Germany Full Year 2016: VW down, Mercedes up, strongest market this decade

mercedes-e-class-germany-2016Mercedes hit an all-time high 10.3% share in Germany in November. 

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The German new car market posts a third consecutive year of gains in 2016 at +4.5% to 3.351.607 units, its highest volume in seven years – since scrappage scheme-boosted 2009 (3.807.175). Low fuel prices and low interest rates have help fuelled this year’s dynamism in Germany, but most local analysts predict a slow-down of the growth in 2017 to around 2%, mainly thanks to sales incentives that have shot up by 25% since 2010. Traditionally desperately stable, the German brands ranking rises to new heights in 2016 with the Top 16 best-selling manufacturers unchanged on 2015. Market leader Volkswagen drops 4% and almost two percentage points of market share to 19.6%, one of only two carmakers in The Top 20 to lose volume year-on-year with Hyundai (-1%).

Renault Megane Germany 2016. Picture courtesy autobild.deFrench carmaker Renault is the biggest gainer in the Top 20 at +14%. 

Reversely Mercedes outpaces the market with a splendid 9% gain to 311.286 sales and 9.3% share, even reaching an all-time high 10.3% of its home market in November. Its cements its domination of the luxury segment, with Audi (+8%) and BMW (+5%) with lodging weaker gains. Below, Opel (+6%) and Ford (+7%) gain marginal market share while Skoda (+3%) loses a smidgen. Renault (+14%) is the biggest gainer in the Top 20 and takes a comfortable advantage over Hyundai to remain in 9th position. Only Mini and Volvo (both at +11%) deliver double-dgit gains in the Top 20, with Fiat, Toyota, Mazda and Kia (+9%) coming close. Further down, Honda (+20%), Land Rover (+25%), Ssangyong (+37%), Lexus (+46%), Maserati (+51%), Alfa Romeo (+53%), Bentley (+73%), Jaguar (+75%) and Infiniti (+108%) all set the German sales charts on fire thanks to new offerings, almost uniquely SUVs.

VW Golf Germany 2016The VW Golf is #1 in Germany for the 36th consecutive year (no interruption since 1980).

The VW Golf is the best-selling model at home for the 36th year in a row and a total of 41 times: every year since 1975 apart from one interruption in 1980 by the Mercedes W123. For reference, the VW Beetle ‘only’ topped the Germany market for 29 consecutive years from 1946 to 1973. In fact, despite a harsh 13% decline, it now sells 2.92 times as much as the #2, the VW Passat itself down 17% vs. 2.78 times in 2015. The VW Polo (+3%) rounds up a podium 100% Volkswagen like last year and the Mercedes C-Class (-1%) remains in 4th place. Thanks to the new model the Opel Astra jumps 16% and 3 spots to return inside the annual Top 5 for the first time since 2012. The VW Tiguan, also lifted by a new generation, reaches a new all-time high for the nameplate at 63.979 sales, peaking at #2 from August to October.

Opel Astra Germany 2016. Picture courtesy autobild.deThe Opel Astra returns inside the annual German Top 5. 

The Audi A4 (+17%), VW Touran (+42%), Skoda Fabia (+11%), Mini (+11%) and Mercedes E-Class (+15%) also post double-digit gains inside the Top 20 while the BMW 2 Series soars another 12% to become the brand’s best-seller at home at #12 above the 1 Series (#15) and 3 Series (#18). The Seat Leon breaks its volume and ranking records thanks to deliveries up 9% to 46.010, lifting it to #16 overall. Other impressive performers indulge the BMW X1 up 73% thanks to the new model, the Mercedes GLC up 59% over the GLK, the Hyundai Tucson landing at #37 and the Skoda Superb up 55%. Among newcomers, notice also the Seat Ateca at #119, the Fiat Tipo at #127and the Ford Edge at #176. The Audi Q2 (#193) and Toyota C-HR (#216) have promising starts, respectively ranking #89 and #98 in December.

VW Tiguan Germany 2016The VW Tiguan posts a new annual volume record in 2016 and ranked #2 three times. 

Looking at the best-selling nameplates with private buyers, the podium is here again 100% Volkswagen but the Golf (28.8% private ratio) leads ahead of the Polo (56%) and Tiguan (45.7%) this time. The Skoda Fabia and BMW 1 Series complete a Top 5 unchanged on 2015 while the Mini impresses with private sales up 15% to land in 6th position overall. The BMW 2 Series is up 12% to #8, the Mercedes A-Class up 9% to #9, the Opel Astra up 17 s[pots to #12, the BMW X1 up 155% to #13, the Fiat Ducato up 18% to #14 thanks to RVs, the Dacia Sandero remains at an impressive 16th spot and the Hyundai i10 and i20 both gain 36% to rank within the Top 30.

Previous month: Germany November 2016: Mercedes hits high point at 10.3% share

Previous year: Germany Full Year 2015: VW Golf celebrates 40 years in pole position

Two years ago: Germany Full Year 2014: Audi A3, VW Tiguan & Skoda Octavia at all-time high

Full Year and December 2016 Top 50 brands, Top 380 models and Top 30 private sales below.

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