The European passenger car market grows by 3% in 2017, to nearly 15,5 million sales, making this the fourth consecutive year of growth in Europe, and the highest volume since 2007, before the financial crisis knocked the market on its knees. However, it is the slowest rate of growth of those four years, and we’ve had 3 months of year-over-year declines, compared to 2 in 2016 and none in 2014 and 2015. Like in the US and China, the shift away from cars and MPVs towards crossover and SUVs is evident and seemingly unstoppable. Sales of type of vehicle have increased for 9 consecutive years and their share of the market has more than doubled in just 6 years time, from 14,3% in 2011 to 29,9% in 2017, with a gain of 16,2% last year. Sales of cars (hatchbacks, sedans, station wagons, coupes and convertibles) and MPVs are down in 2017 after three years of growth, with cars losing 1,3% and down to 60,1% of the market and MPV sales down 5,3% to 10% of the market.
Among the major markets, Italy (+7,9%), Spain (+7,7%) and France (+4,7%) outperformed the market, followed by Germany (+2.7%). UK car sales (‐5,7%) declined for the first time in six years. New EU member states showed a strong performance, growing by 12,8%. Lithuania was the fastest growing market at 27,3%, followed by Hungary at +20,4% and Bulgaria at +18,5%. Besides the UK, the only losers are Ireland (-10,4%), Switzerland (-1%), Denmark (-0,5%) and Finland (-0,4%). You can find historic data of each European member state (including LCV sales) and almost any other country in the world by using the drop-down menu at the top right-hand corner of our site, under Worldwide Car Sales Data.
Like last year, Renault-Nissan was the big winner among manufacturers, adding almost 100.000 sales, this time followed by Toyota Motor with a plus of more than 80.000 sales, and Volkswagen Group with 66.500 additional sales. The biggest loser is Honda, both in absolute and relative terms, down 11,7% for a loss of 18.500 sales. Honda lost volume 11 out of 12 months, but is still above its record low from 2015. Other losers are Ford Motor Company, also down more than 10.000 sales, and Mazda, down 5.500 sales. Mahindra & Mahindra with its SSangYong brand and Subaru are among the biggest relative losers, while Tesla Motors is the fastest growing manufacturer in Europe with a growth of 81,1%, followed by Aston Martin at +64,7% and General Motors, now a niche player after the sale of Opel, adding a third to its 2016 volume for Cadillac and Chevrolet
Looking at individual brands, Toyota is the big winner this year, consolidating its position as the best selling Asian brand in Europe. Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot also had a very successful year, both adding over 50.000 sales, while Bugatti more than doubles thanks to the replacement of the Veyron by the Chiron. Losers are Opel/Vauxhall, down by almost 50.000 sales (it was up in Q1, before the takeover by PSA), and DS and Volkswagen, both down by almost 20.000 sales. That makes DS the biggest relative loser at almost -30%, let’s hope the DS7 Crossback is able to reverse the brand’s slide.
Volkswagen Group remains the dominant player in Europe, with a share of 23,7% of the market. Thanks to its take-over of Opel/Vauxhall, PSA has now become the second largest manufacturer in Europe with a share of 15,9%, just ahead of Renault-Nissan (now including Mitsubishi) at 14,8% market share. BMW AG and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles both move up one spot to #4 and #5 respectively, leapfrogging Ford Motor Company which is the only manufacturer in the top-10 to lose volume. Daimler AG passes the 1 million mark in 7th place, distancing Hyundai-Kia which also sets a new volume record. Geely has expanded its portfolio with its purchase of the Lotus brand and remains in 10th place, while Suzuki is the big winner in the top-15, passing Tata Motors and Mazda.
In the brands ranking, market leader Volkswagen loses half a percentage point of share and drops below 11% for the first time since 2010. Renault consolidates its #2 spot as its two main rivals both lose volume. Ford is now more than 100.000 sales behind but should make a strong comeback in 2018 on the new Fiesta, even though most of the rest of its line-up is aging. Opel/Vauxhall loses 0,6 percentage points of share and is under threat from its newfound stablemate Peugeot, which gains 0,7 percentage points of share to go from a deficit of 125.000 sales last year to less than 17.000 in 2017. Mercedes-Benz extends its position as Europe’s best selling luxury brand, gaining 2,1 percentage points of share to set new volume and market share records for the brand, distancing Audi and BMW which are separated by just 102 sales, the closest finish between the two brands ever. For BMW this also marks a new volume record, although its market share is down on last year. Audi has now outsold BMW for 9 consecutive years. Fiat and Skoda complete the top-10, while Toyota is closing in quickly. Citroën passes Nissan to take the #12 spot and Dacia leapfrogs Kia to outsell the Korean brand for the third time ever, after 2010 and 2014. Needless to say both Dacia and Kia also sets new volume and market share records, each of them now up to 3% of the European passenger car market. They’re closing in on Hyundai, which passes the 500.000 mark for the first time ever.
Seat has its best year since 2004 and falls just short of the 400.000 sales mark, Suzuki leapfrogs Mazda and Mini to enter the top-20 in its best year since 2009. Mini by the way also sets a new volume record for the third year in a row and equals its market share record of last year. Both Jaguar and Land Rover improve on their volume records but lose a bit of market share as they grow slower than the overall market. This is the sixth consecutive year of record sales for Land Rover. Jaguar, together with Porsche and Lancia, is passed by Alfa Romeo which has a nice recovery but is still below its sales of 2012 and before. After passing the 100.000 sales mark in 2016, Jeep sharpens its record for the third straight year, passing Smart while maintaining its share at 0,7%. Porsche improves its volume record for the fourth consecutive year, while Lexus closes in on DS thanks to a small gain to sharpen its European sales record to nearly 45.000 units. Tesla passes SSangYong and naturally improves its sales record thanks to booming sales. If Model 3 deliveries start in 2018, the brand is set to continue this exponential growth rate.
Maserati improves its annual sales record for the fourth year running and nearly hits five digits with sales up 9-fold since 2012, helped by the Levante SUV. Similarly, Bentley sales are boosted by the Bentayga, breaking the brand’s 2007 record of 3.759 sales. Aston Martin is up to its fifth highest volume after the 2005-2008 period, thanks to the DB11. With the new Vantage in showrooms, the British brand is aiming for a new record in 2018. Lamborghini crosses the 1.000 European sales mark for the very first time, more than doubling its volume in 4 years. With the new Urus ready to be rolled out, the Italian brand isn’t done with its growth curve. Cadillac has the highest sales in Europe since 2010 when it ended sales of the Saab-based entry-level BLS. Finally, we welcome the return of Alpine in the European sales ranking, with 7 registrations of pre-production models of the Alpine A110.
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