The domestic passenger car market in China edges up by 0,8% in November 2017, to judy over 2.55 million sales, the highest volume of the year so far. With such a slow growth rate and a December ahead of us which showed booming growth rate last year, it will be difficult for the Chinese car market to reach its expected 5% growth rate in 2017. Year-to-date sales for the first 11 months are up 3,07% to 21,64 million and we expect the market to be stable again in December, which would give us a total of 24,24 million sales in 2017, up just 2,7% on 2016 and the slowest growth rate in modern history, down from 17,2% last year. At least we can be almost sure the market will show another record year as sales would have to be downby 25% in December for a full-year decline (or down to its 2015 level, which hasn’t happened a single time so far this year). Last December, consumers were rushing to buy new vehicles before the sales tax increase on vehicles with engine sizes of 1.6 liters and below rose from 5% to 7,5% on January 1st, 2017. A similar effect will be noticeable this year, as the tax will increase to 10% on January 1st, 2018.
Back to November: the only segment to show growth was that of crossovers and SUVs again, which were up by 10% to nearly 1,1 million sales (YTD up 14%), while sedans were down 3,8% to 1.23 million sales (YTD down 1,4%) and MPVs took the biggest hit at -10,3% to 227.000 sales (YTD down 12,5%). Within those sales figures, sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids (New Energy Vehicles) jumped 83% to 119.000, or 4,7% of the market. Full EVs took the grunt of those sales, rising 75% to 102.000 while PHEVs gained 154% to 17.000 sales. For the first 11 months, EV and plug-in hybrid sales rose 51% to almost 609.000 units, or 2,8% of the total 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 was originally planned to be imposed in 2018 but which has been postponed to 2019. This year, total sales of New Energy Vehicles are expected to top 700.000. [Read more…]
After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for November, let’s zoom in on the models ranking.
November saw some unexpected sales surges in the Top 10. While nothing exciting happened in the Top 3, five of the remaining seven models registered growth rates of over 20%! Of these the sales growth experienced by the new Toyota Camry is fully expected, as the new more exciting model seems to be getting early purchase with customers, while the new Honda CR-V is once again seeing good sales growth. The bigger surprises came from market stalwarts such as Nissan Rogue, whose sales were up by over 35% and which came within 1,000 units of outselling Ram Pickup in third, as well as Honda Civic and Ford Explorer, the latter of which placed in the Top 10 for the first time ever! (In fact, it may be the first time a Mid-sized SUV has placed in the Top 10, a place normally occupied by Large Pickups, Compact and Mid-sized cars, and Compact SUVs. By comparison, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape had a quiet month in eight and ninth place.
The see-sawing we have observed in the US market in the past few months continued in November, with a sales increase of 1.4%. This follows a decline in October, growth in September, and eight straight months of decline before that. As a result of the larger decline in sales earlier in the year the market is still down 1.2% YTD, but this still looks much better than the position it was just four months ago in July, when it was down 2.6% YTD. It is still much too early to talk about a recovery per se, but the signs are the worst decline has been halted for now.
After looking at the October 2017 car brand sales in Europe, let’s take a closer look at individual model sales figures. For the last two months we’ve had a newcomer to the podium, with the Skoda Octavia scoring a best-ever 3rd place in August followed by the Nissan Qashqai jumping to a surprise 2nd place in September, and in October we welcome back the Peugeot 208 on the podium for the first time since May 2013, marking only the 5th time the 208 scores this high. For comparison: its predecessor 207 finished on top of the ranking in 2007 and in 2nd place a year later. The 208 is not far behind its rival Renault Clio and outsells all other subcompact cars this month. Not to discount its performance as sales are up 14,5%, but it also benefits from unusual circumstances at some of its rivals with both the Ford Fiesta (still down 10,4% but back up to #4 now that deliveries of the new generation are picking up traction) and the Volkswagen Polo (-41% to #22) hampered by their generation changes and the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa (-18,3% to #15) hurt by a reduction in fleet deliveries by the brand’s new owner PSA, as well by a decline in overall UK volume. The two French subcompacts trail the market leader Volkswagen Golf which is impressively up by 24%, its fourth straight month of growth (and its second with double digits) after a 14-month losing streak. An impressive rebound considering its facelift has been only minor in terms of cosmetics and the VW Group has added a number of crossovers to its line-up that are expected to cannibalize sales from the regular hatchbacks and station wagons.
European sales of passenger cars returned to growth in October 2017 after a one-month decline in September. 1,2 Million new cars were registered in Europe, which leads to a 10-month figure of 13,1 million, an increase of 3,5% on the same period last year and more than the 2014 full year figure. That means 2017 is very likely going to be the fourth consecutive year of growth after hitting a low of 12,3 million sales in 2013. Sales of regular cars (hatchbacks, station wagons, sedans, coupes and convertibles) are up by 0,5% (YTD: -0,5%), while MPV sales are down by 5,5% (YTD: -11%) and sales of crossovers and SUVs are booming just like in the US and China: up 19,8% (YTD: +16,7%).
Among the five biggest markets Spain, France (both +13,7%) and Italy (+7,1%) outgrow the European market while Germany (+3,9%) trails and the United Kingdom continues to struggle with another double digit loss (-12,2%). Besides the UK, only Ireland (-13,8%) and Finland (-4,6%) lose volume in October, while Bulgaria (+41,3%), Lithuania (+33%) and Hungary (+30,4%) show impressive growth rates. Year-to-date, Italy (+8,9%) and Spain (+7,3%) are the fastest growing among the five largest markets, followed by France (+4,8%) and Germany (+2,3%). In contrast, UK sales are down by 4,6% so far in 2017.
Sales of domestic passenger cars in China edges up by half a percent in October 2017, to almost 2.32 million sales, the highest volume of the year so far. With such a slow growth rate and 2 months ahead of us with booming growth rates last year, it will be difficult for the Chinese car market to reach its expected 5% growth rate in 2017. Year-to-date sales for the first 10 months are up 3,34% to just over 19 million. If the pace does not improve for the full year, it would be the slowest growth rate in modern history, and down from 17,2% last year. At least we can be almost sure the market will show another record year as sales would have to be down 12% in the last 2 months for a full-year decline (or down to their 2015 levels, which hasn’t happened a single time so far this year). Back to October: the only segment to show growth was that of crossovers and SUVs again, which were up by 13,5% to 995.600 sales (YTD up 17,3%), while sedans were down 3,9% to 1.116.200 sales (YTD up 1,9%) and MPVs too the biggest hit at -13,2% to 205.600 sales (YTD down 5,7%). Within those sales figures, sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids jumped 107% to 91.000, or 4% of the market. For the first 10 months, EV and plug-in hybrid sales rose 45% to almost 490.000 units, or 2,6% of the total 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 was originally planned to be imposed in 2018 but which has been postponed to 2019. This year, an estimated 700.000 New Energy Vehicles are expected to be sold.
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in October stood at 25,8 million, a similar level as last month. The share of domestic automakers in October jumped to 42,8%, up 3 percentage points on September and the highest figure since last March, but still down from 44,2% in October 2016. Sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments were down 2,7%, compared to a gain of 5,2% for European brands, +5,3% for US brands and +10% for Japanese. In contrast, South-Korean brands continued their losing streak to 10 months as they lost 21,5% in October and 53,1% YTD. [Read more…]
The segment with the highest growth in 2016 registers its first quarterly loss in years
After barely growing in the first two quarters the Small Pickup segment shrank by 1% in the third quarter of 2017, a substantial climbdown for the hefty 26% growth rate the segment registered in 2016. Moreover, with the replacement for the Nissan Frontier, the eagerly-awaited Jeep Wrangler pickup and the return of the Ford Ranger still a while away, it is unlikely the segment will see a huge upturn anytime soon.
Sales in the Large Pickup segment grew by 6% in the third quarter of 2017, slightly faster than in the second quarter and pretty much the same as in the first, giving this large segment impressive consistency. With the new RAM Pickup and Chevrolet Silverado on the horizon, things may kick up the gear for the segment in 2018, as it continues to claw back ground it lost in recent years to the Small PIckup and Commercial Vans segments.
After a slight decrease in the second quarter of 2017,sales of exotic cars in Europe have returned to double digit growth with a 10% increase in the third quarter. As a result, the year-to-date figure is still up 16% to just over 5.500 units. The all-new Aston Martin DB11 has already lost the segment lead it took in the first quarter, as it was down into third place in both Q2 and Q3. The best seller in the third quarter was the former segment leader Bentley Continental GT, even though the next generation of that model has already been revealed and will hit showrooms in 2018. The current generation lost 13% of its volume in the third quarter. The Ferrari 488 was up 13% in Q3 and holds on to its top spot for now, but it will be a tight race with the Continental GT if the latter keeps up its momentum. If the Bentley manages to top the ranking again this year, it would mark the 6th consecutive year the model will do so. For the 488 it would be the first time in its career. Its predecessor 458 Italia never took the title, as the last time a Ferrari was the best selling exotic car in Europe was in 2009, the last year of the F430. The only other model to sell over 150 units in Q3 is the Lamborghini Huracan, up 8% on last year.