Sales of compact luxury cars in Europe are down 6% in the first quarter of 2019 to just over 200.000 units. Only three nameplates manage to improve their sales in this period while all but all the others are down by double digits. After storming to the top of the chart in 2018 for the very first time ever, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class distances its competition further this year, with a 34% increase in deliveries and a 7,4 percentage points improvement of share, as it now holds almost a quarter of the segment sales by itself. That leaves the former segment leader Audi A3 down into 2nd place with a loss of 3% and the BMW 1-series in third place with a loss of 11% as a new generation will arrive later this year. That will be the end of the 1-Series as the only rear-wheel drive hatchback in the class as it will shift to the front-wheel drive platform of the 2-Series Active Tourer, X1 and Mini hatchback, among others. Mercedes-Benz has a second model that improves its sales in this class, with the B-Class up 5% thanks to its all-new third generation, moving past its direct rival BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer, and this is before a first-ever 7-seater version of the B-Class is launched. The 2-Series vans are down 29% despite relatively successful sales of the plug-in hybrid version, which makes up about 20% of the model’s sales. In sixth place we find the third Mercedes-Benz model with the CLA, down 15% as the new, second generation is just arriving in showrooms. Undoubtedly, the CLA will end the year in the positive when deliveries of the new model, including the Shooting Brake version, start to gain traction. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe are on track to a fourth consecutive and their largest annual decline, starting 2019 with 27% fewer deliveries than in the first quarter of 2018. Just under 128.000 midsized MPVs were sold and delivered in these three months as only three nameplates managed to improve their sales on last year. Besides the competition from crossovers, it appears some potential MPV buyers are also cross shopping with van-based MPVs like the new Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Rifter as these balance their lower refinement with a lower price and more practicality. The fact that Opel/Vauxhall is not replacing the Zafira but giving its new van that same name instead is another indication of this trend. After ceding its top spot to the Renault Scenic in 2018, the Volkswagen Touran is back on top of the ranking in 2019, even though both models are down by exactly the same percentage in Q1, at -21%. That means both also improve their share of the segment significantly, while their nearest rivals from the last few years tumble hard. The Citroën C4 Picasso (now renamed C4 Spacetourer) loses 42% of its volume as the former segment leader (2014 and 2015) is down into 5th place. And with the arrival of the brand’s first compact crossover C5 Aircross, the bleeding isn’t yet over for the C4 Picasso. In fact, production of the 5-seater version will end and only the 7-seater Grand version will continue to be sold, as the brand doesn’t yet offer a 7-seat crossover.
After five years of domination, the Audi A3 is no longer the best selling compact car from a luxury brand in Europe. In 2018, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class topped the charts for the very first time, as the overall segment shrank for the second year in a row, to below 800.000 sales, 5,2% of the entire European car market. The A-Class, helped by the introduction of the fourth generation, gained 7% to set the nameplate’s highest annual sales figure since 2005 at over 150.000 sales. The A3 lost 13% of its sales while the BMW 1-series was down 7% and was stuck in third place. Just off the podium we find two MPV models, of which the BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer is still the best seller despite losing 20% of its sales, as the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is down just 6%. The Mercedes-Benz CLA is down 9% which means it maintains is share of the segment, despite slowly starting to age. [Read more…]
The midsized MPV segment in Europe has declined for the third consecutive year and 2018 shows the biggest loss yet with a loss of 20% on the previous year to over 600.000 sales, the lowest annual sales since 1999, not long after the Renault Megane Scenic jumpstarted this segment in 1997. Sales of midsized MPVs peaked in 2006 and 2007 at nearly 1,5 million sales in Europe, but are now down 60% from that level and falling quickly, with a loss of 42% just in Q4 of 2018. The segment is down one percentage point to just 3,9% of the overall European car market. Like in all MPV segments, brands are replacing their MPVs by crossovers which are more popular. Only one nameplate in the top-10 managed to improve its sales, two others saw single digit declines while the remaining seven players suffered double digit declines on 2017. In this harsh environment, the Renault Scenic takes the annual lead for the first time since the launch of its fourth generation in 2016 and improves its share of the segment thanks to a decline of “just” 15%. 2016 and 2017 leader Volkswagen Touran stabilizes its share but is down into second place, just ahead of the best seller in 2015 and 2014 Citroën C4 Picasso (now baptized C4 Spacetourer). However, as both the Scenic and the C4 Spacetourer are available in 2 versions, a normal 5-seater and a three-row Grand version, we should also combine the Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan with the Touran for an honest comparison. And then VW is still in the lead, despite a 33% loss for the Sportsvan, which is unlikely to be continued for much longer after the regular Golf is renewed later this year.
Segment decline speeds up, although still remains less bad than in 2017
Sales in the US Premium Compact segment fell by 9.8% to 38,690 in the first half of 2018, as the pace of decline accelerated from the relatively modest 7.5% in the first quarter of the year (although it is still declining slower than it did in 2017, when it shrank by more than a quarter). With the new Mercedes-Benz A-class saloon unlikely [Read more…]
Segment recovers after dismal 2017, although Lexus CT exit still pushes it into the red
Sales in the US Premium Compact segment fell by 7.5% to 18,119 in the first quarter of 2018, continuing the decline from 2017, albeit at a slower pace (the segment shrank by more than a quarter in 2017). With only the new Mercedes-Benz’s new A-class saloon on the horizon, 2018 might bring a repeat of 2017’s misery, as customers keep [Read more…]
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%.
Segment growth tops 25% thanks in large part to Chevy Bolt, despite Tesla Model 3 struggles
Having analyzed 2017 sales of hybrid green cars and PHEV green cars, let’s look at the final green segment: electric vehicles, or EV for short. Sales of EV vehicles rose by 19.2% to 29,486 in the fourth quarter of 2017, while overall sales in 2017 rose by 25.9% to 104,195. This makes this the second-fastest of all types of vehicles, second only [Read more…]
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.
Segment loses more sales than any other bar the small sports segment, with only Infiniti QX30 seeing sales rise
Sales in the US premium compact segment fell by 27.5% to 19,531 in the fourth quarter of 2017, pretty much in line with the segment’s form in 2017, when sales fell overall by 25.9% to 86,495. Such a decline made this the second-fastest shrinking segment in the US in 2017, behind only the sports small segment, which experienced a [Read more…]