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Strategy: Was killing Chevrolet in Europe a good idea?

August 20th, 2014 15 comments

Chevrolet Cruze crash. Picture courtesy of autoblog.comGeneral Motors crashed Chevrolet down in Europe. A good thing?

On paper yes, in practice no.

In December 2013, General Motors announced it would kill the Chevrolet brand in Europe to concentrate on ailing Opel and its UK sister brand Vauxhall. A reshuffling of priorities that made sense given Opel racked up an incredible $18 billion in losses over the past 12 years. GM cited damaging in-house competition that had eroded the profitability of both Opel/Vauxhall and Chevrolet in the region to justify the cull. Harsh but clean-cut, killing Chevrolet Europe is one of these decisions that is strategically sound but could potentially oversee the reality on the ground and changing consumers perceptions as a result.

Chevrolet Bel Air ImpalaChevrolet’s heritage is still present in European consumers’ minds.

Too big to kill?

Killing a brand such as Chevrolet in such a large market as Europe – 13 million new vehicles this year – is a huge deal and is not likely to happen smoothly. In troubled times, General Motors has made the decision to sacrifice the smaller of two struggling brands, but perhaps not the less healthy. By 2011 Chevrolet was selling just under 200,000 annual units on the continent through a network of 1,900 dealers, a little below Volvo and more than Mini, Honda, Suzuki or Mazda. Granted, the brand perception of Chevrolet may have morphed from badass American cars to dubious Korean imports by the time most models in the range had a Daewoo origin, but Chevrolet enjoys almost 100% awareness in Europe due to its long American heritage.

It’s not like GM killed a young, tiny brand in the bud like Nissan could be tempted to do with Infiniti in Europe if sales don’t increase dramatically in the near future. And it’s certainly not the same as killing Cadillac which had repeatedly struggled to sell more than a few thousand cars annually in Europe over the past two decades. Chevrolet is a brand that, if segmented well and properly differentiated with Opel, could definitely have kept growing on the continent. Heck, if Peugeot/Citroen PSA, in a similar precarious situation in Europe as GM, can finally decide to significantly differentiate its two brands while adding a third premium one (DS), why can’t the #3 manufacturer in the world do so?

Chevrolet Spark Europe 2014The Spark was Chevrolet’s best-seller in Europe in 2013.

Is the Opel brand really more healthy than Chevrolet?

By killing Chevrolet instead of Opel, did GM make a big mistake and cull the healthier of the two brands? The plan was that in the process, two things would happen: first most Chevrolet sales would transfer to Opel, then Opel, now GM’s only mass market brand on the continent, could return to profitability and its long lost days of teasing Volkswagen as Europe’s favourite brand. Does this mean that the health of the Opel brand is so tarnished that it needs its internal competitors shut off to prosper? It would appear so. Again on paper, it looks like the first thing happened: as Chevrolet abruptly died, losing 40,000 sales year-on-year in Europe in H1 2014, Opel gained almost as much (35,400). But there is nothing to say that these additional sales came from buyers who would have otherwise bought a Chevrolet.

Opel Corsa Europe 2014GM is counting on a clumsily facelifted Corsa to revive Opel sales in Europe…

In fact the detail by model over the period shows that Opel’s gains are in fact due to two new models (the Mokka and Adam), quite independently from Chevrolet’s death. The Corsa is only up 1% on the back of massive rebates continent-wide and stronger-than-usual sales to rental companies, plus I don’t believe the new ‘generation’ is ground-breaking enough to trigger a sudden surge upwards. The Astra (-9%) is outside the Top 10 for the first time since the nameplate was launched over two decades ago. The Insignia is up 35% but that’s not coming from the Chevy Malibu, stillborn here. The Meriva (2%) and Zafira (+8%) are ok but not selling in enough numbers to lift the brand, the Agila (-8%), Antara (-51%) and Ampera (-64%!) are sinking while the Cascada (+41%) is merely a blip on the radar at just 4,200 sales continent-wide. Only the Mokka (+62%) and Adam (+28%), both launched a bit over a year ago, logically step up, but what will happen when they stabilise?

Opel Mokka Europe 2014…but this responsibility falls on the Mokka for now.

Another concerning element is the definite lack of appeal of the Opel brand with private buyers, and this is a consistent situation all over Europe. Having a large part of its sales going to rental companies or fleet impacts a brand’s resale value extremely negatively as lots of ‘young’ used cars flood a market that never had a natural demand for it in the first place. For example, at home in Germany where you would expect a minimum amount of loyalty for the brand, the Corsa and Astra are the least popular models in their segments in terms of private sale ratio (17% on average). In comparison, Chevrolet was above 40% private sale ratio across most segments before last December’s announcement…

General Motors says “Opel showrooms will become bigger, this is a really good opportunity to strengthen the Opel brand. We will try to capture customers who were in the low-price segment of the market.” So Opel has been rid of Chevrolet to get bigger showrooms and compete with Skoda and Dacia, whereas it couldn’t make a profit even when competing with Volkswagen? More than an uninspired facelift of its best-seller Corsa will be needed to achieve that. Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann has said in April that the automaker could reach break-even as soon as 2015, which would be a year ahead of target. However GM lost $305 million during Q2 2014, compared with a $114 million loss a year earlier, saying most of the losses were related to the closure of Opel’s assembly plant in Bochum. A lot of mixed messages indeed.

Chevrolet closing down. Picture courtesy of Auto PlusChevrolet closing down, Opel opening up?

How is the transition going at dealership level?

This is potentially the worst sign. The brand is supposed to sell cars up until 31 December 2015, yet in the Netherlands, Europe’s 6th biggest market, not a single Chevrolet was sold in July! And only one in Latvia, 4 in Finland and 6 in Estonia. This is a particularly abrupt fall even for a brand that has announced it would close down shortly. Saab didn’t fall that fast that early. A few days ago General Motors announced that “the dealer transition from Chevy to Opel is working extremely well: 85 percent have converted to selling only Opel.” This may be the case as a European average but is actually incorrect in France.

Over the decade up until 2013, Chevrolet was the third fastest growing brand in France below just Dacia and Kia with sales up 452% between 2003 and 2013 and its standalone dealership network growing from 93 to 170. Here the sudden announcement of the death of Chevrolet in Europe has angered a large part of Chevy dealers which felt they were left with no future while having built a brand from scratch for nothing. As a result, according to French magazine Auto Plus, the relationship between the General Motors France head office and the dealers is currently at its worst and that cannot be a good sign of healthy sales in the country. 140 dealerships have reportedly already closed down, not selling a single new vehicle this very minute, and as a logical consequence no Opels either – although the magazine is unclear on this point.

Fine, we can’t buy any Chevrolets in France anymore, or close to that. How about current owners that need repairing and/or spare parts? This is where it gets worse. Officially, over 160 service centres affiliated with Chevrolet are still in operation across the country, and General Motors has vowed to maintain Chevrolet after-sales service in Europe up to 2025. In practice, Auto Plus magazine reports French Chevy owners having trouble getting spare parts under reasonable delays and, more worringly, even getting latent defects taken care of!

Chevrolet Camaro Europe 2014The Camaro & Corvette are your only hope of getting a new Chevrolet in Europe after 2015. Or are they?

But Chevrolet is not dead…

But fear not, everything will be fine because “Opel will develop a range of models targeting former Chevrolet buyers” said Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann recently. So let me get this straight. We kill Chevrolet, then start from scratch again and create a whole new range of Opel models that will undercut the current ones price-wise the same way Chevrolet undercut Opel. All this while counting on current Chevrolet owners that can’t even get their cars repaired (even though they’re supposed to until 2025) to not be angry enough to give up on either Opel or Chevrolet altogether?

The Corvette and Camaro will supposedly remain available after 2015 though. Only there won’t be anyone to sell them.

Not such a good idea after all.

Categories: Europe, STRATEGY

Europe July 2014: Nissan Qashqai hits best ranking in 16 months

August 20th, 2014 7 comments

NISSAN QASHQAINissan Qashqai

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and brands by clicking on the title! *

European new car sales mark an 11th consecutive month of year-on-year gains in July at 1,081,195 registrations, up 5.4%. The year-to-date total now stands at 7,917,269 units after 7 months, up 5.8% on the same period last year. In the models charts, the VW Golf remains sovereign, even growing twice as fast as the market at +11% to 41,914 sales, almost 20,000 units above the second best-selling car… Talk about ultra-domination… Inside the Top 5, the Ford Fiesta (+6%), Renault Clio (+12%) and Opel Corsa (+17% thanks to run out prices on the outgoing model) also outperform, as opposed to the VW Polo, down 4% in spite of its mid-life facelift.

Skoda Octavia Europe July 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frSkoda Octavia

Ousted by a record-breaking Renault Captur and the ever-young Fiat 500 last month, both the Skoda Octavia (up 35% yoy to #7) and Audi A3 (up 23% to #9) reclaim their traditional spot among the Top 10 most popular models on the continent in July. Notice also the Nissan Qashqai hitting its best European ranking since March 2013 at #6 and the Peugeot 208 down a harsh 10% to #10.

Audi A3 Europe July 2014Audi is the 5th best-selling brand in Europe in July, above Peugeot and #1 premium.

In the brands ranking, the Top 4 best-sellers return to their year-to-date order this month with Volkswagen in the lead (+8%) ahead of Ford (+1%), Opel/Vauxhall (+8%) and Renault (+5%). Surprise in 5th place: Audi outsells Peugeot for the first time since last August to break into the Top 5 for only the third time in two years with 63,817 sales and 5.9% share (+8%) vs. 63,634 for the French manufacturer. The premium Germans are in great shape with Mercedes up 7% to #7 and BMW up 9% to #8. Finally, let’s salute the outstanding performance of Skoda, up 28% on July 2013 to 9th position with 51,876 units.

Previous post: Europe First Half 2014: Trusted nameplates outperform market

Previous monthly post: Europe June 2014: Discover the Top 340 best-selling models!

Previous month: Europe June 2014: Renault Captur first small SUV in Top 10 at #7

One year ago: Europe July 2013: Ford Focus at highest in almost a year

Full July 2014 Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe First Half 2014: Trusted nameplates outperform market

August 5th, 2014 7 comments

Audi A3 Europe June 2014. Picture courtesy of L'ArgusThe Audi A3 reaches its highest ever year-to-date ranking in Europe at #9.

* See the Top 356 best-selling models and Top 60 brands by clicking on the title! *

Check also:

China First Half 2014: Santana makes it 4 Volkswagens in Top 6

USA First Half 2014: Top two pick-ups pause growth

After going through the detailed European models ranking for June, we now spend some time studying the year-to-date rankings in order to extract longer-term trends. As a reminder, Europe-wide sales are up 6% to 6.85 million units halfway through the year. An interesting observation at the very top of the models sales charts: the higher the rank, the stronger the year-on-year gains! This goes against a decade-long trend of increased fragmentation and thiner market shares for the leading vehicles, and would seem to indicate a strengthening of notoriety for the trusted nameplates around in these uncertain times. This can also be explained by new generations being launched roughly at the same time for the models in question, but in any case we have not seen this phenomenon happening in Europe in over a decade.

VW Golf Europe June 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frBoth market leader and biggest gainer in the Top 8: the VW Golf.

Illustrating the trend, the VW Golf gains a very significant 14% over the same period one year ago, cementing its pole position at 269,074 sales, the Ford Fiesta is up 9% to regain the 2nd spot off the Renault Clio, itself up 5%. Reversely, the VW Polo is down 2% at #4, the Opel Corsa up just 1% at #5, the Ford Focus down 1% at #6 and the Peugeot 208 down a tough 13% at #7, hit full frontal by the success of the 2008 (#21). Note the Focus overtakes the 208 this month for 6th place overall, with another shift inside the year-to-date Top 10: the Audi A3 passes the Skoda Octavia to reach its highest-ever European year-to-date ranking at #9, even though neither models make it to the June Top 10.

Citroen C4 Picasso Europe June 2014The new generation pushes the Citroen C4 Picasso up 63% this year across Europe.

Other interesting changes inside the year-to-date Top 50 compared to last month include the Renault Captur boosted by its historical 7th place in June to #15 overall with 87,103 units, the Peugeot 308 back inside the European Top 20 at #19 (+60%) whereas it only ranked #41 one year ago and the Renault Mégane back up 4 ranks to #23, still a harsh 9 spots below its ranking at the same time last year. Not moving much on the ladder but lodging impressive year-on-year gains are the Fiat 500 at #12 (+15%), the VW Tiguan at #16 (+13%), Dacia Sandero at #20 (+36%), Citroen C3 at #22 (+40%), Seat Leon at #26 (+62%), Citroen C4 Picasso at #28 (+63%), Dacia Duster at #29 (+39%), Opel Mokka at #33 (+63%), Fiat 500L at #37 (+51) and Opel Insignia at #41 (+35%).

Infiniti Q50 Europe June 2014European Infiniti sales are up 70% so far in 2014.

Brand-wise, Volkswagen (+2%) and Ford (+5%) lead but see their market share decline while Opel (+8%), Renault (+14%) and Peugeot (+7%) outperform the market. Premium brands pause: Audi and BMW are up 5% while Mercedes is up 3%. Outside the Top 10, notice Skoda up 17%, Nissan up 10%, Dacia up 35% and among the Top 15 most popular brands in Europe for the first time ever, Seat up 12%, Mazda up 23% and Suzuki up 13%. Further down, let’s salute Jeep up 40%, Lexus up 35%, Infiniti up 70%, Maserati up 393% and Tesla landing at #34 with 5,440 sales.

Previous post: Europe June 2014: Discover the Top 340 best-selling models!

Previous month: Europe 5 months: Opel Astra rebounds

One year ago (models): Europe June 2013: Renault Clio now #2 year-to-date

One year ago (brands): Europe June 2013: Ford up 7%, Renault up to #3

Full First Half 2014 Top 356 models and Top 60 brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe June 2014: Discover the Top 340 models and Top 55 brands

August 5th, 2014 1 comment

Renault Mégane Europe July 2014. Picture by largus.frThe Renault Mégane is up 20 spots on May to #12 this month in Europe.

* See the Top 340 best-selling models and Top 55 brands by clicking on the title! *

As is now the tradition on BSCB, after going through the June Top 10 where the main event was the historical 7th place of the Renault Captur, I can now share with you much more detailed data for the European new car market, with a Top 340 models ranking – full brands ranking will follow shortly. As always there is one change in the Top 10 compared to the initial figures: the Fiat Nueva 500 finds its way among Europe’s 10 most popular vehicles for the 2nd time ever after last March at #10, dislodging the Opel Astra at 19,011 sales (+22%) vs. 18,766.

Mini Europe June 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe new generation pushes the Mini back into the European Top 40 in June.

Tremendous performance of the Renault Mégane up 20 spots on last month to a splendid 12th place with 18,099 units (+11%), and the Scénic also shining: up 16 ranks to #20 at 14,498 units (+6%) vs. #35 year-to-date, making it definitely a month to remember for the Renault brand. Other great performers inside the Top 50 include the Peugeot 308 up 93% on June 2013 to #15, the Seat Leon up 60% to #21 vs. #26 year-to-date, the Dacia Duster also up 60% to #25, Opel Insignia up 50% to #35 and the Mini back up 25 spots on May to reclaim its place inside the Top 40 thanks to the new model whereas it only ranks #62 in 2014 so far.

Dacia Logan MCV Europe July 2014Dacia Logan MCV

Further down, let’s salute the Nissan Note up 168% to #60, the Dacia Logan up 19 spots on May and a huge 292% year-on-year to #65 thanks to the new generation MCV, the BMW 4 Series up 17 ranks to a best-ever #71 with 5,515 sales, the Mercedes GLA still headed upwards at a record #82 and 4,773 units, the BMW 2 Series also hitting its highest ranking so far in Europe at #145 (+19 on May) and the Porsche Macan down 10 to #148 but still the brand’s best-seller on the continent.

BMW i8 Europe June 2014. Picture courtesy of autobild.deFirst appearance of the BMW i8 in the European sales charts.

Traditionally a couple of months after their first appearance in their respective countries, all-new model pop up in the European ranking as continent-wide data becomes available. This month we welcome no less than 7 newcomers in the sales charts! The VW Golf Sportsvan leads the charge, landing directly inside the Top 100 at #98 with 3,902 sales, followed by the Citroen C4 Cactus at #119 with 2,670 units and the Mercedes V-Class at #167 and 1,136 sales. Then we have the Peugeot 108 at #171, the BMW X4 at #223, the BMW i8 at #288 and the Rolls Royce Wraith at #297.

Previous post: Europe June 2014: Renault Captur first small SUV in Top 10 at #7

Previous month: Europe May 2014: Discover the Top 334 models and Top 57 brands

One year ago: Europe June 2013: Renault Clio now #2 year-to-date

Full June 2014 Top 340 models and Top 55 brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe June 2014: Renault Captur first small SUV in Top 10 at #7

July 18th, 2014 14 comments

Renault Captur Europe June 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Renault Captur is up to an all-time high 7th place in Europe this month.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 10 best-selling models and Top 25 brands! Click on title to see *

The European new car market celebrates a 10th consecutive month on year-on-year growth in June at +4% to 1,230,363 registrations, bringing the half year total to 6,851,552 units, up 6% on 2013 and matching an expansion from June 2009 through March 2010. Some analysts warn that this growth comes from a low base and is due to heavy discounting, with retail incentives across Europe’s top 5 markets increasing 10% year-on-year to 2,748€ ($3,700) per vehicle according to Autonews. For Hyundai’s European operations head Allan Rushforth: “After a six-year slump in the European car market, an inconsistent and heavily incentivised recovery is better than no recovery at all.” Well said.

Peugeot 2008 Europe June 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frIs the Peugeot 2008 next inside the European Top 10?

Rare but true, the market leader Volkswagen loses ground this month at -3% to 11.5% share vs. 12.1% year-to-date while the star of the month is without a doubt Renault, up a spectacular 21% on June 2014 and two spots on May and its year-to-date ranking to 2nd place with 105,469 sales and 8.6% vs. 6.8% so far in 2014. And the biggest news of the month is the very first Top 10 ranking of the Renault Captur, shooting up from #23 in May directly into 7th place this month thanks to a record 20,893 registrations, even outselling fellow countryman the Peugeot 208, down 15% to #8 and 19,373 units! This is the first time a small SUV manages to rank within the 10 most successful models on the continent and the final sign, if we needed any more, than this segment is sure to grow drastically over the next few years. Perhaps the most impressive fact is that the Captur’s success hasn’t been to the detriment of the Clio on which it is based whereas the Peugeot 2008 has definitely put a dent in 208 sales.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Europe June 2014. Picture courtesy of autoweek.nlEuropean Mitsubishi sales are up 44% year-on-year in June.

Other manufacturers to make themselves noticed this month are Opel/Vauxhall up 12% in third place, Skoda up 13% to #11, Nissan up 10% to #13, Dacia up 32% to #15, Seat up 13% to #17, Volvo up 15% to #18, Mazda up 12% to #20, Suzuki up 10% to #21 and Mitsubishi up a massive 44% but remaining in 25th place. In the models ranking, the Top 5 best-sellers are identical to last month with the VW Golf keeping its implacable stranglehold on the charts at 43,960 units (+7%) vs. 34,606 (+12%) for the Clio at #2, ahead of the Ford Fiesta (+1%), Opel Corsa (+3%) and VW Polo (-14%). The Ford Focus overtakes the 208 to rank #7 year-to-date and both the Nissan Qashqai (#9) and Opel Astra (#10) gain one spot on May.

Previous post: Europe 5 months: Opel Astra rebounds

Previous monthly post: Europe May 2014: Discover the Top 50 models and Top 57 brands

Original May post: Europe May 2014: Renault and Skoda shine in market up 4%

One year ago: Europe June 2013: Renault Clio now #2 year-to-date

Full June 2014 Top 25 brands Ranking Table below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe 5 months 2014: Opel Astra rebounds

July 13th, 2014 23 comments

Opel Astra Europe May 2014. Picture courtesy of autobild.deThe Opel Astra is back up two spots to #11 year-to-date in Europe.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 350 best-selling models and Top 60 brands! *

As is the tradition on BSCB we now spend some time studying the year-to-date rankings for Europe in order to extract longer-term trends. As the year progresses the models ranking cements itself and large month-on-month variations become rarer. Proof: there are no ranking changes inside the year-to-date Top 10 compared to last month, with the Ford Focus getting ever closer to the Peugeot 208 in the fight for the 6th place and the Skoda Octavia dangerously catching up its sales deficit with the Nissan Qashqai for 8th position. The first move happens, like last month, just outside the Top 10 at #11 where the Opel Astra, thanks to a stable month of May, regains two spots to rank #11, overtaking the Fiat 500 (#12) and BMW 3 Series (#13).

Fiat Panda Europe May 2014Fiat Panda

Further down, the Fiat Panda takes advantage of a particularly weak month of the Renault Captur to regain the #16 spot, the VW Passat passes the Dacia Sandero at #18 and the Peugeot 2008 is back inside the Top 20 at #20, above the Citroen C3. The Peugeot 308 (#22), VW Up (#23), Seat Leon (#25) and Audi A4 (#29) also progress while the Citroen C4 Picasso (#28) drops one spot but is up 73% year-on-year.

Volvo XC60 Europe May 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frVolvo XC60 sales are up 35% so far in Europe this year.

Other great year-on-year increases inside the Top 100 include the Opel Mokka at #34 (+56%), Skoda Rapid at #55 (+127%), Nissan Note at #60 (+140%), Mazda CX-5 at #72 (+39%), Volvo XC60 at #76 (+35%), Toyota RAV4 at #81 (+32%), Opel Adam at #84 (+42%) and Dacia Logan at #85 (+205%). As far as all-new models are concerned, notice the BMW 4 Series at #95, Suzuki SX4 Cross at #104, Mercedes GLA at #121, Tesla Model S at #179, BMW 2 Series at #181 and Porsche Macan at #185.

Dacia Logan MCV Lodgy Europe May 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frDacia is up 36% year-on-year in Europe so far in 2014.

Brand-wise, the entire Top 8 best-sellers are unchanged year-on-year with Volkswagen (+3%) still reigning supreme above Ford (+7%) and Opel (+7% also). Biggest gainers in the Top 30 include Renault (+12%), Peugeot (+8%), Skoda (+19%), Dacia (+36%), Seat (+12%), Mazda (+25%), Suzuki (+13%) and Porsche (+14%), with Jeep (+36%), Lexus (+34%), Maserati (+395%) and Infiniti (+61%) also shining further down.

Previous post: Europe May 2014: Discover the Top 50 models and Top 57 brands

Previous month: Europe 4 months 2014: Fiat 500 inches closer to Top 10 at #11

One year ago (brands): Europe May 2013: Worst May in 20 years

One year ago (models): Europe May 2013: Peugeot 208 on podium, Nissan Qashqai up 11%

Full 5 months 2014 Top 350 models and Top 60 brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe May 2014: Discover the Top 334 models and Top 57 brands

July 12th, 2014 6 comments

Peugeot 308 Europe May 2014The Peugeot 308 is up to #13 this month in Europe. Is the Top 10 for next month?

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 334 best-selling models and Top 57 brands! *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after going through the May Top 10 we now have access to much more detailed data for the European new car market. But first one little change in the Top 10 compared to when first figures were published: the Nissan Qashqai edges past the Opel Astra to reclaim its spot among Europe’s 10 most popular vehicles with 17,365 sales vs. 17,346. The most impressive jump this month is the work of the Peugeot 308, now benefitting fully from its new generation and the new station wagon variant especially successful in Scandinavian markets: it is up 10 spots on April to a splendid 13th place at 14,935 units (+79% year-on-year) and can now dream of a Top 10 spot in the near future.

Seat Leon Europe May 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Seat Leon is among Europe’ Top 20 best-sellers for potentially the first time.

The VW Passat is back up one rank to #15 vs. #18 year-to-date thanks to runout prices for the current generation, the Seat Leon brilliantly breaks into the European Top 20 for potentially the first time ever at #19 and 14,144 sales (+73%), the Peugeot 2008 returns at #20, flatly beating the Renault Captur (#23) this month thanks to a strong score at home in France, the VW Up is up 5 ranks on April to #21, the Audi A4 up 3 to #25, Citroen C4 Picasso up 77% on May 2013 to #26 and the Opel Mokka reaches its highest ever European ranking at #27, up 73% year-on-year.

Further down, the Skoda Rapid is up 4 spots to #50, the BMW 4 Series down 3 to #88, the Mercedes GLA up a further 7 to #89, the Porsche Macan remains the brand’s best-seller across the continent at #138 with 1,757 sales, the Ford Ecosport is up 60 ranks to #172, the Jeep Cherokee up 39 to #175, the Tesla Model S up 40 to #186 and the Alfa Romeo 4C ranks #258 at 153 units.

Previous post: Europe May 2014: Renault and Skoda shine in market up 4%

Previous month: Europe April 2014: Discover the Top 334 models and Top 55 brands

One year ago (brands): Europe May 2013: Worst May in 20 years

One year ago (models): Europe May 2013: Peugeot 208 on podium, Nissan Qashqai up 11%

Full May 2014 Top 334 models and Top 57 brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe May 2014: Renault and Skoda shine in market up 4%

June 20th, 2014 17 comments

Renault Captur Europe May 2014. Picture courtesy of automobile-magazine.frThanks to the Captur, Renault is up 16% in May.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 10 models and Top 25 brands! Click on title to see *

If 2013 marked 6 consecutive years of decline and worst levels in 20 years for the European new car market, 2014 is decidedly more rosy. May is the 9th month of year-on-year gain in a row at +4% to 1,133,727 registrations, however still the 2nd lowest May figure in 20 years. The year-to-date total is up a very comfortable 6% on 2013 so far at 5,619,263 units.

Volkswagen dominates the brands sales charts head and shoulders with 12.8% share (+5%) ahead of Ford at 7.3% (-3%) and Opel/Vauxhall at 7.1% (+6%) but in May Renault is the best performer in the Top 10 with sales up a beautiful 16% on May 2013 to 71,504 units, paradoxically on the month it got overtaken by Peugeot at home in France… Other great gainers include Skoda up 23% to #11, Nissan up 10% to #13, Seat up 22% to #15, Dacia up 24% to #17, Volvo up 14% to #18, Mazda up 20% to #19, Land Rover up 16% to #23 and Mitsubishi up 29% to #24.

Audi A3 Europe May 2014. Picture courtesy of automobile-magazine.frThe Audi A3 is up to a best-ever 6th place this month in Europe.

In the models ranking, the VW Golf continues to be ultra dominant, even improving its market share thanks to sales up 16% both in May (47,202 units) and year-to-date. The Renault Clio up an impressive 23% to #2, absolutely not disturbed by the success of its SUV variant the Captur. This is definitely not the case for the Peugeot 208 down a harsh 22% to #8, which can be attributed in part to cannibalisation from the 2008. The Audi A3 is up 20% to reach its best-ever monthly European ranking at #6, also hit last August, the Skoda Octavia is up a huge 57% to #9 and the Opel Astra reappears inside the Top 10 at #10.

Previous post: Europe 4 months 2014: Fiat 500 inches closer to Top 10 at #11

Previous month: Europe April 2014: Nissan Qashqai regains traction at +22%

One year ago (brands): Europe May 2013: Worst May in 20 years

One year ago (models): Europe May 2013: Peugeot 208 on podium, Nissan Qashqai up 11%

Full May 2014 Top 10 models and Top 25 brands Ranking Tables below.

Read more…

Categories: Europe

Europe 4 months 2014: Fiat 500 inches closer to Top 10 at #11

June 15th, 2014 22 comments

Fiat 500 Europe April 2014. Picture courtesy of quattroruote.itFiat Abarth 500 (US model shown)

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 350 models and Top 60 brands! Click on title to see *

Now that we have explored in detail the European models ranking for April we look into the evolution of the year-to-date sales charts to extract longer-term trends. As the year progresses the models ranking cements itself and large month-on-month variations become rarer. Illustrating this, the highest year-to-date ranking change this month is outside the Top 10: after breaking into the monthly European Top 10 for the first time in March and helped by another impressive month (#11 in April), the Fiat 500 passes the BMW 3 Series to establish itself at #11 year-to-date, the highest the Nuova 500 ever ranked in a year-to-date European ranking, an outstanding performance given this car is almost 7 years old! The Top 10 is still a fair distance away though: the Audi A3 is 7,000 sales above and regularly beats the 500 in the monthly charts.

Citroen C3 Europe April 2014. Picture courtesy of L'ArgusThe Citroen C3 is back inside the Top 20 this month.

Reaching a best-ever #12 in April earns the VW Tiguan to improve its year-to-date ranking by two spots to #15 with 55,341 sales (+15%), kicking the Fiat Panda down two to #17 (-8%) while the Renault Captur remains at a very impressive #16. Catching up on lost time as 2013 was disrupted by strikes at its French factory, the Citroen C3 overtakes the Peugeot 2008 to reclaim a spot inside the European Top 20 at #20. Other notable changes inside the Top 50 include the BMW 1 Series (#22) and Peugeot 308 (#23) both up one rank, the Renault Mégane up 3 to #26, the Dacia Duster up two to #29, Seat Leon up one to #31, Mercedes A-Class down 4 to #32 and Renault Scénic up 3 to #36.

Skoda Rapid Europe April 2014Skoda Rapid

Further down, the Skoda Rapid is slowly but surely creeping up the ladder, up a further 3 spots this month to #57 and could potentially break into the YTD Top 50 in the next couple of months, making it 3 Skodas in the Top 50 after the Octavia (#9) and Fabia (#34). The Nissan Note could do the same: it is up a massive 135% year-on-year in Europe so far this year at #60, while its little sister the Micra is up a more modest but still impressive 53% at #63. Interesting bounce of the Volvo XC60 at +39% to #77, a more logical one for the Toyota RAV4 given the new model is still finding its mark at +40% at #81 and the Dacia Logan takes advantage of its full revamp to gain 212% and reappear in the Top 100 at #84 even though these figures don’t include Russia where it is very strong.

BMW 4er Europe April 2014. Picture courtesy of autobild.deThe BMW 4 Series has not cannibalised the 3 Series so far.

There is one all-new models in the Top 100: the BMW 4 Series lands at #98 with 14,715 sales, definitely more than the 3,560 units the 3 Series has lost over the period. The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is close enough at #105 (+3%) while the Mercedes GLA should join the Top 100 club very soon: thanks to a #96 ranking in April it gains 25 spots year-to-date to #131 with just under 8,000 sales. Notice also the Mercedes S-Class up 202% to #149, the Toyota Corolla up 265% to #152, Tesla Model S at #179 with 3,458 units and the Maserati Ghibli at #227 and 1,477 sales.

In the brands ranking, Volkswagen continues to reign supreme with 538,738 sales, up 3% on 2013. Among the Top 20 most popular carmakers, only Hyundai loses ground at -3% and 7 brands manage a 10%+ increase year-on-year: Ford (+10%), Renault (+11%), Skoda (+18%), Nissan (+10%), Dacia (+40%), Mazda (+26%) and Suzuki (+17%). Notice also Jeep up 24%, Lexus up 34%, Tesla up 19 spots to #34, Maserati up 425%, Infiniti up 35% and Bentley up 35%.

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Previous month: Europe First Quarter 2014: Peugeot 2008 in Top 20, Leon above Ibiza

One year ago: Europe April 2013: Audi A3 breaks into Top 10 for the first time!

Full January-April 2014 Top 350 models and Top 60 brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Europe

Europe April 2014: Discover the Top 334 models and Top 55 brands

June 15th, 2014 12 comments

VW Tiguan Europe April 2014. Picture courtesy of autobild.deThe VW Tiguan is up to a best-ever #12 in April.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 334 models and Top 55 brands! Click on title to see *

As is the tradition on BSCB, after going through the April Top 10 we now have access to much more detailed data for the European new car market. The Fiat 500 steps out of the Top 10, just: at 15,639 sales (+6%) it ranks 11th this month, ahead of the VW Tiguan reaching its best-ever European ranking at #12 with 15,250 units, up a beautiful 15% on April 2013. The BMW 3 Series (-16%) and Opel Astra (-13%) follow but disappoint while the Toyota Yaris is stable at #15. The VW Passat is back up 3 spots on March to #16 but down 3% year-on-year, and both the Renault Captur (#17) and Peugeot 2008 (#22) seem to now have stabilised some distance away from the Top 10.

Seat Leon Europe April 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Seat Leon is up to #21 in Europe this month, its best-ever ranking.

Great year-on-year gainers inside the European Top 50 this month include the Dacia Sandero up 32% to #18, Citroen C3 up 63% to #20, Seat Leon up 52% to #21 (record monthly ranking in Europe), Peugeot 308 up 53% to #23, Dacia Duster up 40% to #25, Citroen C4 Picasso up 65% to #29, Fiat 500L up 88% to #36 and the Opel Mokka up 33% to #38, while the Ford Kuga up 26% to #51 and Skoda Rapid up 101% to #54 stop short of breaking into the Top 50.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Europe April 2014. Picture courtesy of largus.frThe Mercedes GLA breaks into the European Top 100 for the first time this month.

As far as recent launches are concerned, the BMW 4 Series is up a further 6 spots on March to #85 with 4,553 sales, the Mercedes GLA breaks into the European Top 100 for the first time at #96 and 3,903 units while the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross steps out of it at #107 (-10). But the most spectacular progression is delivered by the Porsche Macan up 130 ranks on last month to land in 139th position with 1,734 sales and becoming the brand’s best-seller on the continent above the 911 (#152) and Cayenne (#155), consistent with its performance in most major European markets. Finally notice the Jeep Cherokee up 54 to #214 as the new generation starts spreading into dealerships.

Porsche Macan Europe April 2014. Picture courtesy of autobild.deThe Macan is already the best-selling Porsche in Europe.

In the brands ranking, below Volkswagen and Ford, Renault jumps back onto the podium thanks to sales up 8% year-on-year, passing Opel/Vauxhall (+6%) while Peugeot and Audi are stable at #5 and #6 respectively. Mercedes overtakes BMW to rank 7th vs. #9 year-to-date, Skoda is up a cool 16% to #11, Nissan is up 19% to #13 and Dacia up 31% to #15. Notice also Mazda up 18% to #20, Land Rover up 19% to #22, Porsche up 28%, Jeep up 52%, Lexus up 44%, Maserati up 317% and Tesla up 6433%.

Previous post: Europe April 2014: Nissan Qashqai regains traction at +22%

Previous month: Europe March 2014: Discover the Top 336 models and Top 55 brands

One year ago: Europe April 2013: Audi A3 breaks into Top 10 for the first time!

Full April 2014 Top 334 models and Top 55 brands Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: Europe