Sales of exotic cars in Europe are down sharply in the first half of 2015. The segment was flat in 2014, but lost 15% of its volume this year. Please note that I’ve decided to no longer classify the BMW i8 as an exotic car, and have moved it to the large sports car class, as it competes more directly against the Porsche 911, Jaguar F-type and Mercedes-AMG GT. That means the Bentley Continental GT continues where it finished 2014: on top of the exotic car segment, thanks to sales down just 6%. Its closest competitor the Ferrari 458 Italia is down 29% as its replacement has already been revealed: the Ferrari 488 GTB. We now find the Lamborghini Huracan in third place with sales up tenfold on its introduction year. The Huracan still sells just over half of the volume of the 458, but that’s the closest it or its predecessor the Gallardo have ever been to the Ferrari 360, F430 or 458 Italia. The freshness of the Huracan and the model changeover at Ferrari are to be credited for this, but also the Huracan’s softer, less polarizing design. Although I still think Lamborghini’s are supposed to have extreme design, it’s what makes the brand stand out from Ferrari. [Read more…]
It’s happened. As predicted, the BMW i8 sweeps the exotic car segment, knocking down the previous leaders Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari 458 Italia off the top spot with a 37% share of the segment. In its introduction year, the i8 already managed to climb onto the podium, not far behind the 458, and its sales in the last few months of 2014 already indicated that the Plug-In Hybrid BMW sports car would be ultra-dominant this year.
With an average of 250 units a month in Q1, and with sales restricted by supply, BMW could easily sell more than 2.000 units this year, something no exotic has achieved since the Continental GT and the Ferrari F430 did so in 2008. [Read more…]
The shift from mainstream to premium is best visible in the coupe segments, where sales of coupe models from mainstream brands have dropped by almost one fourth last year, while sales of premium brands have increased by a third to become more than twice as big a segment.
All models in the mainstream coupe segment lost volume in 2014, as the ranking has remained virtually the same as last year. The Opel/Vauxhall Astra GTC still leads ahead of the Renault Megane Coupe and the Volkswagen Scirocco, all three with sales down less than the overall segment.
The Peugeot RCZ holds on to its fourth place, as its nearest competitors all lose more than half of their volumes, with the Hyundai Veloster taking the hardest hit and being overtaken by the Renault Laguna Coupe. The Nissan 370Z fares the least bad of all coupes, with sales down just 3% or 14 units despite its age. The 370Z is now not too far behind the Subaru BRZ anymore, its closest Japanese rear-wheel drive competitor. [Read more…]
Sales of convertible cars have slowed their decline in 2014, but the segment still has reached a record low for the continent. An easy explanation for this is the crisis that has hit many European manufacturers hard, so they can no longer afford to spend a lot of development and marketing Euros on slow selling models, even if they could work as image-builders for the brand. Faced with the decision whether to develop a low-volume cabriolet or a potential high-volume crossover, most of the mainstream manufacturers have opted for the latter.
It doesn’t help that droptop models don’t sell outside of Europe and the US, which means that the market remains limited to just Europe in the case of the French brands, who used to make some of the most popular cabriolets on the market with the Peugeot 207CC and 307CC / 308CC or Renault Megane CC. As these models are being phased out without any word on a ragtop version of their successors, sales of convertibles in France are down the harshest of all markets.
The Fiat 500C continues to lead the segment, although it’s technically not a 100% cabriolet, because its B-pillar and C-pillar remain intact as its roof is basically not much more than a large sliding canvas sunroof, a similar system as the DS3 Cabrio. [Read more…]
There was a time when the choice of a german sports car was simple – you either got the Porsche 911 or, well, you looked elsewhere (probably Italy). The best Audi could offer you was a fast Quattro model or, later, a super-Golf called the TT; BMW dabbled with the M1 and Z8, but those cars really just made you run faster for the competition; even mighty Mercedes hadn’t really offered anything tasty since the gull-wing 300SL. But oh, my, how the times have changed – now we (or at least those with big money) are spoilt for choice with these great four options. So, which one is your poison?
#5: Koenigsegg Regera
Why is it here? Because it has more than 1,500hp from its hybrid drivetrain, because it can reach 400km/h almost 3 seconds faster than the Porsche 918 reaches 300km/h, and because it comes from a small swedish company whose name means “knife’s edge”
Sales of exotic cars in Europe have accelerated their growth curve in the fourth quarter, and almost all of that growth can be attributed to a single model: the BMW i8. The i8 was already the best selling exotic car in the third quarter, but in Q4 its sales shifted up another gear, as BMW’s Plug-In electric hybrid took a commanding 41,6% share of the segment with 612 sales. As a result, the i8 has come within 150 units of the Ferrari 458 Italia in the full-year ranking, even though customer deliveries didn’t officially start until June. In 2015, look for the i8 in first position of the segment from day one.
This would push the Bentley Continental and the 458 Italia down into second and third place after these two models have controlled this segment for the past three years. And while the Ferrari threatened the Bentley as the 458 Speciale was the hottest product in the first half of 2014, its sales have started to thaw in the second half, when rumors of the 2016 launch of its replacement started to surface. That model, the 488 GTB is due in 2016 and will be Ferrari’s second turbocharged sports car after the recent California T. [Read more…]