Another month, another swing of the market. After the wild see-saw of earlier in 2018 seemed to stabilize when the market grew healthily in both May and June by an average of 5%, the market then swung back by 3.7% in July, and only recovered weakly in August. Still, that would have been preferable to the market’s performance in September, [Read more…]
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.
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…]
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 Chinese car market continue sits steady growth in September, showing a 3,4% increase to almost 2,3 million sales of passenger cars. This is the fourth consecutive month of single digit increases after years of booming growth. It also builds confidence in the belief that the market will continue its winning streak in 2017 and finish the year in positive territory despite an exceptionally strong last quarter of 2016. That brings the year-to-date total to almost 16,8 million sales, an increase of 3,7% on the same period in 2016. In absolute terms, 2017 is ahead of last year by 600.000 sales, which means the likelihood of yet another new sales record is becoming greater by the passin gmonth. We’d need at least an 8% sales decline in the last quarter to see the first annual decline in a few decades in China. Even considering the exceptionally strong finish of 2016, that seems pretty unlikely, especially taking into account the sales tax on cars with engines of 1,6 liter and smaller will increase again in January, from 7,5% back to its normal rate of 10%, which should pull forward sales of this kind of vehicle to the last quarter. Back to September: the crossovers and SUV trend seems unstoppable with yet another double digit gain: +10% to 971.000 sales, while sedans improve 3,7% to 1,16 million sales and the decline of the MPV segment accelerates to -25% to 165.900 sales. Within those sales figures, electric cars and PHEVs also showed a impressive improvement of 79% in September, to almost 78.000 sales. EVs were responsible for most of that growth, as sales increased 83% to 64.000, compared to a 62% increase for PHEVs, to 14.000. These figures add up to 325.000 EV and 73.000 PHEV sales in China so far this year, an increase of 38% on the first 9 months of 2016 and 2,4% of the overall 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 will be imposed in 2018
The Seasonally Adjusted Annualized selling Rate in August stood at 25,8 million, a similar level as last January, which has been the highest so far this year, and up by 850.000 on August, marking the 6th consecutive month of increased SAAR. The share of domestic automakers in September was 39,8%, the highest figure in the past 3 months and down from 41,8% in September 2016. Sales of domestic brand vehicles across all segments were down 1,5%, compared to a gain of just 2% for US brands, +12% for Japanese brands and +15% for European brands. In contrast, South-Korean brands are down for the 9th month this year, by 23%.
After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for September, let’s zoom in on the models ranking.
For the fifth time in the past nine months there’s no sedan in the Top 5, as behind the traditional three pick up trucks we find two crossovers. The Ford F-series improves more than 21% to top 80,000 sales for the second time this year, and for only the third September ever. It’s also the third-best month in the last decade for the pick up truck, after December 2016 and December 2015. The Chevy Silverado improves by a similar figure to its best September in a decade, while the Ram Pickup stays behind with a small loss. After two consecutive months of new volume records, the Toyota RAV4 takes a breather to make this month its second-best ever after August. It’s also the third straight month of 40,000+ sales for the nameplate, a figure it had never reached before. This keeps it ahead of its rival Nissan Rogue, which sets its third-best ever month, after December 2016 and last March. Keep in mind these figures now include sales of the Rogue Sport, a.k.a. Qashqai in Europe, which Nissan unfortunately does not split, despite it really being two different models. That leaves Honda as the first brand whose best seller is still a sedan, as the Civic outsells the CR-V thanks to a gain of almost 26% for the former vs. a loss of almost 3% for the latter despite a new generation. In the struggling mid-sized sedan segment, the Toyota Camry remains on top with its second consecutive month of double digit gains, while the all-new Honda Accord still needs to gain momentum in customer deliveries.
The decline in the US car market finally halted in September, and not just by dint of the market barely crawling back into the black – growth was a sturdy 6.3%. It is not entirely clear what caused this reversal – was the market just making up for a disappointing summer performance, was it the fact that September’17 had one more selling day than September’16, or are there reasons to believe that this may be the end of a slide that seemed unstoppable even last month. Whatever the case, the SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) bounced back handily from 16.13 million in August to 18.58 million, exceeding all expectations for the month, and ranking as the highest value recorded since June 2005, when SAAR reached 20.64 million rate. Only time will tell if this renaissance will last, though.
We’ve looked at the September 2016 European car brand sales ranking, now let’s zoom in on how sales of individual models compared in Europe. Keep in mind, just like the brand ranking, the models that are popular in the UK are taking advantage of the traditionally inflated September sales figures in that market. The UK top-10 in September looked like this:
The Ford Fiesta, Britain’s best selling model, sold almost 20.000 units in the UK only. It sold just over 14.000 units in all of Europe (including the UK) in August. Similarly, the Vauxhall Corsa sold more units in Great Britain in September than it did with its Opel sibling combined in all of Europe the month before and so did the Ford Focus and the Mini. [Read more…]
Car sales in Europe continue their slow but steady rise, as a 7% increase in September confirms the July dip was only a slight glitsh and no warning sign of a plateauing market as the US is facing. With 1.489.343 sales, this is the highest September volume for the European market on record and it brings the Year-to-Date figure up 7,5% to 11.529.096 sales. All major markets posted growth, with the Southern European markets at double digit growth again: Italy (+17,4%) and Spain (+13,9%), followed by Germany (+9,4%) and France (+2,5%). Even the UK showed another slight improvement at +1,6% despite the fears that the subsequent price increases after the devaluation of the British Pound and the uncertainty after the Brexit vote would hurt demand in that market. As usual in September (and March), the UK is easily the largest market in Europe as sales in this market are skewed towards these two months thanks to the twice-yearly license place change, this month to the “66” plates.
The UK accounted for almost a third (31,5%) of total sales in the 27 countries of the EU and EFTA in September, while the full-year share ends up at around 18,5 – 19%. That also influences the brands and models ranking, with those that are popular in the UK gaining an advantage over those that are relatively more dependent on mainland Europe. This most notably affects Ford, Opel/Vauxhall, Nissan, the British brands Mini and Jaguar–Land Rover and the German luxury brands to whom the UK is their biggest European market after Germany. Ford and Opel/Vauxhall both sell almost twice as many cars in September than they did in August, while for Mini that ratio is over 2,5 and both Jaguar and Land Rover sell more than 3 times as many units in September compared to August. Nissan moves from 16th place in August to 11th in September and adds more than a percentage point of market share.
The Chinese car market is one of the most diverse in the world, with over 400 locally produced passenger car models from more than 70 domestic and foreign brands. If we include imported vehicles, minivans, pickups and commercial vehicles, there are more than 1.000 different models available. In the September 2016 China car sales ranking, we welcome 9 new models, of which 3 SUVs, one of which from an all-new brand, the third domestic new brand this year (offsetting the demise of 2), 1 EV version of an existing SUV, 1 hatchback and 4 sedans. And for a change, the sedans are in my opinion the most significant launches of the bunch.
Shanghai-GM has resurrected an old name with the launch of the Chinese Chevrolet Cavalier. This car has nothing to do with the one that was sold in North America before being replaced by the Cobalt in 2005. Instead, the new Cavalier is basically a reskinned previous generation Chevrolet Cruze, a car that’s also still on sale in China next to the new generation.
That means the Cavalier is powered by the same powertrain as the Cruze Classic: a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 109hp, mated to a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. Its dimensions are 4.544/1.779/1.467 mm with a wheelbase of 2.600 mm. [Read more…]