Sales of exotic cars in Europe are down sharply in the first half of 2015. The segment was flat in 2014, but lost 15% of its volume this year. Please note that I’ve decided to no longer classify the BMW i8 as an exotic car, and have moved it to the large sports car class, as it competes more directly against the Porsche 911, Jaguar F-type and Mercedes-AMG GT. That means the Bentley Continental GT continues where it finished 2014: on top of the exotic car segment, thanks to sales down just 6%. Its closest competitor the Ferrari 458 Italia is down 29% as its replacement has already been revealed: the Ferrari 488 GTB. We now find the Lamborghini Huracan in third place with sales up tenfold on its introduction year. The Huracan still sells just over half of the volume of the 458, but that’s the closest it or its predecessor the Gallardo have ever been to the Ferrari 360, F430 or 458 Italia. The freshness of the Huracan and the model changeover at Ferrari are to be credited for this, but also the Huracan’s softer, less polarizing design. Although I still think Lamborghini’s are supposed to have extreme design, it’s what makes the brand stand out from Ferrari.
The Aston Martin Vanquish is stable, putting it ahead of the Ferrari F12, which loses a third of its volume, while the Aston Martin DB9 and Lamborghini Aventador are also stable enough to move past the Rolls Royce Wraith, down 29%. Ferrari’s exotics are having a terrible year anyways, with also the FF down in double digits. Bugatti sold only one Veyron this quarter, as its Chiron replacement has already been scooped.
2015 first half exotic car sales Europe
Exotic car segment
Bentley Continental GT / GTC
Ferrari 458 Italia
Aston Martin Vanquish
Aston Martin DB9
Rolls Royce Wraith
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Large sports cars
The large sports cars segment is boosted by the arrival of the BMW i8 and Mercedes-AMG GT and the facelift of the Ferrari California, but only 3 models out of the top-10 lose sales, underscoring the health of the segment, which is up 14% on the first half of last year. The perennial leader Porsche 911 keeps going strong, on course to have its best sales year since 2007. Now that it’s no longer new, the Jaguar F-type is stable at 2.600 sales in six months. But that doesn’t paint the whole picture: the F-type was up 27% in Q1, but down 14% in Q2. As ultra-dominant as the BMW i8 was when I still classified it as an exotic, it’s now up against more direct competition, but still pretty impressive. A third place for a brand-new, Plug-In hybrid sports car with just a 1,5 liter engine and futuristic design is a sign BMW has made the right move. Especially considering the i8 is held back by production constraints of the carbon fiber.
The all-new 911-fighter from Mercedes, the AMG GT has already outsold the Mercedes-Benz SL in Q2 and will quickly move past it, and perhaps also the i8 by the third quarter or otherwise by the end of the year. The SL is starting to look a bit long in the tooth and has always been more of an American-style cruiser than a European sports car. The Audi R8 is due to be replaced in the second half of the year, but the outgoing model is still selling well, at +15%. If Ferrari’s exotics all lost big chunks of volume, it’s more than made up for by the facelifted California T, which more than triples its sales of last year and now outsells the Aston Martin Vantage and Maserati GranTurismo for the first time since 2011. The resurrection of the Jaguar XK when the F-type had just been introduced has come to an abrupt halt, with sales all but stalled in Q2.
The compact sports car segment in Europe is stable on last year, but that doesn’t tell the story of individual models, as only 2 out of the top-10 manage to increase sales on last year. The new, third generation Audi TT sweeps the segment, with sales up 150% in Q2 and 80% in the first half. It also sold more than double of its closest competitor in Q2, the former segment leader Mercedes-Benz SLK, which is surprisingly stable at just -6%. The rest of the top-6 is down with double digits, with the Mazda MX-5 at -45% as it awaits the all-new fourth generation.
The beautiful Alfa Romeo 4C recovers slightly from an abysmal Q1, with sales down 12% in Q2 to make it -28% for the first half, which may be explained by the model’s introduction in the US, while worldwide demand is restricted by the maximum production of 3.500 units a year. Then again, the 358 sales of the 4C in the US and Canada in the first half are not very promising for the model either. Lotus is back in business, and the sales show it: all three models are up with double digits and both the Elise and Evora almost double up on last year.
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