It’s happened. As predicted, the BMW i8 sweeps the exotic car segment, knocking down the previous leaders Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari 458 Italia off the top spot with a 37% share of the segment. In its introduction year, the i8 already managed to climb onto the podium, not far behind the 458, and its sales in the last few months of 2014 already indicated that the Plug-In Hybrid BMW sports car would be ultra-dominant this year.
With an average of 250 units a month in Q1, and with sales restricted by supply, BMW could easily sell more than 2.000 units this year, something no exotic has achieved since the Continental GT and the Ferrari F430 did so in 2008.
The 458 Italia is down 31% as its replacement, the 488 GTB has just been revealed for arrival in showrooms in the second quarter. Perhaps a little competition from the all-new Lamborghini Huracan hasn’t helped the 458 either, as its rival from across the street in Sant’Agata Bolognese jumps into fourth place. It will be interesting to see if the 488 can still catch the Huracan by the end of the year, although I think the arrival of the Spider version in the second half of 2015 will help the Lambo stay ahead.
Besides the i8 and the all-new Huracan, all other models see their sales decline, with the exception of a 3-unit increase for the Aston Martin DBS and stable sales for the Bugatti Veyron at 2 sales in the first quarter of its last year before becoming a true dinosaur.
The Ferrari F12, one of the most spotted cars in Monaco during last month’s Formula One Grand Prix, loses 21% and is kicked down from 4th to 6th place.
Exotic car segment
Bentley Continental GT / GTC
Ferrari 458 Italia
Aston Martin Vanquish
Aston Martin DBS
Rolls Royce Wraith
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Large sports cars
As in the previous few years, the large sports car segment continues its slow and steady growth, thanks to new or updated models. This year, the arrival of the Mercedes-AMG GT and the facelifted Ferrari California give the segment a tiny boost of 1%.
The Porsche 911 remains the traditional leader with over 50% share of the segment , and sales very stable with a loss of just 1%, despite an upcoming facelift for the model. The Jaguar F-type cements its second place with sales up 27% as the coupe version wasn’t yet available in the first quarter of last year.
The Mercedes-Benz SL is still third, but threatened by its stable mate from AMG, which is still gaining traction after deliveries started in February. Expect to find the AMG GT on the segment podium by the end of the year, and in second place in 2016. But not if you ask Audi….. The Audi R8 is also stable with an increase of 8%, while deliveries of the all-new generation haven’t even started yet. This is a serious challenger for the AMG GT and it will be an interesting battle to follow.
The Ferrari California benefits from its facelift and the new turbo engine, with sales more than tripling, but 39 units short of becoming the best selling Ferrari in Europe. It does leapfrog the Aston Martin Vantage, which is down 17%.
Large Sports Car segment
Aston Martin V8/V12 Vantage
Compact sports cars
Sales of compact sports cars continue their year-long decline, losing another 7% of volume in the first quarter of 2015. Thanks to the all-new generation, the Audi TT is the renewed leader of the segment, with sales up nearly a third and one of just 2 models in the top-10 to improve on last year. The TT overtakes the Mercedes-Benz SLK, which is down 6%. These two models enjoy a combined share of 57% of the segment, leaving the competition far behind.
The Peugeot RCZ is down more than a third and is kicked off the podium by the BMW Z4. The RCZ is also under threat of the Mazda MX-5, which is not far behind but will get a boost from the all-new generation due in showrooms any moment now.
The facelifted Nissan 370Z rebounds slightly, but maintains its position between its two Japanese rivals Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ, while the Alfa Romeo 4C is surprisingly down 58% already. The Italians are limited to just 3.500 units a year and with sales now started in the US as well, the allocation for Europe has shrunk.
Ford claims to have already 2.700 orders in Europe for the all-new Mustang which has just arrived in showrooms, and should give the segment a much-needed (Eco)boost.
Compact Sports Car segment
Alfa Romeo 4C
Click on any model to see its annual sales from 1997-2013 and monthly sales in 2012, 2013 and 2014, or use the dropdown menu in the top right of this site. Sources: Manufacturers, ANDC, JATO Dynamics.
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