After looking at the August 2017 car brand sales in Europe, let’s zoom in on individual model sales figures. The major thing to notice in the top-3 is the arrival of the Skoda Octavia behind the usual suspects VW Golf and Renault Clio. If last month the Octavia set a new personal best ranking with a 4th place, it immediately breaks that record in August, landing on the European podium for the first time since the nameplate’s was launched in 1996. The facelift with the double headlights must really have struck a chord with European buyers. In fourth place, the Volkswagen Tiguan equals the record ranking it also hit last April, and it’s Europe’s best selling crossover for the third time this year after April and January, and for the sixth time ever, after August, October and November of 2016. But wait, there’s one more record breaker in the top-5: the Dacia Sandero climbs two more spots on the personal best it set last month and is in the European top-5 for the first time ever. This also makes it a Renault-Dacia 1-2 in the subcompact car segment, as the Sandero outsells overall top-5 regulars like the Volkswagen Polo (#6), Opel/Vauxhall Corsa (#8) and Ford Fiesta (down to a record low of 32nd place), as well as other rivals like the Peugeot 208 (#9) and Toyota Yaris (#10). Granted, the Polo and Fiesta suffer from model change-overs and the Corsa is getting a bit long in the tooth, but that still doesn’t really discount the Sandero’s top performance with a gain of 23,3%. [Read more…]
The Chinese car market grows for the third consecutive month in August 2017, with a 6,5% increase to 1,87 million sales. That brings the year-to-date total to almost 14,5 million sales, an increase of 3,7% on the same period in 2016. Looking at the final four months of last year, they were exceptionally good in terms of sales volume due to the pending reduction of the tax cut on small vehicles (engines of less than 1,6 liters). The tax, which was temporarily halved to 5%, increased to 7,5% on Jan. 1st 2017 and will return to its normal rate of 10% on Jan. 1st 2018. This may give the Chinese car market another boost in the final few months of this year, but will it be enough to keep the market from decreasing for the first time in a couple of decades? The year-end rally in 2016 pulled forward a lot of sales, which translated in a slow start of 2017 and that may be difficult to make up in the final few months of the year. Back to August: crossovers and SUVs continue their boom with an 18% increase to 760.700 sales, but for only the second time this year, after February, sedan sales also improved, up 4% to 954.800 units. The MPV segment remains weak with a decline of 19% to 155.200 sales. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a impressive improvement of 76% in August, to almost 68.000 sales. EVs were responsible for most of that growth, as sales increased 96% to 56.000, compared to a 22% increase for PHEVs, to 12.000. These figures add up to 260.000 EV and 59.000 PHEV sales in China so far this year, an increase of 30% on the first 8 months of 2016 and 2,2% of the overall market. The Beijing government has set a target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that will be imposed in 2018.
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in August stood at 24,9 million, the highest since last January and up almost a million on July. The share of domestic automakers in August was 38,5%, the lowest figure in the past 13 months and down from 39,15% in August 2016. However, it’s worth noting that the share of domestic brands in the crossover segment is an impressive 56%. Despite their success in this hot segment, sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments trailed the market growth at +4,7%, though still beat the US brands at +2,8% and the South-Korean brands at -27,2%, their lowest rate of decline since last February. With European brands up 8,7%, most of the growth in China came from Japanese brands at +25,3%.
After looking at the July 2017 car brand ranking in Europe, let’s discuss sales figures of individual models. Like in May, Volkswagen places 2 models on top, with the Polo in run-out mode to prepare for the new model that will arrive in showrooms shortly. With places 4 through 7 all within a margin of just 600 sales, we find a surprise in fourth place, as the facelifted Skoda Octavia improves its ranking record. Its previous best was a 5th place achieved in Oktober 2013 and August 2015. The Nissan Qashqai ranks 5th for the second time this year and frankly outsells its closest challenger Volkswagen Tiguan, which is out of the top-10 for the second month in a row and only 1.100 sales ahead of the Peugeot 3008, the fastest growing nameplate in the top-75. As the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is suffering from its advanced age compared to much fresher rivals, it is down to 6th place of its segment, behind even the Dacia Sandero and Toyota Yaris. The latter of these two is the biggest winner in the top-10 with a gain of 15% thanks to its facelift. The Corsa is also challenged by its new stablemate Citroën C3 in 13th place. [Read more…]
After two months of slumping sales in April and May, the Chinese car market recovers with two months of increases in June and July. July sales are up 5,4% on 2016 and a whopping 30,8% on July 2015, which was especially depressed when the Chinese stock market crashed, before the Beijing government stepped in with their tax reduction on vehicles with small engines. A total of 1,65 million new passenger cars were sold last month, naturally a new record for July sales in China. The year-to-date total now stands at 12,59 million sales, an increase of 3,4% on the first seven months of 2016. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate stands at 24 million in July, the highest figure since January. SUVs and crossovers are once again the main (and only) winners in April with sales up 18% to 689.500 units, while sedans decline for the fourth consecutive month at -0,3% to 824.900 sales and MPV sales continue to plunge at -11% to 136.500. New Energy vehicle sales improved 55% to 57.000 units, as EV sales gained 70% to 45.000 units and PHEVs rebounded for the second straight month at +16% to 12.000 sales. Year-to-date, EV and PHEV sales in China are up 22% to 251.000 sales, of which 204.000 EVs (up 34%) and 47.000 PHEVs (down 13%). Sales of domestic automakers were up 9,5% and their share is up from 38% to 39,5%, although that is the lowest share since last January. Japanese brand cars are up 16,3%, sales of US brand cars are up 3,9% and of European brand cars are up 0,9%, while sales of South-Korean brand cars are down 46,7%.
After analyzing the car brand sales ranking for June 2017, let’s take a look at sales figures of individual models. The Volkswagen Golf scores its 14th consecutive monthly loss but remains firmly on top of the ranking. The Renault Clio continues to gravitate at its high level, ahead of the Volkswagen Polo, which maintains a surprisingly high level of sales considering its successor has already been revealed and should arrive soon. We’ve seen similar trends at Audi with the replacements of the A3, A4 and A5, but of course the most extreme example is Volvo with the XC60 first generation which gravitates at record heights in the final months of its career. Despite a loss of 9%, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra is back up to 4th place for the first time since last August ( andup from a horrid 12th place in May) because the Ford Fiesta is down into 9th place as deliveries of the new generation are yet to gain traction. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa cannot benefit from the Fiesta’s demise as it too is down by more than 20% and out of the top-10. That means the Peugeot 208 is now the #3 best selling subcompact car, but even worse for the Corsa: the Dacia Sandero is only just over 400 sales behind, compared to a gap of over 10.000 sales a year ago. The Citroën C3 isn’t far behind these two either.
The Renault Captur is once again the best selling crossover in a record 5th place for the nameplate, despite a 6% loss on last year. The Nissan Qashqai is stable and keeps its place ahead of the Volkswagen Tiguan, even though the latter shows a massive 45,6% increase on its predecessor last year. After a horrid 20th place in May, the Ford Focus is back into the top-10 and is the best selling Ford since February 2012. The Renault Megane is finally climbing up the charts to #15 even though it loses 1,1% on last year. For the first time this year the Fiat 500 beats its platform sibling Panda for 2 months in a row. And for the first time since shortly after its launch, the Peugeot 2008 (#19) is outsold by the Peugeot 3008 (#18). The latter is a homerun for the French brand, as it’s only 2.000 sales behind the Tiguan (#14) and firmly in 3rd place of its segment. The Volkswagen Passat (#23) continues to sink down the ranking and is now only 13 sales ahead of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (#24), although the latter also includes the coupe and convertible versions. The Fiat Tipo (#26) has a third month of 15.000+ sales in the last four, and is closing in quickly on the Peugeot 308 (#25). [Read more…]
In the first six months of 2017, Chinese car sales are up just 3% to 10,93 million. If the market maintains this growth rate, it will become the lowest increase in more than 13 years and possibly in more than 25 years. And there’s reason to believe it will come to that scenario, if you look at the sales curve in the second half of 2016, with increasing sales in the last quarter due to a pending increase in sales tax on cars with engines smaller than 1,6 liters, from 5% to 7,5%. Then again, that same tax will rise again in 2018 to 10%, so sales may show a similar curve in Q4 of 2017 as consumers pull forward their buying decisions to benefit from the lower tax. Back to the first half of 2017, in which crossovers and SUVs gained 14,9% to 4,41 million sales, while sedan sales were down 2,5% to 5,42 million and MPV sales slumped 9,4% to 1,09 million. Of these 10,9 million total passenger car sales, 42,3% came from domestic brands and 57,7% from import brands, compared to a ratio of 41,3% vs. 58,7% in all of 2016, as sales of foreign brand vehicles have slightly dipped while sales of local brands have continued to rise, especially thanks to the introduction of a range of afFordable crossovers by almost every single brand.
But that doesn’t paint the complete picture, as European brand sales have remained virtually stable at +0,85% and US brand sales have improved only slightly better than the overall market at +3,86%. The big shift has taken place between Japanese brands and South-Korean brands, as the former are finally starting to recover from their troubles during a diplomatic spat between China and Japan in 2012 over a few islands in the East China Sea, even though only Honda and Mitsubishi have returned to the market share they held in 2011. Still, Japanese brands have grown at a pace of +16,36%, double the gains of the domestic brands, while Korean brands were the only nation to lose volume at a terrifying -46,7%. The reason for that demise has been explained in our monthly reports for the last four months, but there’s another underlying reason which has been going on for a longer period. The South-Korean brands never achieved the kind of mainstream status in China as they did in Europe or North America. They remained a low-cost, low quality option for customers who wanted an import-brand vehicle without having to pay the premium for an actual established brand from Europe, the US or Japan. When the domestic brands started to improve their quality and subsequently their brand image, and also started launching a huge number of afFordable crossovers to satisfy the demand for this type of vehicle, the Koreans were left behind as customers proved less brand loyal than expected. Especially Hyundai has been left behind in this race as its partner Beijing Automotive keeps on expanding the brand’s sedan range to no less than 9 models of different generations sold alongside each other with a 10th nameplate coming up, compared to just 4 crossovers. When recovering from the anti South-Korean sentiment, both brands need to be quick to launch afFordable crossovers to the Chinese market or risk facing reduced market shares for years to come.
After two months of small declines, the Chinese car market returns to a modest growth with sales up 3,2% to just under 1,79 million units. However, there have been reports that the June sales figures are artificially boosted by heavy discounts as 2017 sales threatened to lag behind 2016. Again, crossovers and SUVs are the only type of vehicle to improve year-over-year, with a 16% increase to 741.400 sales. Meanwhile, sedan sales were down 4,3% to 883.000 and MPV sales dropped 3,7% to 163.700 units. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a nice improvement of 33% in June to 59.000 units, of which 48.000 EVs and 11.000 PHEVs. For the first six months, sales of New Energy Vehicles totaled 195.000 (160.000 EV and 35.000 PHEV), an improvement of 14% due to a slow first quarter when the government reduced tax incentives on this type of vehicle. New Energy Vehicle sales represented less than 1,5 percent of China’s total new-vehicle volume in the first six months, but the Beijing government holds on to its target of 6,7% in 2020 and as much as 20% by 2025, helped by a carbon credit scheme that will be imposed in 2018.
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in June stood at 23,2 million, up from the last two months and the third-highest figure of the year so far. The share of domestic automakers was similar to that of May at 40% as all the growth in the market came from domestic brands while sales of import brand cars were stable. Year-to-date, the share of domestic brands now stands at 42,25%. First half car sales in China now total just over 10,9 million units, an increase of 3% on the first half of 2016. However, average transaction prices dropped 4% over the first half of 2017.
After looking at the May 2017 car brand ranking in Europe, let’s discuss sales figures of individual models. The first thing to notice is that the market leader Volkswagen Golf scores its first single-digit loss since last January, after 3 months with double digit losses of which April was the worst with a decline of 28,3% (or almost 14.000 sales less than April 2016), although it must have hurt more that the Golf was outsold by the Ford Fiesta in March. The facelifted version is now fully available and VW’s compact hatchback (and station wagon) can continue its dominance of the European car sales charts. In May its smaller sibling Polo was in 2nd place, just ahead of the Renault Clio, both above 30.000 sales for the second time this year. The Polo will be facelifted later this year, the Clio has just been freshened. Meanwhile, the new generation Fiesta is just entering dealerships across Europe and should start to make an impact later this year. For now the Fiesta is stuck in 4th place, ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, the biggest loser in the top-10 at -8,2%. [Read more…]
Car sales in China seem to have stalled after years of double digit growth. The main culprit for the slowdown has been mentioned on these pages before: the government has artificially boosted demand for cars with small engines since the 3rd quarter of 2015 when the market threatened to sink into the red due to a collapsing stock market and reduced customer confidence. That tax break has worked perfectly in pulling forward car purchases in Q4 of 2015 and in 2016 but it was cut in half by the beginning of 2017 and has since affected the Chinese car market in a negative way. Sales of vehicles with engines of 1,6 liters or less fell 9% to 1.15 million last month. In Q1, total market sales were still up by 5,7% but two months of declines have brought the year-to-date tally to 9,25 million, up just 2,7% on the first 5 months of 2016. A 2,2% loss in April was a first warning sign and now in May sales are down by another 2,1% to 1,71 million units. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate rebounded to 22,2 million, still the second lowest figure in the past 12 months. SUVs and crossovers continued to fuel the market with sales up 13% to 715.000 units in May, but this could not offset declines in deliveries of sedans (-9,3% to 839.000 sales) and MPVs (-17% to 150.000). The share of domestic automakers was the lowest since last August at 40,3% and it has fallen hard since its peak of 47,1% in February. However, compared to May 2016, the domestic brands have increased their sales 3% while the foreign brands saw their volume shrink by 5,5%. Year-to-date, the domestic share is now 43,4%.
After discussing the April 2017 European car brand sales ranking, let’s take a closer look at which individual models are helping their brand succeed or fail. After the freak event in March, when the Volkswagen Golf was not the best selling car in Europe, things have returned to normal in April, although the Golf is still the biggest loser by far in the top-25 wiht a loss of more than 28% on last year. The Golf lost more sales from April 2016 to April 2017 than its rival Renault Megane sold last month (Golf: -13.831 units). And while the Golf no longer sells double the volume of its nearest competitor, it still has a gap of almost 10.000 sales to the #2, as the entire top-3 is down. One culprit for the Golf’s demise is obvious in 4th place: the success of the Volkswagen Tiguan, up 70% to equal its highest ranking ever. Last month’s leader Ford Fiesta is down to 7th place as it’s payback time for its dependence on the UK market, which was exceptionally strong in March, but exceptionally weak in April. The same can be said of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, down 15% into 8th place. We welcome the Citroën C3 into the top-10 for the first time ever, as it even threatens to outsell its recently acquired stablemate Corsa. The Skoda Octavia is back into the top-10 which means there’s only one crossover in the top-10, as the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Captur are both just outside. The Captur is down 14% but remains ahead of its rivals Peugeot 2008 (#14) and Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X (#25), which are both down by single digits as competition in the segment has intensified by the arrival of new players. [Read more…]