sales are for just two models: the Bentley Continental GT / GTC and the all-new Ferrari 488. The Ferrari was the segment leader in Q2 but the Bentley still leads year-to-date. This will be an interesting battle for the segment pole position by year-end, the British coupe and convertible having led the segment since 2012 with the 488’s predecessor Ferrari 458 Italia not far behind for most of that time. The Lamborghini Huracan recovers in third place after a dramatic Q1, now that the Spyder version is fully available as well.
Sales in the Small Sports segment in the US declined by 7% in the first half of 2016 to 172,040 vehicles. After showing a 3% growth in Q1, sales in the segment plunged by 15% in Q2. Shock and horror in the model ranking: the Chevrolet Camaro, leader of the American Muscle cars from 2010 till 2014 before relegating that title to the new generation Ford Mustang, has been outsold in Q2 of 2016 by the Dodge Challenger for the first time since the launch of the fifth generation Camaro in 2009. The Challenger, whose current third generation was launched in 2008 has edged out the Camaro in two separate months before (March and October 2015, each time by less than 160 sales), but in the second quarter the Challenger beat its rival in both May and June for a total advantage of 1,360 sales, giving it a Q2 advangate of 315 sales. The Camaro had built enough of an advantage in the first four months to stay ahead for the first half, but Dodge has smelt blood and the battle is on for second place in the segment.
Sales of exotic cars in Europe outgrow the overall market in Q1 of 2016 with an increase of 11% to 1.459 units. About one third of those are for the Bentley Continental GT, which still comfortably leads the segment despite the arrival of the Ferrari 488 GTB in showrooms. Last year’s #3, the Lamborghini Huracan, suffers from the new competitor and drops to fifth place, even though deliveries of the Spyder started this quarter. We’ll have to wait and see how sales develop in the next quarter, when the drop-top version reaches its full potential, before jumping to conclusions about the Gallardo replacement. The third podium position is now held by the Aston Martin DB9, up 38% despite being in the final stages of its life cycle and its replacement DB11 ready to take over.[Read more…]