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.
After looking at the September 2017 car brand sales in Europe, let’s look at individual model sales figures. Keep in mind the September ranking is skewed towards models that are relatively popular in the UK, due to the twice annual license plate change that boosts March and September in this market, so the UK takes up about 30% of total European sales this month, compared to about 18% over the course of an entire year. The first thing that you’ll notice at the top of the ranking (and also a result of its success in its home market UK) is the record 2nd place for the Nissan Qashqai, whose previous best ranking was a 5th place which it hit 4 times, including twice this year ( February and July), but in September the Qashqai was the best seller in the UK, Spain and Finland, helping it outsell all subcompacts which usually crowd the podium behind the traditional leader Volkswagen Golf. The Renault Clio is in third place ahead of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, whose #4 position is the highest in 12 months for the nameplate, despite losing 22,2% of its volume on last year. The Corsa is suffering mostly from a 41% loss in the UK, which means this market accounts for 88% of its lost sales this month. The Volkswagen Tiguan makes it 2 crossovers in the top-5, while the Ford Focus benefits from the seasonal peak in UK sales where it is relatively strong to jump from 26th place in August to #6 in September. The last time the Focus ranked this high in Europe was June 2015. That leaves the Volkswagen Polo in 7th place as it’s not the #2 VW in Europe for the second consecutive month, something that hadn’t happened before in at least the last 10 years. The Skoda Octavia drops from its record #3 position last month to 8th, while the top-10 is completed by the Peugeot 208 and Toyota Yaris, a third consecutive top-10 finish for the latter. [Read more…]
The growth of the large passenger van segment in Europe slows down but is still in double digit territory thanks to ongoing success of existing models and a rejuvenation of a number of players. A 14% growth in Q3 brings the year-to-date figure for the first nine months of 2017 to nearly 196.000 sales, up 28% on the year before. The dominant segment leaders Volkswagen Transporter T6 and its luxury derivative Multivan continue to lose share with a 1% decline in sales in the third quater and just a 3% gain so far this year. VW’s share of the segment has reduced from almost one third of the segment to just over a quarter (from 32,7% to 26,4%). They still sell over double the volume of their closest rival, which was the Fiat Ducato in Q2 and Q3 thanks to campervan sales. The Ducato improves by 17% in the third quarter to outsell the Mercedes-Benz V-Class, but not by a large margin. Its year-to-date lead is large enough to be comfortable in 2nd place, even if we know its Q4 sales are traditionally half of those in Q3. Combining sales of the luxury V-Class with those of its more utilitarian version Vito Tourer, as VW does as well, Mercedes-Benz would be in 2nd place, still almost 12.000 sales behind the segment leader. [Read more…]
For the second consecutive quarter, the premium large SUV segment in Europe is faced with declining sales after years of booming, double digit growth. In Q3 of 2017, that turned to double digit decline with a loss of 14%, also bringing the year-to-date figure in the red at -3% to just over 210.000 sales. The segment leader BMW X5 lost market share with a loss of 22%. In fact, the entire top-3 lost with double digits and only 5 of the remaining 19 models improved their sales year-over-year in the third quarter. The other two models on the segment podium are in for a tight race by the end of the year, with the Volvo XC90 back in 2nd place in Q3 and the Audi Q7 down to 4th, behind even the Mercedes-Benz GLE. That leaves the Range Rover Sport in 5th place for the third quarter, even though it loses just 5%, outperforming the overall segment and all four of its closest rivals. Its sister model Land Rover Discovery does even better but does not yet manage to improve its volume at -1% in Q3 despite the arrival of the all-new generation in showrooms which gave the model a 42% gain in Q2. The Disco is up 13% year-to-date, the best performance in the top-9. The third model from JLR in this segment is the top-of-the-line Range Rover, up 8% in Q3 but outsold by the soon-to-be-replaced Volkswagen Touareg. [Read more…]
After four months of growth, new car sales in Europe are down again, by 2,1% to 1,46 million sales in September 2017. This is only the second time this year that the European car market is in negative territory, and the year-to-date figure is now down to +3,3%, the lowest it has been so far this year. September is still the second best month so far this year, after March and just ahead of May. A total of 11,9 million cars have been sold in the first nine months of 2017, which is close to the 2013 full year figure of 12,3 million sales. Among the five biggest markets, Italy (+8,1%) and Spain (+4,6%) once again showed the strongest improvements, while France was stable at +1,1%, but Germany (-3,3%) and the United Kingdom (-9,3%) are pulling the market down. They are not the only one, as 11 out of the 30 countries of the EU and EFTA saw their sales decline, of which Denmark (-22,2%), Latvia (-20,8%) and Ireland (-17%) by double digits. Year-to-date, Italy (+9%), Spain (+6,7%), France (+3,9%) and Germany (+2,2%) continue to grow so far in 2017, but UK car demand fell by 3,9%
Surprisingly, tiny Suzuki Motors is the manufacturer that adds the most volume in September, ahead of juggernauts Renault-Nissan and Toyota Motor. All add between 2.500 and 4.000 sales, so small gains this month. On the other end of the spectrum we do see a few large declines, most notably those of Ford Motor Company and PSA-Opel, which each lose more than 12.500 sales compared to September 2016. Looking at relative growth, Tesla Motors is firing on all its kilowatts with a gain of 46%, ahead of Aston Martin and Suzuki, while Mahindra & Mahindra is the fastest declining manufacturer due to its ownership of SsangYong and loses more than a third of its Eurpoean volume. Honda and SAIC MG are also on the wrong end of the list with double digit declines.
The midsized premium SUV segment continues to outgrow the overall market and even accelerates its growth rate with a 29% increase in Q3 and a 25% increase in the first nine months of 2017, to over 372.000 sales. The two segment leaders consolidate their grip on the segment as both did better than the overall segment. As a result, the #1 and #2 hold a combined 43% of the segment in Q3 and 42,6% in the first three quarters. The big winner is the Mercedes-Benz GLC (including the Coupe version) wiht sales almost doubling up to over 30.000 sales in the third quarter, which allows it to take over the year-to-date lead of the segment. If the GLC manages to hold on to this position by the end of the year, it will be the first time ever that Mercedese-Benz tops the ranking of this segment. The GLC’s predecessor GLK has never been a success due to polarizing styling, but the new model appears to have hit the mark. The Volvo XC60 showed double digit growth but still loses its top spot as the changeover to the new generation is hurting its pace of deliveries, even though the outgoing model has kept up strong in its last months thanks to competitive pricing of fully loaded versions. It will be interesting to see which one of these two will end up on top in 2018. Or perhaps the segment initiator BMW X3 will mingle into this fight as well when its third generation hits full steam?
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.
The premium large car segment in Europe picks up momentum in Q3 of 2017 with a 19% increase to over 100.000 sales, leading to an 11% sales gain in the first nine months of the year, to nearly 319.000 sales. The segment is consolidating towards as only one nameplate in the top-5 shows a year-over-year loss, while all models outside of those 5 best sellers lose volume with double digits. In the third quarter the all-new BMW 5-series took the segment top spot with a gain of 61% to nearly 31.000 sales, just ahead of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class with 30.000 sales (up 24%), but the E-Class holds on to its top spot for the year. Keep in mind, the E-Class includes coupe and convertible versions, which the other models don’t have, and these two-door versions are still pretty fresh so could be responsible for most of the growth of the nameplate, together with the also still recent station wagon. In terms of pure sedan and wagon sales, the 5-Series is probably already in the lead this year. These two leave the Audi A6 far behind, down 16% in the third quarter to less than 19.000 sales. Remember the A6 was the segment leader as recently as 2015, before its rivals were renewed. It will have a new shot at the title in 2019 as its next generation will hit showrooms in the second half of next year. So far in 2017, these three German models account for more than three out of every four sales in this segment, up three percentage points from last year.
At just 42.000 sales in the first three quarters of 2017, the large SUV segment is one of the smallest in Europe, in contrast to the US where it’s almost the largest segment as Americans buy 32 times as many of these cars than Europeans do, as American dealers have already sold almost one and a half million of these vehicles this year. And every single model in the US midsized (yes, they have an even bigger segment above these) crossover segment top-13 (out of 19) outsells the entire European segment combined. No wonder most of these models never make it to the old continent and the segment continues to shrink with Nissan not replacing its Murano and Pathfinder or Mazda its CX-9 as they have done in the US. Then again, Ford entered the segment by bringing the Edge over from the States. And while absolute volume remains relatively low (13.100 in Europe vs. nearly 105.000 in the US), it has quickly become the segment leader with a commanding 31,2% share. However, that can’t prevent the segment from losing 19% of its volume in Q3, as every other nameplate lost with double digits, except for the low-volume SsangYong Rexton. In fact, if it wasn’t for the Edge, the segment would be down 30% in the third quarter and down 19% in the first nine months, instead of up 4%.