Spain March 2016: First decline in 31 months on weak rentals

Opel Corsa Spain February 2015. Picture courtesy autobild.deThe Corsa (+13%) keeps Opel as the #1 brand in Spain so far in 2016. 

* See the Top 42 All-brands and Top 270 All-models by clicking on the title *

If last month we described the Spanish new car market as artificially up, this time and after a whopping 30 consecutive months of year-on-year gains, it is actually down at -0.6% to 112.122 registrations. This is the first time since August 2013 that new car sales in Spain lose ground year-on-year, marking an abrupt end to a speedy recovery from the global recession of 2009. The year-to-date total is still up by a vigorous 7% at 287.193 units over the first quarter but this weak March result definitely puts a damper on hopes for a third consecutive year of double-digits gains in Spain, whose car market is still a long way from its record level of 2006 (413.295 sales during the first quarter). A look at sales by channels confirms what we observed so far this year: sales to rental companies now dictate the Spanish market: they single-handedly drove it into negative by skid 10% to 32.330 units or 28.8% share just as sales to companies are up 11% to 27.572 and 24.6% share and retail sales are up a very timid 0.2% to 52.115 or 46.6% share, still well below the symbolic 50% mark. That rental sales are down isn’t a bad thing in itself, but that they have enough clout to be capable to driving the entire market down, is.

Jaguar F-Pace Spain March 2016After the Jaguar F-Pace in February… 

Opel continues on its excellent streak and remains the #1 brand in the country, going against the grain with sales up 11% to 9.299 and 8.3% share, ahead of Peugeot (+8%) while Volkswagen (-17%) and Seat (-12%) both drop much faster than the market, as do Renault (-14%), Nissan (-17%) and Ford (-26%). In the Top 20, Dacia (+11%), Kia (+13%), BMW (+26%), Honda (+26%), Mercedes (+28%), Volvo (+35%) and Mazda (+48%) ignore the negative trend and all post spectacular gains. Smart (+111%) and Jaguar (+103%) lead smaller brands.

Model-wise, the Seat Leon (3.609) and Ibiza (3.293) continue to dominate the sales charts, but if the Leon keeps its head above the water (+2%), the Ibiza sinks (-16%). The Opel Corsa lodges another excellent month in third place, coming up 4th so far in 2016 vs. #10 in 2015. Below the Nissan Qashqai (-22%), the Dacia Sandero and Peugeot 308 markedly progress, each gaining 27% on their March 2015 respective levels. Both the VW Polo (-23%) and Golf (-5%) lose ground.

Bentley Bentayga Spain March 2016… it’s the turn of the Bentley Bentayga to hit Spanish roads in March. 

Recent launches are led once again by the Hyundai Tucson (#14) and Renault Kadjar (#33), with the Mazda CX-3 (#80), Mercedes GLC (#82) and Honda HR-V (#85) in tow while the new Fiat Tipo breaks into the Top 100 for the first time (#95). After the Jaguar F-Pace last month, we welcome another luxury SUV in March: the Bentley Bentayga at #244 with 3 sales. These two nameplates are destined to stellar sales success in Spain, if Porsche figures are to be replicated: the Macan (83) and Cayenne (58) account for a whopping 79% of the brand’s sales in the country this month…

Previous month: Spain February 2016: Seat Leon and Ibiza top market artificially up

One year ago: Spain March 2015: Nissan Qashqai and Ford Focus up

Full February 2016 Top 42 All-brands and Top 270 All-models below.

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