Sales of exotic cars in Europe increase 13% in 2017 to 6.776 units. For the first time the Ferrari 488 takes the annual segment crown, its predecessor 458 Italia never took the title so the last time a Ferrari was the best selling exotic car in Europe was in 2009, the last year of the F430. This is the first time in six years the Bentley Continental GT does not top the exotics sales charts, and the difference between the two models was just 7 sales as the Continental made a final sprint in an attempt to reclaim the lead. A new generation of the Bentley is due in 2018 so the tables are likely to be turned again this year. In third place we find the Aston Martin DB11, the segment leader in the first quarter of the year. This top-3 controls 63% of the segment and they’re the only models with four-figure sales in Europe. Best of the rest is the Lamborghini Huracan, up 25% to improve sales every year since its launch, as well as setting a new annual sales record for any Lamborghini model in Europe, beating the Gallardo’s 629 sales in 2007. The Aston Martin Vanquish is up 45% but falls 20 sales short of breaking its annual sales record from 2013 when the current generation was just launched. That helps it become the best selling V12-only model ahead of the Lamborghini Aventador, down 13% and the Ferrari F12, down by a third as its replacement 812 Superfast arrived in showrooms. The Rolls Royce Dawn convertible slightly dips but remains ahead of the Wraith coupe. The Honda NSX sells just an average of 10 units a month in its first year. Lastly, Bugatti delivered 16 unique copies of the Chiron in Europe last year, one shy of the Veyron’s peak year of 17 deliveries in 2007.
Due to a slow start of the year, sales of large sports cars are down 4% to 28.000 sales in 2017, despite growth in the second half of the year. The dominant segment leader Porsche 911 wins market share with a 3% loss and now controls 53,8% of the segment. The #2 Jaguar F-type is stable on last year, potentially helped by the addition of a 4-cylinder version. In third place we find the Mercedes-AMG GT which is up 3% but that doesn’t tell the whole story for this model. Sales were down 41% in the first half of the year as buyers were awaiting the updated version, which helped the GT improve 112% in Q3 and 82% in Q4 to finish with less than 100 additional sales to 2016. As a result, the Mercedes-Benz SL was distanced and that model’s 22% loss (-42% in the second half of the year) almost dropped it behind the Audi R8. The BMW i8 is down 35% as an updated version is on the way. The same goes for the Aston Martin Vantage but the Brit is much more stable at just -3%. We welcome the Lexus LC to the ranking with nearly 600 sales in its first partial year.
As mentioned, the new generation V8/V12 Vantage was in showrooms early 2018, we’ll also get the updated i8 including a roadster version and lastly Ferrari will replace the California with the Portofino.
The small sports car segment is down 4% to 76.500 sales in 2017 after an 11% loss in the fourth quarter. The Mazda MX-5 has not been able to grab its first ever segment title despite leading at the end of the third quarter. Sales of the roadster take a nosedive each year when the temperatures start to drop and that has allowed the Audi TT to prolong its title as Europe’s best selling sports car despite the addition of the MX-5 RF version with the retractable hardtop. TT sales are down 22% while the MX-5 is up 15% but that’s not enough to top the charts, with a gap of just over 500 units between them. The Japanese roadster did manage to leapfrog the Ford Mustang, down 13% as buyers awaited the facelifted version. The updated Porsche 718 Boxster/Cayman duo is up 60% on the volume of the pre-718 Boxster but up just 1,5% on the combined sales figures of 2016. This allows them to stay ahead of the Mercedes-Benz SLC in fourth place. The Fiat 124 Spider lands at #6 in its first full year of sales, at just over half of the Mazda version. Combined, these two would be at the top of the ranking. The Chevrolet Camaro rebounds with sales more than doubling after its updated version was launched in Europe, allowing it to move past the Toyota GT86 and Nissan 370Z, the latter of which is up 6% despite being already 9 years old. Despite its age, this is its best year since 2012. The Alfa Romeo 4C is down 26% and drops below its 1.000 annual production quota for Europe. The Subaru BRZ surprisingly rebounds sharply from its low of 2016 but is still way behind on its peak year. At Lotus, the Exige and Elise are pretty stable, but the Evora is down sharply with just 4 sales in the last quarter.
In 2018 we’ll finally meet the new BMW Z4 (Z5?) and Toyota Supra, both to be introduced in Geneva in March and the segment leader TT will be updated.
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