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Germany September 2018: Post-WLTP hangover has BMW #1 and VW #4

Albeit in unusual circumstances, BMW is the #1 marque in Germany for the first time in history.

* See the Top 50 brands, Top 315 models and Top 20 private sales by clicking on the title *

After two months of pre-WLTP sales manipulations (July up 12.3%, August up 25%) – in other words mass registration of non WLTP-compliant before the September 1 deadline – new car sales in Germany logically implode in September at -30.5% year-on-year to just 200.134 units, leading to a year-to-date volume up 2.4% to 2.673.418 sales. The VW Group and Renault were the main culprits of pre-WLTP stock clearances due to a largely non-compliant lineup, and in September they pay the price for the overuse of this artificial sales boost. But contrary to the other large European Union markets so far, the German brands ranking is sent spinning, hard. Firstly Volkswagen (-62%) gets annihilated to the point where it drops to just 10.1% share and – gasp – is outsold by BMW (-1%), Mercedes (-20%) and even Opel (-7%) to fall to 4th place overall for the month. Granted, this is totally temporary and VW sales should perk back up once its lineup, now 100% WLTP-compliant as of last week, hits dealerships. But this could take a few months as all VW Group brands now have large stocks of registered vehicles to sell as 0km 2nd-hand with next-to no margin. We have no record of Volkswagen not being Germany’s #1 brand – let alone #4 – since at least 1990The last time VW was not #1 annually in Germany was in 1972 and 1973.

Volkswagen is down 62% to #4, with the Tiguan (-85%), Golf (-67%) and Passat (-62%) all crashing.

Audi (-78%) is hit even harder, falling from #2 to #14, and here too we have no record of Audi falling outside the German Top 10 since the brand launched in 1972. Having (artificially) broken all-time share and volume records both in July and August, Seat (-55%) is down 11 ranks to #19 with Porsche (-76%), Bentley (-88%) and Lamborghini (-55%) also in freefall but Skoda (-44%), which did use stock clearances a lot less, actually gaining 3 spots on August to climb back up to #6. Overall, the VW Group is down 61% on September 2017 to 20.1% share vs. 41% last month, 36.1% in September 2017 and 37.6% so far in 2018. Back to the top of the ranking to salute BMW’s first ever monthly win: the Bavarian carmaker manages to contain its loss to just -1% to a new record 12.2% share, smashing its previous best of 11.2% set in December 2012. Mercedes (-20%) is up one spot on last month to #2, breaking a 40-year old share record at 11.2% with its previous best being 10.6 in July 2017. Mercedes may have reached higher market shares when the Mercedes Strich 8 topped the annual ranking in 1974.

Mercedes hits its highest market share in Germany in at least 40 years at 11.2%.

Opel (-7%) jumps to 10.2% share, its first time above the symbolic 10% in over 10 years – since December 2007, with its previous high this decade being 8% in June 2014. Hyundai (-21%) climbs up three spots to #7, a new ranking record for the Korean brand but its 4.3% share isn’t (4.7% in September 2015). Mazda (+2%) manages the only year-on-year gain in the Top 10, resulting in an August ranking sliced in two to #8 and 3.5% share. This is the first time Mazda breaks into the German Top 10 since potentially the 1980s, eclipsing previous bests of #11 and 2.5% in September 2015. WLTP-compliant since early Summer, Peugeot (+12%) leaps up 6 spots on August to #11, outselling Renault (-44%) down 7 to #12. Jeep (+80%), Mitsubishi (+35%), Jaguar (+34%), DS (+23%), Maserati (+13%), Citroen (+10%) and Ferrari (+9%) also manage stellar performances.

Opel is above 10% share in Germany for the first time since December 2007.

Despite diving 67% year-on-year to just 7.116 sales and 3.6% share, the VW Golf manages to remain the best-selling nameplate at home. That’s the only positive takeout about its September score though, as this is the first four-digit monthly volume for the Golf in Germany in 36 years, since 1982 when the first generation was fighting for first place with the Mercedes W123. Its market share is also the lowest on record for the Golf since potentially the same 1981-1983 period, or even the launch year of the Golf nameplate in 1974 when it commanded a 4.3% share. The lowest Golf share on record prior to this month was 5.2% in December 2012, however monthly data is inaccessible before 1990. The next best-selling VWs are the Polo (-8%) at #15, the Passat (-62%) at #24, the Up! (-30%) at #29 and the T-Roc (+948%) at #41. The Tiguan sinks 85% and 70 spots to #72.

Mazda breaks into the German Top 10 for the first time in potentially 30 years.

As a result, the rest of the September Top 10 is somewhat of a new experience: the Opel Corsa (+15%) is up to #2, a ranking it had not held since October 2009 and the BMW 1 Series (+14%) is up to #3: that’s the nameplate’s 4th ever podium appearance in Germany after December 2012, December 2016 and December 2017, each time ranking #2. The Mercedes C-Class (-9%) and E-Class (-14%) round up the Top 5 above the Mini lineup (-11%) equalling its best-ever ranking set last December at #6. BMW also places the 5 Series (-38%), 2 series (-17%) and 3 Series (+45%) inside the Top 10. The Hyundai Tucson (+47%) is up 39 spots on August to equal the ranking record for a Korean model in Germany established in February 2009 by the Hyundai i30 at #13.

The Hyundai Tucson celebrates its facelift with a new ranking record at #13.

Other nameplates breaking their all-time ranking record this month in Germany include the Fiat 500 lineup (-1%) up 10 ranks to #16, the Mitsubishi Space Star (+84%) up 28 to #19, the Mazda CX-5 (+10%) up 50 to #26, Ford Ecosport (+45%) up to #30, the Citroen C3 (+70%) up to #31, Peugeot 2008 (+84%) up to #35 and the Skoda Karoq (+718%) up to #37. The Hyundai Kona (#49) breaks into the German Top 50 for the first time to top all recent launches (<12 months) ahead of the BMW X2 (#57) up 25 ranks on its previous best of #82 in August, the Seat Arona (#62) down 44 spots on last month and the Volvo XC40 (#67) eclipsing its previous best of #96 set last July.

The Mitsubishi Space Star ranks at #2 with German private buyers in September.

With both Volkswagen and Dacia in doldrums this month, the private sales models ranking is completely reshuffled. The BMW 1 Series (+20%) takes the lead with a private sales ratio (PSR) at 49.1% vs. 37.1% so far this year. The Mitsubishi Space Star (+92%) is by far the most impressive, ending the months at an incredible 2nd place with 84.8% PSR vs. 71.9% in 2018, ahead of the Mini lineup (-17%) at 50.2% PSR vs. 46.5% and the VW Golf (-70%) at just 27.7% PSR vs. 32.5% YTD. The Mercedes C-Class (+6%) and A-Class (-4%) round up the Top 6 while the Ford Ecosport (+55%), Fiat 500 (+34%) and VW Polo (+27%) the most dynamic in the remainder of the Top 20. The Mazda CX-5 shoots up to #14, the Mazda CX-3 is #16 and the Skoda Karoq #17.

Previous month: Germany August 2018: Pre-WLTP stock clearances pull Renault (+102%), Seat (+93%), VW (+46%), Audi (+45%) – VW T-Roc breaks into Top 5

One year ago: Germany September 2017: BMW 5 Series and Skoda Fabia shine

Full September 2018 Top 50 brands, Top 315 models and Top 20 private sales below.

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