Sales of Large Sports Cars and Exotics fell by 5.5% in the first quarter of 2017, following a 10.4% decline in 2016. Total volume in this segment stood at 11,370 in Q1. And there’s not a lot of product news expected this year, so the decline is expected to last throughout the year. Then again, keep in mind the segment peaked at over 60,000 sales in 2015, when it almost doubled up in just 3 years time, so small declines after such an impressive growth curve are nothing to be ashamed of, especially on the lack of product news, as mentioned. We do welcome two newcomers to the segment compared to Q1 of last year, but both are still at the bottom of the ranking: the second generation Acura NSX and the all-new Ford GT.
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 Sports Large and Exotics segment fell by 10.4 percent in 2016 to 54,994, about a third lower than they were a decade ago. The segment’s prospects for 2017 are rather bleak: not only right now it seems that there will be no big new debuts in this segment in the coming year, the early indication is that customers are not very keen on the new, turbocharged iteration of one of the mainstays of the segment: Porsche 911.
Note: going forward, the segments Sports Large and Exotics have been merged, partly to align the US reporting with that for Europe, and partly because data for the old Exotic segment became very thin ever since sales estimates for the truly exotic brands (Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini) became unavailable.
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 Large Sports segment kept level in the third quarter of 2016, which combined in the saled declines in the first two quarters resulted in a 13 percent fall in sales so far this year, making it the worst performing from among the Sports segments.
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 Large Sports segment in the US fell by 14% in Q2 of 2016 to 13,668 vehicles, leading to a 16% drop in sales year-to-date. Every model lost volume in the first half of 2016, except for the Mercedes-AMG GT which was introduced during this period last year. In Q2, the facelifted Porsche 911 and the all-new Audi R8 gained volume, but not yet enough to offset their first quarter losses. These two models will finish the first three quarters and the whole year in positive territory, and so will the newcomer Acura NSX, naturally. However, that is unlikely to be enough to compensate for the drop-off in sales for the one model that sells more than the rest of the cars in the segment combined: the Chevrolet Corvette.
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…]
Sales in the Large Sports segment in the US fell by 20% in Q1 2016 to 11,091 vehicles, with every model but the Jaguar F-Type losing sales. While the facelifted Porsche 911 and Mercedes-Benz SL, as well as the new Audi R8, may bring back some positive growth to the segment later in the year, they may be unable to compensate for the drop-off in sales for the one model that sells more than the rest of the cars in the segment: Chevy Corvette.
Abarth 124 Spider
This is the tuned version of the Fiat 124 Spider, which in its turn is based on the fourth generation Mazda MX-5. That means a long hood, low seating position and short but stubby rear end. And of course rear wheel drive and a short-shifting manual gearbox. The Abarth looks more militant than the Fiat thanks to its black hood and trunk lid, but the powerboost of just 10 hp to 170 hp isn’t very impressive and the chassis can handle more power for sure. I hope they’re coming up with more impressive hardware in the future, for example the 300 hp 1,8 liter they’ve mounted in the rally-spec Abarth hard-top. That unit has been mounted further back in the engine bay for better weight distribution. But that’s not all: it looks so stunning you’d wonder why they don’t use a transparent hood to show their jewelry to the world.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
We’ve finally seen the mainstream versions of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, after having been teased with the Giulia QV for over six months now, and honestly I hate to say this, but I’m slightly disappointed with them. The Giulia looks absolutely stunning and very aggressive with the QV body kit, and the white one on display wasn’t too bad, but the blue and grey ones just look didn’t do it for me. The lame wheel designs didn’t help and neither did the uninspiring colors. I really hope this is Alfa’s attempt at following Audi’s strategy of making the basic car look so lame that anyone with even one drop of petrolhead-blood in his body is forced to spend extra on the optional sports package (or S-line for Audi) with body kit and a nice set of wheels to make the car look the way it’s supposed to look.
The Giulia will be available in Europe with three 2,2 liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, the 150 hp and 180 hp versions are rear-wheel drive only and the option of manual or automatic gearbox. The 210 hp diesel will only have four-wheel drive and an automatic. The 2 liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine will also come in three versions all with standard automatic gearbox. The entry-level version has 200 hp with rear-wheel drive, the 250 hp version has four-wheel drive and the 280 hp version surprisingly comes standard with RWD, but optional AWD. The next step up is the QV with 510 hp, as we already know.
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