European car sales analysis October 2016 – models

Volkswagen_Tiguan-European-sales-figures-October-2016We’ve looked at the October 2016 European car brand sales ranking, now we’ll take a closer look at which models sold well in Europe this October. The elephant in the room is the big hit the leader VW Golf takes, losing more than a fifth of its volume on last year, and for 85% responsible for this month’s loss of the Volkswagen brand as a whole. Obvious culprits for this demise: increased competition from the Opel/Vauxhall Astra (#5, +58,5%) and Renault Megane (#22, +42,1%), cannibalization from the new generations Tiguan (#7, +52,5%) and Touran (#43, +66,6%) and an upcoming facelift next year. The Ford Fiesta is in 2nd place for the second month in a row and only the third time this year, followed by the usual suspects Volkswagen Polo and Renault Clio. The Astra is back up to 5th place, ahead of the Peugeot 208 and the Volkswagen Tiguan, inside the top-10 for the third consecutive month and for the third time ever. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa is down to its lowest position of the year in 9th place, sandwiched between the Skoda Octavia and Nissan Qashqai.… Continue Reading …

Skoda entering the US market? Not so fast, says VW, part 2

Volkswagen-US-strategyI’ve just tried to argue once again why launching Skoda in the US would be a smart move, but I’m sure at least one of our esteemed readers will raise the following counterarguments and I’d have to fully agree with him/her, so here’s why I think why VW shouldn’t bring Skoda to North America: the market is already saturated and the upcoming changes that will affect the automotive industry will give Volkswagen an opportunity to redeem itself. None of these points were stipulated by the unnamed VW board member who was quoted to say it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring Skoda to the US anyway.… Continue Reading …

Skoda entering the US market? Not so fast, says VW, part 1

Skoda_Kodiaq-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeEver since the Diesel scandal broke in the US, there have been rumors that Skoda could step up to enter the North American market to pick up the lost share or even to replace the tarnished VW brand altogether in this market. Kriss even wrote an article explaining in 5 points why it would make sense for Skoda to enter the US market 18 months ago, before the emission cheating software had been revealed. In the poll at the end of that article, 63% of our respondents thought VW should base its US offerings on Skoda models. This week, the influential auto journalist and well-informed industry watcher Georg Kacher quotes a senior VW board member: “We may be crazy, but we’re not mad. Entering this huge market with an unknown brand, a model range focused on Europe, and a non-existent dealer network is pure suicide. Furthermore, the last thing Volkswagen of America needs now is in-house cannibalization.”

The irony in this quote lies in the part “a model range focused on Europe”, because that’s exactly what Volkswagen itself has been unsuccessfully attempting to to for decades.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis October 2016 – brands

European-car-sales-graph-October_2016Car sales in Europe stabilize in October after a slow but steady rise in the past years. In fact, the 0,6% drop in sales is only the second negative result in 3 years, after last July. A total of 1.133.276 cars were sold this month, which brings the year-to-date figure down to + 6,7% at 12.662.372 sales. October showed mixed results between the markets, with the Southern European countries as the big winners again: Italy (+9,7%) and Spain (+4%), but also the United Kingdom at +1,4%, while Germany (-5,6%) and France (-4%) lose volume. The biggest relative loser is The Netherlands at -22,2%, which is also one of only two countries to be in the red year-to-date, together with Switzerland.

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European sales 2016 Q1-Q3 EV and PHEV segments

EV-PHEV-sales-figures-Europe-2016-Q1-Q32016 is set to once again break a new record for both EV and PHEV sales in Europe, but mostly thanks to Plug-in hybrid cars. Sales of battery electric cars increased just 7% in the first three quarters of the year to 70.654 units, after improving by almost 50% in both 2015 and 2014. This means we’ll probably have to wait until 2017 to reach 100.000 annual EV sales in Europe, because a number of governments, most notably Denmark and Sweden, have dialed back on their EV incentives in 2016. Sales of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles are also slowing down their growth curve, but still improved by 45% and look set top 100.000 sales this year already. Total sales of plug-in vehicles are up 24% to 151.912, or 1,3% of the overall market, compared to 1,1% in the first nine months of 2015.

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European sales 2016 Q1-Q3 Exotic and Sports Car segments

Exotic_car-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-Bentley_Continental_GT-Ferrari_488-Lamborghini_HuracanSales of exotic cars in Europe grow at double the overall market in the first three quarters of 2016 with an increase of 15% to 4.773 units, compared to +7,5% of the rest of the market. More than half of those sales are for just two models: the Bentley Continental GT / GTC and the new Ferrari 488. The Ferrari was the segment leader in Q2 but the Bentley outsold it in Q1 and Q3. That means the British coupe and convertible is likely to celebrate its 5th consecutive year as the best selling exotic car in Europe, with either the 488 or its predecessor Ferrari 458 Italia not far behind for most of that time. The Lamborghini Huracan consolidates its third place thanks to the arrival of the Spider version. The Rolls Royce Dawn was the #4 of the segment in Q3 and moves to 7th place year-to-date with a good shot at moving up one more place by year end, trumping the Aston Martin DB9, which is being replaced by the al-new DB11.

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Help us find a new name!

cropped-Left-Lane-icon.pngAs some of you may have noticed at the top of our page, we’ve been informed that our name Left-Lane.com violates a registered trademark. This means we’ve been given a short timeframe to come up with a new name for our website/blog and change the domain. Since it is not easy to come up with a good name, we’ve decided to involve you, our faithful and enthusiastic readers, with this process.

Since its inception just 3 years ago, Left-Lane has evolved from a personal blog about the automotive industry into a leading source of automotive sales data for Europe, the US and China, with two regular editors and the occasional guest writer. We’ve been growing fast and continue to do so, with 180.000 readers in November and over 53.500 last week, from just about every country in the world, and many from within the industry, either at OEM or supplier level, as I can see from the subscribers to our mailing list and the many e-mails I receive each day.

There are two options for a new name:

  1. something generic, that explains what we do: a name that includes words like cars, stats, analysis, data, automotive etc.
  2. something unique, that may or may not be (remotely) related to what we do, but which is easy to remember and, most importantly: not already trademarked.

We, Bart and Kriss, prefer something of the second category, but have been struggling something that really hits the spot.

So be creative and tell us what you think in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Many thanks in advance.

European sales 2016 Q1-Q3 Passenger Van segment

Passenger-van-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-Volkswagen_T6-Fiat_Ducato-Mercedes_Benz_V_ClassSales of large passenger vans in Europe are up 21% in the first nine months of 2016, after a 35% improvement in Q3. The segment outperforms the overall market at +7,5% by a large margin, as the entire top-6 shows double digit growth. The Volkswagen T6 still leads the segment with almost a third of total sales thanks to its facelift of last year. The T6 sold more than twice as many units in Q3 than any of its challengers. However, keep in mind these sales include those of the Multivan, the luxury passenger van that competes with the Mercedes-Benz V-Class. If we combine sales of the latter with those of its basic twin Vito Tourer, Mercedes would be the closest rival of VW in this segment, however still unable to touch the Transporter. The Fiat Ducato was outsold by the V-Class in Q3 but has built up a large enough advantage to keep its position by the end of the year.

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European sales 2016 Q1-Q3 Premium Large SUV segment

Large_Premium_SUV-segment-European-sales-2016_Q2-BMW_X5-Volvo_XC90-Audi_Q7Sales of large premium SUVs in Europe are up 25% in the first three quarters of 2016, significantly faster than the overall market at +7,5%, and at double the rate of growth in the US, where this segment grows 13%. However, in Europe this segment takes only 1,9% of total market volume, compared to 3,4% in the United States. The podium remains unchanged from the first half of the year, with the BMW X5 still in the lead, ahead of the two newest entries in the top-10: Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, unable to fight for the lead despite being much fresher than the X5. In fact, the Mercedes-Benz GLE also outsold them both in Q3 and moves into fourth place year-to-date, passing the Range Rover Sport. The entire top-4 of the segment is available with a plug-in hybrid option, which has helped popularity of the segment as a whole.

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European sales 2016 Q1-Q3 Premium Midsized and Compact SUV segments

Midsized_Premium_SUV-segment-European-sales-2016_Q3-Volvo_XC60-Audi_Q5-Mercedes_Benz_GLCSales of midsized premium SUVs in Europe keep growing even faster, at +44% in Q3, bringing the year-to-date tally for the first three quarters to +31%. None of the remaining nameplates has clocked a loss, but five out of ten show only single-digit gains, as over 40% of the segment growth can be attributed to a single brand: Mercedes-Benz. After years of slow sales due to a product that didn’t match the preferences of most buyers (the GLK), the German brand is now playing catch-up with the new GLC and GLC Coupe, immediately storming to third place of the segment. Ahead of the GLC are two elderly models, both about 8 years old already but still selling well in the final stages of their life cycle. The Volvo XC60 grows just 3% which means it loses about 4,5 percentage points of share, and the Audi Q5 improves 5% and loses 3,6 percentage points, but climbs back onto the podium after being relegated to 4th place in the first half of the year.… Continue Reading …