The past few years have seen a re-emergence of a long-dormant trend – for mainstream brands to launch dedicated sub-brands. The most recent example of this trend is Seat’s new Cupra sub-brand, which is heading to Geneva with the Cupra Ateca, a Seat Ateca with the Volkswagen Golf R’s 4wd drivetrain, and the Cupra Ibiza Concept, [Read more…]
Audi e-tron quattro Concept
The Audi e-tron quattro Concept previews the Tesla Model X-rivalling Audi Q6, which will be presented in early 2018. It uses the power of three electric motors; one drives the front axle, the other acts on the rear axle. Total output is 435 hp and in boost mode it can mobilize up to 500 hp and 800 Nm torque. It accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, while its electronically governed top speed is 210 km/h. The battery’s capacity of 95 kWh should enable a range of more than 500 kilometers. With its length of 4.88 metres, width of 1.93 metres and height of 1.54 metres, it fits between the Audi Q5 and Audi Q7, and its luggage capacity is 615 litres.
Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo Concept
The Vision GranTurismo showcases Bugatti’s new design language and previews the Chiron, which should debut at the Geneva Motor Show next spring, although the Volkswagen emissions scandal could delay the new ‘Chiron’ hypercar.
With the Frankfurt auto show in full swing, we bring you the latest on the new models, starting with the VW Group:
Porsche Mission E – a gorgeous quasi-4-door that owes more to the iconic 959 than it does to the Portly Panamera. While the looks are unlikely to ever make production (tiny 4-doors don’t sell, just ask Aston Martin), the electric powertrain it previews sounds like it could give the Tesla Model S a run for its money. [Read more…]
Sales of large MPVs in Europe are up a modest 6% after the first 9 months of the year, which could make 2014 the first year since 2007 that the segment has grown year-on-year. After contracting 17% last year, with only 2 out of the 9 models in the segment increasing their sales, the trend seems to have reversed, with 6 out of 9 models gaining ground.
This means the growth of the segment isn’t due exclusively to the sell-out pricing of the Ford S-Max and Galaxy, which are to be replaced next year. The VW-group twins Volkswagen Sharan and Seat Alhambra are the two models that add the most sales, maybe a bit less surprising if you consider they are still the freshest models of the major players in the segment, at four years old.
The Lancia Voyager has been around since 2008, first under the Chrysler brand and since 2011 named Lancia, the Fords were introduced in 2006, the current generation Espace dates back as far as 2003, and the second generation PSA twins started their lifecycle as quadruplets with the Fiat Ulysse and Lancia Phedra in 2002, which have already been discontinued in 2010. [Read more…]
Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe are down less than 6.000 units, or 1% on the first three quarters of last year. Only three models increase their sales more than 2%, including one all-new model, while the rest either loses ground or stays virtually stable.
The Citroën C4 (Grand) Picasso continues its strong performance, now grabbing 15,6% of the segment and extending its lead over the traditional leader Renault (Grand) Scenic. If the Picasso holds on to its lead until the end of the year, it would be only the second time ever that the Scenic doesn’t lead the segment it invented in 1996. In 2008 it was also Citroën who kicked the Scenic down. However, the French may have a battle on their own turf next year, as the recently introduced Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan was the best selling midsized MPV in September. Despite having half as many selling days as the rest of the segment, the Sportsvan has already moved in to 7th place of the segment and doesn’t seem to take any prisoners. [Read more…]
The midsized segment has been in crisis for a decade now, but the sales decline seems to bottom out, with sales down “only” 5% after the first three quarters of 2014, to just over 400.000 units. With the new generations VW Passat and Ford Mondeo ready to start their customer deliveries, and the Peugeot 508 recently facelifted, the segment should be able to return to positive territory for only the second time since 2001. The VW Passat remains stable and increases its share of the segment to 28,8%, and that’s even without the new generation, which has only just entered European showrooms and should start customer deliveries anytime now.
The top-4 are the only models in the segment to increase their sales and now control almost two thirds of the segment, indicating a further defragmentation of the market. The Honda Accord is the latest victim of this increased monotony in the midsized car segment, as it won’t be replaced at the end of its life cycle, joining the Suzuki Kizashi, Seat Exeo, Chevrolet Malibu on their way to the happy hunting grounds. [Read more…]
After nine months, the European compact car segment is still up 10%, outperforming the market and, with over 1,7 million units sold, still the second largest segment of the continent.
As expected, the VW Golf continues to lead over its rivals by a large margin, and even increasing its share of the segment to 23%, which means almost one in every four compact cars sold in Europe is a Golf. The Ford Focus had an excellent month of September thanks to the strong UK market, but it was outsold by the Skoda Octavia in both July and August. With Octavia sales up one third and Focus sales stable year-to-date, the Focus desperately needs the upcoming facelift to fend off its Czech rival next year.
The Opel/Vauxhall Astra is still waiting for its replacement and is in danger of losing its fourth place to the Peugeot 308 next year, as the latter is coming closer and closer. However, the 308 can’t afford not to look in its mirrors, as the Seat Leon is charging ahead as well, now having passed the ageing Renault Megane for sixth place. The Megane was also outsold by the Toyota Auris in August and September and may lose another spot by the end of the year. That should give some consolation to the best selling Asian compact, which has been kicked down from 6th to 8th this year.
The Hyundai i30 and Kia Cee’d lose more than 10.000 units of their volume each, although their replacements won’t be due until at least 2016. [Read more…]
Sales of subcompact cars in Europe remain stable at a 1% growth year-on-year after the first nine months of 2014. It remains the largest segment of the continent at almost 2 million units sold.
The traditional leader Ford Fiesta has taken some distance from the Renault Clio in second place, mainly thanks to an excellent month of September, in which the small Ford outsold all of its rivals by a margin of at least 10.000 units, similar to last March. These months are the peak months in the UK market, where the Fiesta is particularly strong. In August, the Fiesta was outsold by both the VW Polo and the Clio. The Polo has just been facelifted and has outsold the Renault Clio in both August and September. I think the advantage of the Clio is large enough to hold onto its position until the end of the year, but it better prepare for a battle in 2015.
The Peugeot 208 continues to struggle, down 10% on last year. A Peugeot spokesperson at the Paris Auto Show last month explained to me that the brand prefers profit over volume and therefore chooses not to dump the model to rental companies at very low margins. Also, the 208 is set to get a facelift next year to keep it fresh.
A recent facelift of the Toyota Yaris, with the new X-shaped front-end that’s the brand’s new family face is likely to keep the small Toyota in the plus this year. [Read more…]
After the first nine months of 2014, the minicar segment is still in negative territory, although just. Sales are down 1% or less than 5.000 units on last year, which means sales have improved in the third quarter, thanks to a strong performance for the segment leader Fiat 500 and the new generation Kolin triplets.
The Fiat 500 goes from strength to strength and seems to be unstoppable. In September, European sales of the already six-year-old model were above the 20.000 cars per month mark for only the second time ever, after last March. The 500 hasn’t just confirmed its leadership of the segment, which it took from the Panda exactly one year ago, it even added more sales than any other model in the segment, increasing its share of the segment to 15%. By itself, the 500 sold almost as many cars as the Volkswagen Up!, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii combined.
The Panda holds on to the second spot, followed by the VW Up! which has remained stable on last year. The fastest growing model in the top 15 of the segment is the Hyundai i10, which has been renewed at the end of last year. Sales of the new generation are up one third compared to its predecessor in the first nine months of 2013. If the i10 manages to hold on to its fourth place of the segment by the end of the year, it would be an all-time best for the model. [Read more…]
Honda has confirmed rumors that the brand has no plans to develop a replacement to the European version of its Accord midsized sedan and station when the current eighth generation reaches the end of its life cycle. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the model’s sales have been decimated in the last decade. In 2004, Honda sold a record of 48.346 Accords in Europe, but that figure has dwindled more than 90% to a mere 4.467 units last year, while 2014 sales are off another 35% year to date.
The addition of Honda’s first in-house developed diesel engine in 2004 gave the model a much-needed boost, as more than half of all midsized cars sold in Europe are equipped with an oil burner, but it couldn’t save the Accord. Despite its reputation for undisputed quality, Honda’s midsized car was considered too expensive by most buyers, as Japanese production forced the brand to price the Accord against the premium offerings in the highly competitive midsized segment. [Read more…]