After a slight decrease in the second quarter of 2017,sales of exotic cars in Europe have returned to double digit growth with a 10% increase in the third quarter. As a result, the year-to-date figure is still up 16% to just over 5.500 units. The all-new Aston Martin DB11 has already lost the segment lead it took in the first quarter, as it was down into third place in both Q2 and Q3. The best seller in the third quarter was the former segment leader Bentley Continental GT, even though the next generation of that model has already been revealed and will hit showrooms in 2018. The current generation lost 13% of its volume in the third quarter. The Ferrari 488 was up 13% in Q3 and holds on to its top spot for now, but it will be a tight race with the Continental GT if the latter keeps up its momentum. If the Bentley manages to top the ranking again this year, it would mark the 6th consecutive year the model will do so. For the 488 it would be the first time in its career. Its predecessor 458 Italia never took the title, as the last time a Ferrari was the best selling exotic car in Europe was in 2009, the last year of the F430. The only other model to sell over 150 units in Q3 is the Lamborghini Huracan, up 8% on last year.
The Aston Martin Vanquish was up an impressive 81% in the third quarter, pulling up its year-to-date figure to +36%, helping it discance the Lamborghini Aventador and Ferrari F12. The latter was down 32% in Q3 as its replacement Ferrari 812 Superfast arrived in the third quarter with its first 23 sales. Combined sales of the two models was down just 6% as customer deliveries of the new model still need to pick up traction. At Rolls Royce, the Dawn convertible took a big hit last quarter, down 45% but it still outsold the Wraith coupe, which saw stable sales. Both models are relatively stable for the year so far. The Honda NSX sells about 10 units a month in Europe, compared to over 80 per month in the US in October and November.
After 4 quarters of declines, sales of large sports cars are back up again in Q3 of 2017 with an 11% gain, but the year-to-date figure for the first nine months is still down 7%. The dominant segment leader Porsche 911 continues to win market share thanks to a 14% increase in the third quarter and a smaller-than-average loss for the year so far. Its share of the segment at 53,5%, is up from last year, but slightly down from the first half of the year. Its closes rival Jaguar F-type loses 5% in Q3 but gains a full percentage point of share compared to the first three quarters of 2016. Thanks to the recent updates helping the model more than double its sales on last year, the Mercedes-AMG GT reclaims third place from its stablemate Mercedes-Benz SL, down 41% in the third quarter. We also have a new contender to challenge for the segment podium as the Lexus LC was up to 4th place in Q3 in its first three months of sales, outselling teh Audi R8 and BMW i8. The R8 rebounded with an increase of 13% in the third quarter and is almost back into the black year-to-date. The i8 lost half of its volume and is down 39% so far this year. The upcoming roadster version and technology update should give the nameplate a boost again in 2018.
With a new generation ready to hit European showrooms, the current Aston Martin V8/V12 Vantage loses 28% in the third quarter and drops into the negative YTD. The Ferrari California T is down by almost 40% and its stablemates from Maserati both lose more than half of their volume.
The small sports car segment is down 5% in the third quarter and drops further into the red with a loss of 2% so far this year. The big event in this segment is the change of leadership, as the Mazda MX-5 has outsold the Audi TT thanks to a sales increase of 43% for the MX-5 and a loss of 22% for the TT. If the Mazda manages to hold on to the top spot until the end of the year, it will be the first time ever the little Japanese roadster tops the charts in Europe. The only other time this millennium that the segment leader was not either the Audi TT or the Mercedes-Benz SLK was in 2003 when the BMW Z4 was brand new and finished ahead of its German rivals. The Ford Mustang holds on to its podium spot despite a loss of 30% of its volume in Q3. The American muscle car still outsold the SLC and the MX-5’s platform sibling Fiat 124 Spider, up 33%. The duo Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman are down 6% on Q3 of last year and are the last nameplate to hold more than 10% of the segment. In 7th place the Chevrolet Camaro gains 71% in the third quarter thanks to its facelift, while behind it the Toyota GT86 also enjoys a sudden surge in popularity, as an 84% gain this quarter brings it back into the black for the year so far. Its clone Subaru BRZ is also up, by 39% in Q3. We’ll welcome Alpine to the ranking in Q4 and will see how the revival of the famous French brand will work out for them. The hardware looks promising, but do enough people still remember the brand for it to return to former glory?
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