As you can read in the European car sales brand ranking for August 2014, Volkswagen enjoyed a particularly strong month of August, reaching a record market share. This is a result of strong performances from all of its core models, with the exception of the Up! minicar.
The next generation Volkswagen Passat midsized car will be introduced at the Paris Motor Show later this week, but run-out pricing of the outgoing model gave the Passat a last minute boost before handing over the moniker to its successor. VW also experienced strong demand for its European best seller the Golf as well as the recently updated Polo subcompact, which claimed a second place behind the Golf in the models ranking, outselling its rivals Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta. The Fiesta was down into fourth position in August, but will make a strong comeback next month, as September is traditionally the second best month of the year for car sales in the UK, which is the most important market for the subcompact Ford.
And the Golf Sportsvan has stormed up the charts to aggressively take the lead of the midsized MPV segment in only its fourth month of sales, a result its predecessor the Golf Plus has never managed to accomplish.
Any good news for other brands? Sure, it’s worth mentioning that the Citroen C4 Cactus has already outsold the regular Citroen C4 hatchback in only its third month of sales, although looking at the drop in C4 sales, it’s difficult not to wonder how many of these sales are intrabrand cannibalization.
In July, the Mercedes-Benz GLA outsold the BMW X1 for the first time, and I wondered if the GLA would be able to threaten the Audi Q3. Well, the small Mercedes crossover was already just a mere 275 units behind the Q3 in August. If it continues this strong performance, the GLA will lead the compact premium SUV segment as soon as September.
In the large premium segment, the Audi A6 has enjoyed a strong month, outselling the Mercedes-Benz E-Class for the first time since February of last year and getting within 31 sales of the segment leading BMW 5-series.
The plug-in electric BMW i3, with an optional gasoline range extender has surpassed the hybrid Lexus CT200h in the year-to-date ranking in August, while the BMW 4-series looks set to overtake its direct competitor Audi A5 by next month, after outselling it for three months in a row.
Combined sales of both generations of the Kolin triplets, Citroën C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo are almost stable on last August, which would indicate customer deliveries of the new generations seem to have started. I expect the models to start gaining market share again from September on.
Deliveries of the new generation Mini have already started to pick up momentum, after a very slow start of the year as customers were awaiting the model change, the Mini has outsold the Audi A1 for the third month in a row, and with increasing margins. It’s not likely to surpass the A1 in the full year ranking, but will surely take back the lead of the small premium segment in 2015.
After coming dangerously close to its in-house competitor Renault Captur in July, the Dacia Duster manages to take control of the small crossover segment in August, outselling the Captur by almost 600 units. However, the French crossover remains firmly on top of the segment year-to-date.
On the other side of the scale, the Opel/Vauxhall Astra has reached a record low, falling below the 10.000 monthly units mark for the first time in the history of the nameplate. This paltry performance is a result of two factors combined: the current generation Astra has been on sale since 2009 with only a minor facelift in 2012, and besides that, August is traditionally the weakest month of the year for the model, as it’s heavily dependent on the UK market, whose buyers postpone their new car registrations until September, when the biannual license plate change takes place.
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