Some two weeks ago Sergio Marchionne, one of the industry’s most polarizing figures, presented to investors the five-year plan for the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) group. A lot of ink has already been spilled analyzing the announcements, as well as models and whole brands missing from the presentation, so we won’t aim to add to that at this [Read more…]
We’ve discussed the 2016 success stories and disappointments of the Chinese car market, now we’ll focus on our expectations for 2017, like we’ve done for Europe. Looking ahead, even one year, can be very tricky. Last year we predicted EVs and PHEVs in China to continue their boom. From January to November 2016 sales of New Energy vehicles increased 102% in a market up 18%, to 282.292 units, including 41.796 in November alone. Pure electric car sales were the bulk of that volume with 208.839 units, an increase of 145%, while plug-in hybrid sales increased 35% to 73.453 units. And the good news is that although electric minicars/citycars still make up the bulk of China’s pure EV sales (62,2%), the real growth comes from the compact EV segment with sales up almost 9-fold. We also predicted two disappointments for 2016: DS and Volkswagen. DS was a no-brainer and you can read in our disappointments article, and for Volkswagen we said it would have to get used to single digit growth but the brand has shown remarkable resilience and has managed to grow 12,7% through November. While that’s still slower than the overall market, keep in mind the brand has completely missed the crossover hype in the same way PSA has, but it sedan-heavy line-up has continued to sell well. VW has launched 3 new nameplates in 2016: the Sportsvan has outsold its rival BMW 2-Series by almost 3-to-1, the Phideon is more of an image booster than a volume model at 800 monthly sales, but the C-Trek is the most promising with 5.600 sales in its first month.
1. Jeep: success
Like DS was last year, Jeep is a no-brainer here. The American SUV brand could easily have been mentioned among our success stories of 2016, as it has sold well over 100.000 units in its first year of local production in China, peaking at over 16.000 sales in November with its two models: Cherokee and Renegade. That puts the brand ahead of Cadillac, which did get a mention as one of the most successful brands in China last year. [Read more…]
For the second year, in what we hope will become an annual tradition here at CarSalesBase, we are using the incoming new year as motivation to reflect back at 2016 and look at its success stories (see here for the 2015 surprises, and here for the 2015 disappointments). Let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree!
For the past two decades, ever since Ford decided to make Jaguar into a global competitor to luxury car brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the British brand has suffered from false dawns and unfulfiffled promises. After doing surprisingly well in the US selling the much-derided X-Type and the uber-conservative S-type, with sales peaking at over 61,000 units in 2002, things took a turn for the worse, with sales dropping to around 15,000 a year, where they have been up until 2015.
This year, however, Jaguar is looking to sell over 30,000 cars for the first time in over a decade, more than doubling last year’s sales. The reason for this upswing is a barrage of new models, with particular success coming from the F-Pace SUV and the mid-sized XE (averaging about 1,500 and 1,000 units per month, respectively). The only bligth on the brand’s copybook is the relative failure of the new large XF to connect with the buyers, with sales in recent months substantially below the levels reached by its predecessor this time last year, no doubt hurt by cannibalization from its new stablemates.
When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles revealed this week that they were contemplating building a full-sized SUV on the platform of the next RAM pickup truck to compete with the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and Ford Expedition, I noticed a lot of “finally, what took them so long?” reactions, but also online replies that went along the lines of “they keep promising new vehicles and then delaying them”. Those commenters are probably right on both counts, but that’s not what this article is about.
My opinion on this vehicle is two-sided: on one hand I believe it fills a huge (no pun intended) hole in FCA’s North American line-up, one that has high profit margins for a limited budget, but on the other hand I don’t think this is the way of the future and they might have better ways to spend their limited R&D resources. And thirdly I’m not sure launching it under the RAM truck brand would be the best option.
Let’s start with the pros
A full-sized SUV based on the body-on-frame platform of their full-sized pick-up truck is not that expensive to develop than an all-new model on an all-new platform and it would spread the development costs of the pick-up truck platform over a greater number of potential sales. Besides that, these kinds of SUV’s typically sell for more than $ 50,000 and have profit margins north of $ 10,000 per vehicle. [Read more…]
I am generally not a huge fan of retro cars, though I do have a soft spot for the Chrysler PT Cruiser. I am particularly not a fan of companies spending tons of money on a retro-looking car, when the same amount could be put towards a car that is amazing looking without needing to copy anything else (think new Ford GT versus the previous one, Jag XF vs S-Type, BMW i8 vs Z8).
Premium large SUVs continue to progress as the segment grows 17% on the first nine months of last year. Almost 90% of this growth can be attributed to a single model, the new leader of the segment: the new generation BMW X5. The X5 almost triples its sales of the outgoing model last year, shooting up from fourth place to the top with more than 20% share of the premium large SUV segment. In second place is another model that’s been renewed and making big gains. The Range Rover Sport comes from fifth place last year to almost double its sales of the previous generation, which started sales in the third quarter of 2013.
These two have bumped the Mercedes-Benz M-Class from its distant and unthreatened leadership of last year, now down into the bottom spot of the podium. In 2015 and onwards the M-Class will be under further intensified competition as two former podium contenders will be replaced after both serving a decade or more. [Read more…]
Sales of large SUVs in Europe are up an encouraging 18% after declining since 2006 when total segment sales topped 200.000 units. This year, the segment that’s traditionally the domain of Asian manufacturers with the occasional American model trying its luck isn’t even going to reach a fifth of that total. The top-3 of the segment hasn’t changed since, and the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Toyota Land Cruiser have even increased their share to a combined three quarters of segment sales.
The Santa Fe has more than recovered from its slow start of the year by lodging a very impressive third quarter, in which the model improved 83% on Q3 of 2013. I guess Hyundai has dealt with supply shortages of the Santa Fe, as its new generation has proven very popular in the USA, China and Russia, markets where SUVs and crossovers are much more popular. The new generation Sorento has just been revealed at the Paris Auto Show, and it may threaten its sibling if supply of the latter remains constrained. [Read more…]
The midsized crossover segment is still enjoying a healthy growth pace, increasing sales 11% in the first three quarters of 2014, as 14 models in the top-20 have sold more units than they did in the same period last year.
The first model to lose sales is the Nissan Qashqai which has suffered from a model change-over to its second generation. I had expected the new model to have picked up the pace by now and to have returned into positive territory by now, but it has fallen below 20% segment share instead. Considering the last quarter of the year is traditionally the slowest, the Qashqai may fall below the 200.000 annual sales mark for the first time since 2009. But even if it does so, it won’t be by more than 5.000 units. Perhaps the successful introduction of the 7-seater Nissan X-Trail as a replacement to both the outgoing X-Trail and the extended wheelbase Qashqai+2 is hurting sales of its smaller sibling. The X-Trail has already more than doubled its volume of last year and was up into 13th place in September, ready to move past the C4 Aircross and Forester by the end of the year. [Read more…]
The premium large SUV segment has increased its growth rate from 11% in the first quarter to a whopping 23% in the second quarter, making it +16% for the first half of 2014.
Three main suspects are responsible for this growth: the BMW X5, as the new generation helps the model more than double last year’s sales and push it from third place to firmly in the lead of the segment. Then the Range Rover Sport, also thanks to the new generation which is much lighter than the outgoing and therefore more fuel efficient and easier to drive. It also sells more than twice as many as in the first half of 2013. And on a bit smaller scale but still worth mentioning: the Jeep Grand Cherokee, rising from 9th position to 5th as the new generation proves popular among European buyers. Jeeps best selling model is on track to reach its fourth consecutive year of increased sales and its highest annual sales figure since 2007. [Read more…]
The large SUV segment in Europe is showing resilience across the board: after losing almost a quarter of its volume in 2013, with all models down except for one, this year so far the large SUV’s are back up 7% and the success is shared by all models but two.
The Hyundai Santa Fe, the model that added the most market share from 2012 to 2013, now loses the most market share in the first half of 2014. This could still be a result of Hyundai’s strategic decision to restrict exports to Europe of the model, as it’s enjoying huge popularity in other markets like the USA and China, which have a much larger potential for SUV’s and crossovers.
As a result, the Santa Fe is dragging down the performance of the segment as a whole, because the other models combined actually show an increase of 17% on the first half of last year. [Read more…]