When the Seat Ateca came out I remember being disappointed – the car is by no means bad-looking, but I felt it should have been much more adventurous than it turned out. By taking design cues from the Leon and stretching them over a more upright, formal crossover body the Ateca lost a lot of what made its hatchback sister model so handsome and attractive. But what really killed me is that that the Ateca looks less like a stablemate to the Leon, but rather more like a smaller, 5-seat version of…
Sales of midsized crossovers are growing even faster than their smaller rivals, at +26,8% in Q4 and +22% in the full year 2016, compared to +16% for the small crossover segment and +6,2% for the overall market. And while the growth is fueled by newcomers and updated existing models, the segment leader and the model that started the popularity of this segment Nissan Qashqai maintains its leadership of the segment, even though its volume is stable on last year. However, its dominance of the segment will be challenged in 2017, as the new generation Volkswagen Tiguan already outsold its British-Japanese rival in Q4, by 2.600 sales and will fight for the segment lead for the first time ever. In third place we find another relative fresh model: the Hyundai Tucson, knocking down its sibling Kia Sportage off the podium for the first time since 2012.
Sales of midsized crossovers in Europe have grown at more than double the speed of the overall market in the first three quarters of 2016: +18% vs. +7,5% as new brands and models keep entering this highly competitive class. After being outsold by the small crossover segment in Q2, the midsized models rebound in Q3 and also pass the 1 million sales mark in the first nine months, a figure it took all twelve months as recently as 2014. In a sign of consolidation, all top-8 models gain volume, of which only two with less than 2 digits, while the following 9 modles all lose volume, #9 to #12 with single digits and #13 to #17 with double digits. The Nissan Qashqai is stable, which means it loses share of the segment, from 19,4% last year to 16,6% this year, but 2016 will be the 9th consecutive year the Qashqai leads the segment. However, next year may offer a change of guard, as the Volkswagen Tiguan was only 4.200 units behind in Q3 and even outsold the Nissan in August.
Over the course of the last year, VAG has finally shown off the flexibility of its MQB platform by releasing not one, not two, not even three, but four distinct crossovers based on the ubiquitous component set. Ranging from 4.2m (Audi Q2) to 4.7m (Škoda Kodiaq) in length, and varying in styling, market positioning and global appeal, they will nonetheless often find themselves fighting over the wallets of similar customers, at least in Europe. So now the question to our readers: which do you prefer?
The midsized crossover segment in Europe has grown at double the speed of the overall market in the first half of 2016: +17% vs. +8,8%, but it was still outsold by the small crossover segment for the first time ever in Q2. Nonetheless, sales of midsized crossovers are expected to continue increasing, as new brands and models keep entering this highly competitive class. The increased competition takes away some share from the segment leader Nissan Qashqai, but so far no other model can come close to challenging its leadership. Its closest rival of last year, the Volkswagen Tiguan suffered from a model changeover and has dropped to 4th place, making room for the two South-Korean sister models to step onto the podium. Even the all-new Renault Kadjar outsold the Tiguan in Q2, but the VW is likely to strike back in the second half, when deliveries of the new generation gain traction. As a result of these new or updated models, the Ford Kuga loses two spots on last year to become a distant #6 despite growing 22%.
To no one’s surprise our readers have named the Audi Q2 the most disappointing production car of Geneva 2016. Of course, this is not the same thing as calling the Q2 a “bad” car – Audi is probably incapable of making a car that’s outright bad right now – rather, it’s a car that could have, or even should have been so much better. With a styling that’s both conservative and seemingly under-resolved, a standard 5-door body and size that positions it alongside the older, but arguably more attractive Q3, and a complete lack of a “want it” factor, the Q2 seems like a giant missed opportunity for Audi to, for once, get ahead of their arch-rivals at BMW and Mercedes-Benz. [Read more…]
So Lamborghini claims to have developed the Centenario to celebrates the 100th anniversary of the brand’s founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, but they’d better just admit that it really is a farewell tribute to the departuring CEO Stephan Winkelmann who has saved the company from extinction in his 11-year tenure at the brand. Winkelmann has turned a struggling, low-volume money-pit into a successful cashcow, which produces more supercars than ever and is preparing to launch a third model line with an über-SUV in two years time, which will undoubtedly rake in more cash. But the insane looking, all-out special editions launched under Winkelmann’s watch are what both boost the brand image and bring in the cash: the Veneno, the Sesto Elemento, the Reventon. And now the Centenario: a 770 hp, naturally aspirated V12 engine launches the carbon-bodied Centenario to 300 km/h in 23,5 seconds and doesn’t stop until 350 km/h. All 40 (20 coupes and 20 roadsters) have already been sold out at € 1,75 million a piece, before taxes.
Lexus LC 500h
Lexus stunned the world when it showed the concept car-like production version of its LC500 Coupe in Detroit last January. In Geneva the brand debuts the hybrid version of the new luxury coupe. It’s equipped with the next-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive technology, called “Multi-Stage Hybrid”, promising higher performance and efficiency. Combining a 3,5 liter V6 petrol engine with an electric motor gives a combined 354 hp of power, sent to the wheels through a four-speed gearbox. Despite Lexus’ claims, expect this car to be closer to a GT than to a thoroughbred sports car.
[envira-gallery slug="lexus-lc500h"] [Read more…]