Sales in the limousine segment in Europe improved sharply in the second half of 2017 to pull the full-year figure up 13% after a 5% gain in the first half. Nearly 46.000 limousines were sold last year, 0,3% of the total European car market. Despite this impressive gain, only 2 models in the segment top-5 improve on last year, as the segment leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class is stable with a 200-unit loss thanks to a 30% gain in the fourth quarter when the facelifted version became fully available. The S-Class lost 4,6 percentage points of share in 2017, but that’s still much better than its closest rival BMW 7-series which was only in its second full year of sales but already lost 13% of its volume and 7,6 percentage points of share as the new generation’s design apparently doesn’t have a long shelf life. On the other hand, this is the third-best year for the model since 2006, and don’t forget the S-Class also includes sales of the coupe and convertible versions. Big winner of the segment is the Porsche Panamera with sales up more than threefold thanks to the new generation. The Panamera outsold the 7-Series in both the third and fourth quarters, helped by the S e-Hybrid version, but was unable to topple the BMW for 2nd place in the segment. The Sport Turismo version should help the Porsche move ahead of its rival in 2018, but it remains to be seen if that’s also enough to grab the #2 spot then, as the new generation Audi A8 is also in showrooms and looking to move up a few notches.
The limousine segment in Europe has been re-energized in the third quarter of 2017 with a 21% increase in sales after small single digit improvements in the first half of the year. Almost all of the growth in the segment can be attributed to a single model, as only two other nameplates improve while 5 out of the 8 losers are down with double digits. The big winner is the Porsche Panamera with sales up almost six-fold on the previous generation last year, helped additionally by the launch of the Panamera S e-Hybrid in June, which accounted for 60% of the model’s sales since. That’s significantly higher than the brand’s own expectations of 10% to 15%. Part of the explanation for its success lies in tax benefits that some countries hand out to buyers of plug in vehicles. For example, the hybrid’s share of Panamera sales in Belgium was above 90%, and 70% in France. Balancing it out, about 25% of its sales in its largest market Germany are partly electrified. As a result, the Panamera was the best seller in July and in 2nd place of the segment in the third quarter ahead of the BMW 7-series but still behind the traditional leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Keep in mind that S-Class sales also include the Coupe and Convertible versions, so in pure sedan sales the 7-Series is on top of the ranking.
Sales in the limousine segment in Europe increased 4% in Q2 of 2017, and as a result the segment is up 5% in the first half, to 23.337 sales. However, 4 models out of the top-5 and 7 out of the top-10 show double digit declines in the second quarter as only one model more than makes up for all of their losses. Segment leader Mercedes-Benz S-Class sees its share of the segment thaw from a dominant 45% in the first half of 2015 to 38,7% in the first half of 2016 to “just” 32,8% now. Its segment leadership still cannot be touched, although we have to mention that its figures include sales of the coupe and convertible versions, so in terms of pure sedan sales, the BMW 7-series could be either very close or even ahead. Worryingly, the 7-Series is already down 19% in Q2 despite being still in its second year of sales. The main culprit of its early demise may the the new generation Porsche Panamera, which sold a healthy 2.670 copies in the second quarter, less than 500 sales behind the 7-Series. In fact, the Panamera was the segment leader in June, holding 31,2% of the segment that month and selling 200 more copies than both the Mercedes and the BMW. And this is before Porsche has launched the Sport Turismo version, a kind of shooting brake/station wagon version which should boost its popularity further.
Sales of premium midsized cars in Europe slightly declined in the second quarter of 2017, which leads to a slim 2% increase in the first half, to 378.426 sales. Of course that handily beats the 16% loss for the mainstream midsized segment, which is now almost 100.000 sales behind its luxury version. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class increases its share of the segment to over 25% thanks to a 5% increase in Q2, and it remains unchallenged by either of its two rivals Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, which both lose volume. The A4 is actually in serious trouble with a 22% loss in Q2 and not all of these losses can be attributed to the new generation Audi A5, as that model may be up 51% in the second quarter but in absolute terms Audi is still down 4.400 sales. One sidenote to the figures of the C-Class: they include sales of the coupe and convertible versions, which BMW and Audi sell under separate nameplates. When looking at combined figures, Audi takes the semgent lead with 110.822 sales, just ahead of BMW with 108.303 sales. [Read more…]
Sales of small crossovers in Europe are starting to plateau after booming growth in recent years. The segment grew by just 5% in Q2 and is now up 10% in the first half, to a record 853.391 units. However, as the segment leader has just been facelifted and a whole bunch of new models are ready to enter the segment, expect the growth to continue for the rest of this year and next. The Renault Captur is down for the first time in its career, losing 12% in the second quarter and 6% year-to-date, as the facelifted version is just making its way into the showrooms. Its segment leadership remains uncontested, as it still sold more than any other model in both quarters. Still, its closest two rivals, the Peugeot 2008 and the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka continue to grow and therefore the top-3 is getting closer to each other but also distancing themselves from the rest of the segment. In 4th place we still find the Dacia Duster, which is stable but therefore loses a full percentage point of share compared to the first half of 2016.
The midsized MPV segment in Europe slows down its decline in the second quarter of 2017, to a loss of 5%. The first half figure now stands at 416.044 sales, down 9% from a year earlier. The race for the segment lead is getting tighter, with the top-3 within 3.700 sales, while the #3 outsold both its rivals by a margin of 3.600 sales or more. Still, 7 out of the 12 remaining models show double digit declines in Q2 as MPVs are losing terrain from increased rivalry by crossovers. The Volkswagen Touran holds on to the #1 position it acquired in 2016, but the gap to the #2 Citroën C4 Picasso is only 1.500 sales. What’s more worrying for the Touran is the new generation Renault Scenic, which was the best seller in Q2 and is closing in quickly. The Scenic was only in 6th place in Q1 as it was hampered by supply issues but is now at full strength for the rest of the year, ready to reclaim the segment lead it last held in 2013. Fair enough, both the C4 Picasso and the Scenic are available in 2 sizes, while the Touran is one size only, and Volkswagen also offers the slightly smaller Golf Sportsvan. When combined, the Touran and Sportsvan hold almost a quarter of the segment volume in the first half. [Read more…]
Sales of small MPVs in Europe accelerate their decline in Q2 of 2017. After a 14% loss in 2016, a 10% decline in Q1, the segment loses 23% in the second quarter, bringing the first half figure to 146.494 sales, down 17% on last year. Surprisingly, one nameplate manages to improve its volume in Q2 and does so with double digits. The Ford B-Max, which has seen its sales decline every year since 2013, suddenly gains 15% in the second quarter, as dealers are getting rid of the remaining stock models before production is scheduled to end next September. This allows the B-Max not only to become the only model in the first half to increase its sales, but also to overtake the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva for 2nd place. The Meriva has been replaced by the crossover Opel/Vauxhall Crossland X and will also be phased out soon. As a result, segment leader Fiat 500L is likely to increase its share of this shrinking segment in the second half of the year, even though it too sees its demand fall, at a similar pace as the rest of the segment: -22% in Q2 and -18% in the half. The 500L now holds 27,6% of the segment. Three quarters of its sales come from its home market Italy, but at least it manages to be the best selling car overall in one European country: Serbia, where it is produced in the former Zastava (Yugo) factory.
The compact car segment in Europe showed a 4% in sales in the second quarter of 2017, which means the first half figure is stable on that of the same period last year. At 15,2% of the total market with over 1,27 million sales, the compact segment is the second-largest segment in Europe after the subcompact segment. Segment leader Volkswagen Golf loses 2,5 percentage points of share but still sells more than the #3 and #4 of the segment combined and the gap to the #2 is still more than 100.000 sales. One of the reasons for its 12% loss is the recent facelift which hurt availability, but it also suffers from in-house competitions from crossovers like the new generation Tiguan, Seat Ateca and perhaps even the Skoda Kodiaq. Coincidentally with its shift from GM to PSA, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra starts to slip with a 7% decline in Q2, although it’s still in the black for the first half. The battle for 3rd place remains close, but the recently facelifted Skoda Octavia outsold the aging Ford Focus by 5.800 sales in Q2 to edge out a narrow lead to reclaim 3rd place. The new generation Focus won’t arrive until next year, so the Octavia is expected to finish the year on the podium for the second year in a row. [Read more…]
The subcompact car segment in Europe grew by 6% in the second quarter of 2017 and a similar rate in the first half. It remains the largest segment in Europe by a large margin, with an 18,6% share of the total market, at almost 1,56 million sales in the half. The segment is very dynamic thanks to a number of new and updated models, with plenty more to come later this year. But some of the existing models also show continued strength. At the top of the ranking, the top-3 is back to how it was for the full year 2016 with the recently facelifted Renault Clio in the lead ahead of the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta. The latter two are about to be replaced by completely new generations and should give the Clio a run for its money if it wants to top the segment for a second consecutive year. The new Fiesta is already in showrooms at the moment this article is published and the Polo won’t be long behind. Big loser in the top-10 is the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa with a loss of 16% in Q2 as its 2014 facelift cannot hide that it’s basically already an 11-year-old design. Unfortunately for the model, its replacement isn’t due until 2019. That replacement will be developed on the PSA platform which also underpins the new Citroën C3.
Ford Mustang keeps losing sales as Chevy Camaro rebounds
Sales in the Mid-sized Sports segment fell by 14.5% so far in 2017, a reflection mainly on the dwindling popularity of the mighty Ford Mustang. However, while the headline figure is bad but not horrible, what should be more worrying is the fact that the segment has plenty of new cars such as Chevrolet Camaro, Audi TT, or the Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman twins, after an early rise their sales have all declined recently. What’s more, Dodge seems to be doing wonders with the Challenger, given how old that model is, but even that can’t last forever.