Chasing VW: the battle for Europe’s second place

The Volkswagen Group continues to dominate the European automobile market with a record 27% market share in July 2014 thanks to increasing sales of the Skoda and Seat brands, and on a much smaller scale Porsche. Its core VW brand meanwhile has taken a large chunk of market share from its direct competitors to position itself as the clear sales leader in Europe.

Market_share-Europe-VW-Ford-Opel-RenaultIn the last decade, as the European passenger car market has slumped from a record high of just over 16 million units in 2004 to a record low of 12,27 million in 2013, sales of Volkswagen have shown very little effect from this crisis. VW brand sales in 2013 were just 9.000 less than in 2004, and as a result the brand’s market share has grown from a low of 9,59% in 2004 to a record 12,57% in 2013. This means that VW has positioned itself as the clear market leader in Europe, leaving its three closest competitors Ford, Opel/Vauxhall and Renault scrambling for second place, all at least five full percentage points below the German brand.

In contrast, from 1997 until 2001, the top three brands in Europe all had market shares above 10%, and when VW was Europe’s no. 1 brand from 1998 until 2001, it never had an advantage of more than half a percentage point over its nearest competitor.

VW-Ford-Opel_Vauxhall-Renault-Europe-salesFord, Opel/Vauxhall and Renault each have set short- to mid-term goals of either reclaiming or maintaining a second place in the European brand charts, fully aware that’s the best they could hope for, as Volkswagen is too powerful to let any of them even come near.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis July 2014 – brands

Auto sales in Europe are up 5,5% in July 2014 to 1.076.705 units, extending the streak of year-over-year gains to 11 months, and the Year-to-Date tally now stands at 7.882.231 up 5,8% on 2013.

VW-Golf-Skoda-Octavia-Seat-Leon-European-compact-car-segment-salesThe biggest winner in July is once again the VW Group, reaching its highest market share of the European car market ever at just over 27%, with Skoda and Volkswagen as the brands with the biggest volume increases overall, followed by Dacia. Skoda has passed Citroën and Fiat in July to move into the top-10 in 9th place.

Similarly, Dacia is closing in on Hyundai, with less than 1.500 units between them for the third time this year and the second straight month. If Dacia continues this performance and if Hyundai continues to struggle, the Romanian brand may overtake the South-Koreans sometime later this year. The impending model change of the i20 and the continuous decline of the i30 don’t help the Hyundai brand either.

Also in July, Audi has passed Peugeot for only the fifth time in the past three years (and possibly ever), despite the French enjoying great success with their Car of the Year, the 308. However, the Peugeot compact car is still outsold by a more than 3.000 units by its German premium competitor Audi A3. … Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis July 2014 – models

The European car sales ranking for July 2014 shows the VW Golf still reigning supreme as expected, all by itself outselling the full line-up of Toyota. But below the Golf, the Fiesta has reclaimed the second place that it lost to the Clio in the past two months, although it does it by a margin of less than 400 units.

Peugeot-308-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeAs the 208 is down again, it’s almost pushed out of the top-10, and is in danger of being overtaken as the brand’s best seller by the brand-new 308, already in 14th place. It would be the first time since at least a few decades and possibly ever that a Peugeot compact outsells the brand’s subcompact cars. And will the 308 also be able to outsell the Opel/Vauxhall Astra (11th place in July) next year, as its predecessor 307 managed to achieve in 2002, 2003 and 2004? I think it will.

Volkswagen-Golf-Sportsvan-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeOnce again, the fastest gaining model in the top-10 is the Skoda Octavia, and (am I repeating myself too often here?) its platform siblings Seat Leon and Audi A3 are exploring new heights as well. Okay, I’ll add something new here: the VW Golf Sportsvan, replacing the Golf Plus, is selling like hot cakes as well, up to 52nd place with 7.432 sales, a figure it will undoubtedly improve further in the next couple of months. As a result, Volkswagen Group’s new modular MQB platform is already closing in on the 100.000 monthly units mark, with 97.198 cars sold on that platform in July.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 first half EV segment

The Electric Car segment is the fastest growing segment in Europe in the first half of 2014, almost doubling in size compared to the same period of last year, and increasing its share of the European car market to 0,35%, roughly in in every 285 cars. The growth of the EV segment is actually speeding up, as 2013 sales were up “just” 74% on 2012.

Nissan-Leaf-EV-sales-Europe-2014The Nissan Leaf compact hatchback remains on top with over 7.000 units in six months time, an increase of 56% on last year, which was already more than double its 2012 sales, meaning the Leaf is on track for another record year. It is followed by the Tesla Model S, which has managed to top the Norwegian sales chart (of all vehicles, not just EV’s) again in March of this year. This was the third time ever the Model S has outsold all other cars in Norway, after September and December 2013. The Model S is on track to become the second electric car to break the 10.000 annual units level in Europe, after the Leaf.

BMW-i3-Electric_car-sales-statistics-EuropeAs I predicted in my 2013 EV sales analysis, the BMW i3 manages to claim a spot on the European podium, selling 4.721 electric cars in the first half of the year, surpassing the Renault Zoe, which surprisingly sees its sales already slow down 15% in only its second year of sales.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 first half Coupe segment

Nissan-370Z-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeAfter a decline of 31% in 2013, the coupe segment in Europe sinks even further down this year, losing another quarter of its volume in the first six months. Again, all models in the top-10 are down double digits, with the exception this time of the Nissan 370Z thanks to a facelift. This is however still the slowest seller of the top-10.

The top-5 ranking remains stable, with the Opel/Vauxhall Astra GTC still in charge of the segment, and the Renault Megane Coupe and VW Scirocco completing the podium.

The Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ twins are already back down again, as customers eagerly await a convertible version of either one of them. Rumors are, that Toyota would like to build one, but is dependent on Subaru, who actually builds both cars.

The Camaro may be the best performing Chevrolet with sales down “just” 12%, as the South-Korean models all suffer bigger losses due to the announcement of the brand’s withdrawal from the market next year. The Camaro and Corvette are here to stay, according to General Motors.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 first half Convertible segment

Opel-Cascada-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeAfter a tiny 1% increase in 2013, European convertible sales are back down 12% again in the first half of this year. The top-3 of the segment remains unchanged, as the VW Golf Cabriolet has held on to its advantage over the Beetle softtop. I had thought the Opel/Vauxhall Cascada would be able to challenge the two Volkswagens this year, but so far it lags far behind, as theVW still sells almost twice as many Golf convertibles as Opel and Vauxhall sell Cascadas.

The Citroën DS3 Cabrio, which moved up to the fourth position in 2013, is already down 29% again, also losing a spot to the 308CC. Awaiting the new, fourth generation MX-5, the little Japanese roadster doesn’t seem to suffer that much, as it’s relatively stable at -4%.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 first half exotic and sports car segments

Ferrari-458-Italia-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeSales of exotic cars in Europe are down again in the second quarter of 2014, leading to a 1% decline for the first half. Almost all models are down, while the Ferrari 458 Italia is up 4%, and as a result it moves back into the segment top spot for the first time since 2011, pushing the Bentley Continental GT down into second place.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is down 30% in the second quarter, as final deliveries of the car take place before it is replaced by a smaller model, the AMG GT which should compete with the Porsche 911. As a result, the Ferrari F12, despite sales down 33% for the first half, is closing back in on the third position it held last year.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 first half Premium large SUV segment

The premium large SUV segment has increased its growth rate from 11% in the first quarter to a whopping 23% in the second quarter, making it +16% for the first half of 2014.


Photo credit: Auto Express

Three main suspects are responsible for this growth: the BMW X5, as the new generation helps the model more than double last year’s sales and push it from third place to firmly in the lead of the segment. Then the Range Rover Sport, also thanks to the new generation which is much lighter than the outgoing and therefore more fuel efficient and easier to drive. It also sells more than twice as many as in the first half of 2013. And on a bit smaller scale but still worth mentioning: the Jeep Grand Cherokee, rising from 9th position to 5th as the new generation proves popular among European buyers. Jeeps best selling model is on track to reach its fourth consecutive year of increased sales and its highest annual sales figure since 2007.… Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 first half Premium compact SUV segment


volvo-XC60-premium-compact-SUV-sales-EuropePremium compact SUV’s were just as popular in the first half of this year as they were in the same period last year. However, that doesn’t mean the ranking is stable as well. While the BMW X3 had the segment crown in 2012 and 2013, the Range Rover Evoque was the number one seller in the first quarter of 2014, leaving the X3 down in fourth position. But in the second quarter, the Audi Q5 was the best seller, while the Evoque was pushed down into fourth spot, behind the X3 again. Surprisingly, the X3 was back on top of the segment again in June, for the first time since September 2013.

The only consistent seller this year is the Volvo XC60, up a cool 34% on last year and second place in both the first and second quarter of the year. It is less than 650 sales behind the year-to-date leader Q5, giving the already six year old model, although recently updated, a shot at the segment crown by the end of the year. … Continue Reading …

European sales 2014 first half Limousine segment


Photo credit: Auto Motor und Sport

If you thought the first quarter of 2014 was an impressive one for the limousine segment, the second quarter improves even further on that performance, with over 11.500 cars sold in those three months. Almost 5.000 of those, or 43%, are the recently renewed Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the supreme leader of the segment since forever. Well, with the exception of 2009 and 2012 that is, because the BMW 7-series took the crown in those years.

Even with this impressive performance, the S-Class isn’t anywhere near the levels the W220-generation managed around the new millennium, when that model topped 30.000 annual units three years in a row. Of course, the competition has grown significantly since, not only from new entrants in this segment, like the Porsche Panamera, but also from Luxury SUV’s, a segment that was virtually non-existent 15 years ago. … Continue Reading …