At +6% in the first half of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew faster than the minicar and subcompact segments, but slower than the overall market. In Q2 the compact car segment grew by 10%, which is just ahead of the market’s 9,8% gain. The Volkswagen Golf remains untouchable despite the diesel scandal and renewed competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, but it is one of only 3 models in the top-10 to lose volume. The Golf’s closest rival from a year ago, the Ford Focus, loses even more and is pushed down into fourth place by the new generation Astra, up 27%. With the Skoda Octavia in third place and the Seat Leon in sixth, the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform takes almost 37% of sales in the second largest segment in Europe. With the Focus starting to age, the Peugeto 308 has a shot at grabbing fourth place in the segment by the end of the year, a ranking last achieved by the previous generation in 2008. The 308 already outsold the Focus in May and was just 750 units behind in Q2. The new generation Renault Megane has started deliveries and is aiming for 6th place in the segment by year-end, as it already outsold the Leon and the Toyota Auris in Q2.
Sales in the Alternative Power segment accelerated their freefall by plummeting 21% in Q2 of 2016 to just 63,084 vehicles, after an 11% decrease in the first quarter. This is the biggest decline of all segments in the second quarter, and the main reason for the softening demand is clear: cheap gas keeps luring people away from EVs, hybrids and more fuel-efficient cars in general into larger crossovers, SUVs and pick-up trucks. And there’s no indication of the oil price going back up anytime soon, which spells more bad news for EVs and hybrids. Perhaps a few new model launches can breath some new life into the segment, most notably the new generation Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model X.
Sales in the Alternative Power segment fell by 11% Q1 2016 to 54,688 vehicles, a steep decline but actually not as bad as some other sectors (mainly premium mainstream ones). The reason for the decline is clear: cheap gas keeps luring people away from EVs, hybrids and more fuel-efficient cars in general into larger crossovers, SUVs and pick-up trucks. With no large increase in the gas price on the horizon it is hard to see how the fortunes for the sector could turn around anytime soon, though with new cars such as Tesla Model X, as well as Chevy Bolt and Volt models hitting the market at least one can expect some positive stories.
Sales of midsized MPVs in Europe have been relatively stable in the last couple of years, alternation single digit growth and contraction, and the first quarter of 2016 is no different with sales down just one percent. That still compares negatively to the overall market, which grew by 8% in the same period. There is quite a shuffle in the ranking as a number of models has just been renewed while others are about to be renewed soon. The segment leader remains unchanged, as the Citroën C4 Picasso adds 4% to its volume and consolidates its position as last year’s challengers Renault Scenic and Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan lose 30% and 15% respectively and are out of the top-4. The Scenic will be replaced in the second half of this year, while the Sportsvan is probably cannibalized by the new generation Touran, which replaces them on the podium together with the BMW 2-series Active Tourer. The 2-series is the fastest growing model in the segment and even grabbed 2nd place in March at less than 400 units behind the Picasso, so it remains a force to be reckoned with this year.[Read more…]
At +4% in Q1 of 2016, sales of compact cars in Europe grew at a similar rate as the minicar and subcompact segments, at half the growth rate of the overall market. The perennial leader Volkswagen Golf is still firmly in control despite losing 2% of its volume on last year. Its nearest competitor from a year ago, the Ford Focus, also loses a percent and is overtaken by the surging Opel/Vauxhall Astra, up 30% thanks to the new generation. That still leaves the Golf untouchable, selling more than the #2 and #3 combined, but at least the competition doesn’t sit still like in the midsized segment. The Skoda Octavia is kicked off the podium, which it has impressively held for two years. And the Peugeot 308 is closing in quickly, as it already did in the final months of 2015. The Seat Leon is surprisingly stable and stays ahead of the facelifted Toyota Auris, while the Renault Megane is the biggest loser of the top-10 and drops a spot as it awaits the arrival of the new, fourth generation.[Read more…]
The 2016 New York Auto Show has started, and while it’s not as important as the show in Detroit, nor as West-Coast flashy as the show in LA, a handful of automakers still picked it to reveal their new or updated models, or concepts of upcoming models. We’ve picked the 7 most significant ones and compared notes. Let us know what you think of them in the comments below.
Acura MDX facelift
I’m glad they finally ditched the chrome shield in the grille, but the downside is that the MDX has become even more anonymous than it was before. Acura’s design is apparently going the complete opposite of that of Lexus, who are getting more extreme with every launch. That probably makes the MDX the perfect minivan-that’s-not-a-minivan, so they’ll probably continue to sell a ton of them. They also have a hybrid now, with the same system as the NSX. The MDX surely has a lot of good things going for it, otherwise it wouldn’t be the #2 of its segment. And yes, the Q7 is shockingly awful and Mercedes hasn’t gotten the styling quite right in any of the ML/GLE generations, but I think the X5 beats the MDX in styling, even if for the simple fact that it actually gets noticed.
It’s funny, you say “Miss”, but I read a lot of good things: “ditched the chrome shield grille”, “perfect minivan-that’s-not-a-minivan”, “hybrid with the same system as the NSX”. I had a soft spot for the MDX Mk II, and while the new model is not quite as muscular-looking as that, I think the facelift makes it into a rather handsome car, better-looking than any of the German trio (Q7, X5 and ML). In my mind Acura would do best to emulate the inoffensive Audis of late 1990s/early 2000s, and this fits the bill perfectly.
Sales in the Alternative Power segment fell by 4% in 2015 to 116,065, as cheap fossil fuel caused car buyers away from small cars, hybrids and EVs and into crossovers, SUVs and pick-up trucks. Sales of EVs and PHEVs in Europe, where gas is less cheap, totaled 189,461 units, up 94%. Short sighted Americans? Well, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles is betting on gasoline to stay cheap for at least a decade as it doubles down on trucks and will forgo sedans and electric cars. Still, EVs and PHEVs are here to stay and Tesla is determined to prove all the others wrong. Its has won its first battle, as a 51% increase in sales has helped the Model S become the best selling electrified vehicle in the United States with over 25,000 sales. The Nissan Leaf drops to second place and loses 43% of its volume, as competition in its price range intensified and an updated version is on its way, promising more range. [Read more…]
Sales of Midsized MPVs in Europe are up 4% to 906.300 in 2015, but that’s mostly thanks to two new models as all others in the top-10 lose volume and only 4 out of 18 models actually improve on their 2014 score. The French still lead this segment as their home country is the biggest market in Europe for this type of vehicle. The Citroën C4 Picasso and Renault Scenic, including their Grand versions, have now been joined by the Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan to make it three models with sales over 100.000 units. The Sportsvan is up 75% on its first partial year of sales, but doesn’t set is not a record for the brand, as its predecessor Golf Plus sold more than this in 2005, 2006 and 2009.
Sales in the second-largest segment in Europe are up 5% in 2015 to 2.317.728 units, which is a slower growth than the overall market as customers continue to switch to crossovers. The Volkswagen Golf loses half a percentage point of share, but that still leaves it with 23,1% of the segment. 2015 is probably the last year in a while the Golf tops half a million registrations, as it will start to feel increased competition from the new generation Opel-Vauxhall Astra and Renault Megane. The outgoing Astra is kicked down into 5th place by the Peugeot 308 but should easily finish 2016 in 2nd place. The Skoda Octavia barely holds on to its third place as the surging 308 adds almost a third to its volume and two percentage points of share to come within 2.000 units of its Czech rival. Some stats even put the Peugeot ahead of the Octavia in the Full Year data, but when I add up their monthly sales this is what they add up to. Whichever way you look at it, this has been a stellar year for the former Car of the Year as it is single-handedly responsible for half of the segment increase and has more than doubled the nameplate’s sales in two years time. [Read more…]