After looking at which brands were selling well in January, we’ll zoom in on model level to see what’s caused the trends. It won’t surprise anybody to see the VW Golf still firmly in the lead, but it does lose 8,5% on last year. That has been expected, as the Golf VII is now three years old and the competition is getting stronger with the new Opel/Vauxhall Astra storming up the charts and a new Renault Megane ready to do the same. The Golf is again followed by the Polo in 2nd place ahead of the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa used to be close behind these three subcompact models, but has fallen behind in 2016, and the Peugeot 208 has moved into the vacant spot at #5. The Corsa’s loss is made up by the advance of the Astra, the fastest growing model in the top-40, now firmly back in the top-10 and here to stay.
The Nissan Qashqai has its strongest January ever in 6th place, but the big surprise comes from the Fiat Panda. The 4-year-old minicar has the best January of this generation and grabs a top-10 position for the first time in almost 2 years with an increase of 28,9%. However, almost 80% of its sales came from its home market Italy, where it was the #1 seller with 13.367 units, an increase of 42%. That means it was actually down 5% to 3.481 sales in the rest of Europe. Another late-bloomer is the Toyota Yaris, launched in 2011 and showing steady sales improvements for the past three years, and again in January, up 4% and into 11th place.
The Volkswagen Passat finishes its twelve-month streak of double digit increases as the new generation was starting to arrive in dealerships in the beginning of last year, and it drops out of the top-10. Not to worry, it still sells almost 2,5 times as much as its closest competitor, the Ford Mondeo at #50.
The Peugeot 308 is surprisingly stable coming off its high in December, when it registered a record 27.144 vehicles thanks to a tax benefit in The Netherlands that ended January 1st. For example, two other beneficiaries of the year-end spike in Dutch demand suffered a blowback last month: the Volvo V40 was down 12,6% on last year at #81 (December: 10.158, January 4.708) and the Mitsubishi Outlander lost 18,7% on January 2015 in 128th place (down from 7.805 in December to 2.457 last month).
The Renault Captur plateaus at #16 while the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka closes in with a 7,3% increase in 20th place, moving ahead of the Peugeot 2008 at #22. In that same segment, the Jeep Renegade hits a new volume record with 5.681 sales at #61. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class loses 13,9% in #19, but stays well ahead of the Audi A4 at #30 and the BMW 3-series at #31.
The best selling newcomer is in 23rd place and it’s surprisingly the Hyundai Tucson which manages to beat its rival Renault Kadjar for the first time, and by a large margin. In fact, the Tucson has taken the #2 spot of the midsized SUV segment behind the Qashqai, but ahead of the Volkswagen Tiguan (#25, -2,6%), Kia Sportage (#27, +19,2%) and finally the Kadjar (#36). As we said in the brand ranking, Renault may suffer from a blowback after possibly boosting sales artificially in December. We’ll know for sure when next month’s results come in, but also the Espace (#142 behind the Ford S-Max at #108 and Volkswagen Sharan at #133) and the Twingo (-28,1%) are far lower than we had expected them to be. The Megane and Scenic are down naturally due to being replaced this year.
The new generation Volkswagen Touran is up 34,1% into 34th place, taking the lead of the midsized MPV segment ahead of the Citroën C4 Picasso (#38) and BMW 2-series Active/Gran Tourer (#44). Its sibling Golf Sportsvan is cannibalized at -26,7% and 48th place.
The Audi Q3 improves 50% on last year and its second highest ranking at #41 (after its 35th place in August 2012). This means it outsells its hatchback sibling Audi A1 (#42) and mainstream rivals like the Fiat 500X (#43) and almost the Nissan Juke (#40). Not far behind is the new generation BMW X1 in 52nd place, doubling the sales of the previous generation last year, and way ahead of the Mercedes-Benz GLA in 84th place. One segment up, Mercedes is the big winner with the all-new GLC, taking the lead in the midsized premium SUV segment in 64th place, ahead of the Volvo XC60 (#73), Range Rover Evoque (#76), Audi Q5 (#87) and BMW X3 (#102). The GLC even almost outsells the Mercedes-Benz E-Class at #63. Audi wins the close race in the large premium SUV segment with the new generation Q7 at #119, the BMW X5 at #123, the new Volvo XC90 at #126 and the new Mercedes-Benz GLE at #135.
The Opel Karl / Vauxhall Viva is finally making a mark in the minicar segment, setting a new volume record at 5.971 sales and #58, or 6th place of the segment, just behind the Hyundai i10 (#57), but ahead of the Peugeot 108, Citroën C1 and the already mentioned Twingo, in places 66 to 68. Contrastingly, the Suzuki Celerio (#146) just seems unable to break through, as its 1.995 sales are down 29,5% on what it sold with the outgoing Alto last year, and also down from Alto sales in 2014 and 2013. And that’s not even accounting for the fact that Suzuki hasn’t replaced the Splash either. Fortunately for the brand, the all-new Vitara is proving to be a hit with a new volume record at #60, although also slightly cannibalizing on S-Cross (#152) sales. Suzuki has two important launches coming up in 2016 with the Baleno and the Ignis, so it won’t be too worried about those struggling minicar sales.
Honda was struggling all of last year and was the only manufacturer to lose volume in Europe, but this year starts off on a positive note thanks to the new generation Jazz (#107) finally starting to make a mark, and the addition of the HR-V (#147), although that’s still far behind its segment rivals. For example the Mazda CX-3 (#89) sells twice as many units.
We have one newcomer to the ranking this month: the Infiniti Q30 at #248 with 167 sales, already almost the best selling model for the brand, with the Q50 in 245th place.
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