The exotic car segment in Europe grew at double the overall market growth in 2016, at +12%, helped by a handful of new products. But the leader of the segment remains unchanged, even though the Bentley Continental GT gains just 5% and therefore loses 2 percentage point of share. In Q4, the Continental GT was even down a worrying 11,5%. The Ferrari 488 continues where its predecessor 458 Italia left off: in 2nd spot, ahead of chief rival Lamborghini Huracan, which also gains just 5%, but had a more positive Q4 at +64%. The Ferrari F12, about to be replaced by the 812 Superfast in 2017, almost doubles its sales in the fourth quarter to finish the year with a 31% gain. 2016 has been a great year for Italian V12 supercars, because Lamborghini Aventador does even better at +135% in the fourth quarter and +48% for the year.
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Production of the British V12 Grand Tourer coupe Aston Martin DB9 has ended in 2016 and it shows with a 79% drop in deliveries in Q4, while combined sales with its successor DB11 are up 84%, but the Vanquish also seems to be cannibalized by the latest addition to the line-up. The Rolls Royce Dawn convertible has quickly become the brand’s best seller ahead of the Wraith coupe and Ghost sedan. Ferrari’s V12 Grand Tourer FF has also gone out of production but its replacement Ferrari GTC4Lusso can’t make up for the lost volume yet. Finally, Bugatti has sold the last few Veyrons and will start customer deliveries of the Chiron in 2017. Also in 2017 we’ll see updated versions of the AMG GT and Continental GT. I’ve already mentioned the Ferrari 812 Superfast, and we’ll also welcome the new Ford GT this year.
Sales of large sports cars are stable in 2016, after a 5% loss in Q4. The dominant segment leader Porsche 911 grows its volume by 8% and that means it’s back above 50% share of the segment. Its closest challenger remains the Jaguar F-type with stable sales, while the next intended 911-killer Mercedes-AMG GT loses 5% for the year after a 30% decline in the last quarter. The BMW i8 loses a quarter of its volume and now feels the Audi R8 breathing down its neck thanks to sales up 29%. The R8 was down 23% in the fourth quarter as the second generation is starting to lose its freshness. The Ferrari California T is down 17% for the year despite an 8% gain in Q4, while the Aston Martin Vantage loses 8%. The two Maserati dinosaurs GranTurismo and GranCabrio are relatively stable considering their age. And a replacement won’t arrive for a few more years. We will see the new Honda NSX in 2017, as well as a BMW i8 Spyder.
The small sports car segment does much better at +21%, although the party is somewhat spoiled by a 5% decline in the last quarter. The main culprit for both is the Ford Mustang, as it has now celebrated its first birthday of being officially available in Europe. The American muscle car is unable to knock the Audi TT off its throne as the segmetn leader, despite a 7% decline in deliveries, which translates into almost 8 percentage points of lost share. The Mazda MX-5 doubles its volume on 2015, but its Q4 sales were down a harsh 34% on the year before. There are two main reasons for this decline: Q4 of 2015 was exceptionally good because the new generation had just started deliveries, and secondly the launch of the Fiat 124 Spider on the same platform. The Fiat lands at #6 in its introduction year and was on par with the Porsche Boxster in Q4. In the last quarter the Mercedes-Benz SLC was up 10% on the volume of the SLK, but the models are down 14% for the full year due to the model change.
The BMW Z4 is nearing the end of its life cycle and lost 38% in the last quarter. The Toyota GT86 and Nissan 370Z have made nice recoveries in the last quarter, as sales were up 35% and 52% respectively. But the Chevrolet Camaro did even better with sales up more than fourfold for a #9 position. Contrastingly, the Alfa Romeo 4C was down 24% in the last quarter, and the Subaru BRZ and Lotus Evora lost 32% and 37% respectively.
In 2017, Mazda will launch a hardtop targa version of the MX-5, called RF, Ford will update the Mustang and we’ll finally see the cars that BMW and Toyota have jointly developed: the BMW Z5 and Toyota Supra.
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