November 2016 car sales in Europe are back in the positive after a slight drop the month before. A total of 1.176.026 new passenger cars were registered last month, an increase of 4,7% on the same month last year. That brings the 11-month total to 13.833.784 sales, up 6,5% on the same period last year and less than 300.000 sales from the 2015 full-year score for the 30 countries that make up the EU + EFTA. In other words, 2016 is going to be the third consecutive year of growth for the European car market after hitting rock bottom with less than 12,3 millions sales in 2013. All major markets showed improving sales, with the Southern European leading the way once again: Spain (+13,5%), France (+8,5%) and Italy (+8,2%) were outperforming, while the UK (+2,9%) and Germany (+1,5%) grew slower than the rest of the market. As 12 of the smaller markets grew by double digits (let by Hungary at +42,8%), The Netherlands (-20%) and Bulgaria (-7,1%) were the only losers in November.
Get ready to see some sales records shattered again: in November the Chinese car market broke its 11-month old record of 2,38 million sales in a single month by 150.000 units to over 2,53 million sales, an increase of 19,6% on last year’s November, which happened to be the first time Chinese car sales topped the 2 million sales milestone. It also means that China has broken 2015’s full-year record of 20,18 million sales already in November, as the year-to-date tally now stands at 21 million sales in 2016. Again, the purchase tax cut on vehicles with an engine of 1,6 liters or less fueled the market, as the central government still hasn’t decided (or at least made public) whether to extend the tax cut into 2017. If they keep this up, next month could be yet another monster month, breaking this month’s record again. Regardless of the outcome, pulling forward these car sales will have a moderating effect on the first few months of 2017, as analysts uniformly agree the next two years will see Chinese car sales plateau. Then again, analysts have been predicting this scenario for a few years now, and they keep getting proven wrong as the Chinese auto market has continued to grow sharply against all odds.
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate again hit a new record in November at 26,4 million units. Sales of crossovers and SUVs shot up 41% to 1,02 million units, while deliveries of sedans increased 10% to 1,28 million and MPV sales grew 8% to 235.700. The share of local brands dipped from their record of 44,35% in October to 42,42% in November, still above the average of this year, as year-to-date the local brands have a share of 40,67% of their home market, compared to just 37,66% over the full year 2015.
After discussing the European car brands sales for November 2015, let’s zoom in on which models stood out of the crowd last month. For the fifth time this year and the second time in a row, Volkswagen monopolizes the top-2 positions with the Golf and the Polo. In fact, the entire top-6 is exactly the same as in October. The Polo’s good run won’t be enough for the Polo to take the #2 spot over the full year, because the Ford Fiesta has enjoyed exceptionally strong months in March and September on its UK volume. It looks like the top-10 positions are cemented for the full-year ranking, there’s just a small chance the Passat may have such a strong December to leapfrog the Peugeot 208 for 8th place.
The Audi A3 outsells the Ford Focus to take 11th place and the all-new Opel/Vauxhall Astra is just one spot and less than 250 units behind the Focus. After a short hiccup in October, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (#18) is back well ahead of the BMW 3-series in 23rd place, while the Audi A4 is down to #45 as it is changing to the new generation. In fact, the A4 is even outsold by the Audi A6 (#40) for the first time since February 2012. The A6 benefits from the upcoming model changes for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (#56) and BMW 5-series (#59). [Read more…]
Car sales in Europe got a significant boost in November, up 13,25% to 1.116.838 sales, the second-best improvement this year. That pulls up the year-to-date total to 12.967.470, which is an improvement of 8,36% on 2014. This means we’re still on track to cross the 14 million unit barrier this year. To hit that threshold, December sales need to improve by only 3,7% and we’ve been below that figure only three months this year.
After a short hiatus in October, Volkswagen Group and Renault-Nissan are back as the biggest gaining manufacturers in November, this time joined by Ford Motor Company in third place. The only manufacturer to lose volume this month is DRB-Hicom with the Lotus sports car brand, down a mere 12 units after more than doubling in October. Tesla Motors continues its winning spell, followed by Mahindra&Mahindra thanks to its SSangYong brand, and Tata Motors thanks to both Jaguar and Land Rover increasing more than 70%. [Read more…]
Car sales in China are back in boom-mode in November: after a 15% gain last month, November sales are up 23,3% to over 2,1 million units, the highest monthly figure this year. November sales were helped by the tax cut on smaller models the Chinese government introduced in October, as sales of vehicles eligible for the tax cut totaled 1,56 million vehicles, up 29%. The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Selling Rate (SAAR) was up from 19 million units in September and 21,8 million units in October to 22,5 million units, close to the January score. As a result, the Chinese car market is up 7,3% so far this year, so although December also expected to be a blockbuster month, it’ll be a stretch to assume we’re going to end 2015 with double digit growth, but nothing is impossible in China. Still, we’re only 772.000 units off the 2014 full year figure, and with over 2 million sales expected in December, we are going to get a new Chinese sales record in 2015.
All segments of the market showed improvements this month, unsurprisingly led by the SUV segment, as demand for compact crossovers boosted SUV and crossover sales 72% to over 716.000 units, while sedan sales were up 9,1% to 1,17 million units and MPV sales were up 8,8% to over 218.000 units. The market share of local manufacturers was slightly down on October to 39,3%.
Please note these figures exclude import models, unless specifically noted.
In November, Volkswagen finally rebounded from its 8-month slump with sales up 37% thanks to year-best sales for the Bora, Lamando and Lavida sedans, but due to slow sales earlier this year VW is still down 4% year-to-date. Buick consolidates its second place with sales up 22% in November thanks to the new-for-this-year Verano and Excelle GT and the Envision SUV, which will be exported to the US next year. Nissan moves from 8th place year-to-date and 5th place in October to 4th in November, boosted by the instant success of the Lannia sedan, introduced last month and already passing the 10.000 unit mark, without cannibalizing sales of the brand’s other small and compact sedans Sunny and Sylphy. Crossovers also helped Nissan become the best selling Japanese brand in China this month, as the Qashqai, X-Trail and Murano lodged solid year-over-year improvements. [Read more…]
After discussing the November 2014 brands ranking, we will take a deeper look into which car models are selling well in the last quarter of 2014.
Behind the Volkswagen Golf, which racks up more than double the amount of sales of its nearest non-VW competitor, the Volkswagen Polo manages a second straight month in second place, as the Ford Fiesta suffers a particularly weak month, down 4.600 units on last year and down another spot into fourth as the Renault Clio passes it again.
Another impressive performance by the Skoda Octavia, in 6th place for the fourth time this year and twice in a row, compared to a 9th place year-to-date. The record ranking for the Czech compact sedan and station wagon remains the 5th place it October 2013.
Equally impressive is the 7th place for the Nissan Qashqai, also not a record for the model, but its 15.000+ sales mean that the British-build crossover is likely to finish 2014 above 200.000 sales for the fifth year in a row, despite the shift to the new generation this year. [Read more…]
After rising 6,3% in October, European car sales are up again in November 2014, for the 15th straight month, although with 984.578 units the growth rate has slowed to just 0,27%, the lowest this year, bringing down the year-to-date growth to 5,6% at close to 12 million units, which means 2014 is likely to finish at around 12,9 to 13 million sales, up 5 to 5,5 percent on 2013. However, I expect 2015 to be another difficult year with modest to no growth at all. And the slow recovery means the European car market is still a long way from pre-recession figures of around 15 million per year.
But some brands are growing much faster than others, as Jeep has more than doubled its November sales (up 133%), thanks to the addition of the small crossover Renegade and the continued success of the Grand Cherokee and the still very fresh Cherokee midsized crossover. MG Nanjing, the most successful Chinese manufacturer to date, despite being only present in the UK, continues its strong performance at +126,7%. And the third fastest growing brand is the Italian luxury automaker Maserati, which is enjoying a record year thanks to the successful Ghibli large premium sedan and its optional diesel engines.
In absolute figures, Nissan has added the most sales in November, gaining 6.363 units thanks to the new generations Qashqai and X-Trail and the addition of the Pulsar compact hatchback. Volkswagen and Seat follow suit, also thanks to their compact models Golf and Leon. [Read more…]