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Europe September 2018: Post-WLTP knocks VW (-52%), lifts Opel to #1

Opel is the #1 brand in Europe for the first time in 13 years, and the Corsa snaps its 2nd ever #1 finish.

* Now updated with actuals for the Top 10 groups, Top 70 brands and Top 410 models *

These are very unusual times for the European market, a situation created by new WLTP emission and consumption measurement standards in place since September 1. In August, an artificial 30.1% surge was triggered by pulled forward sales of non-compliant vehicles before the cutoff date. According to exclusive final figures obtained through our partnership with JATO Dynamics, September deliveries logically plunge 23.4% year-on-year to 1.119.956 units. Just as August 2018 was the largest volume in 20 years, this is the lowest September score since 1998 (1.068.622). The Top 5 markets are all down sharply: Germany (-30.5%), Italy (-25.5%)the UK (-20.5%), Spain (-15.9%) and France (-12.8%). Out of the 30 countries surveyed, only Bulgaria (+8.5%) and Croatia (+3.3%) post a gain. The markets hardest hit are Romania (-73.4%), Austria (-41.8%), Sweden (-39.7%), Slovakia (-37%), Luxembourg (-34.6%) and Belgium (-33.6%). Year-to-date European volumes remain in positive though at +2.3% to 12.260.471 units.

BMW (-7.4%) is up to #3 brand in Europe this month.

Last month Renault (+72%), Nissan (+49%) and Volkswagen (+44%) were the most aggressive users of artificial pre-WLTP stock clearances. Now burdened with large amounts of 0km vehicles to be sold as 2nd hand filling dealerships, they are among the ones enduring the harshest declines in September. The groups ranking indeed gets a significant shake: PSA (-8.4%) is up two spots on August to lead the way with 17.9% share, firmly overtaking the VW Group (-48.4%) losing almost half its sales vs. September 2018 to 15.7% share vs. 23.2% a year ago and 24.2% so far in 2018. Renault-Nissan (-33.1%) and FCA (-32.1%) endure the largest declines, whereas the Geely Group (+3.1%), in fact Volvo, is the only Top 10 group in positive when Toyota Motor (-3.2%), Hyundai-Kia (-6.9%), the BMW Group (-8.9%) and to a lesser extent Daimler (-14.1%) and Ford (-14.4%) all contain their fall.

The Mercedes A-Class is the best-selling compact vehicle, outselling the VW Golf…

Brand-wise, it’s a lightning strike atop the ranking: replicating the wild situation we witnessed in Germany, Volkswagen (-52.6%) tumbles down to 5th place. According to ACEA, it is only the third time since the turn of the century that VW is not #1 in Europe, the other two times were in March 2004 and 2005. Then, the leader of the market was Opel/Vauxhall (-12.5%) which coincidentally leaps up 3 spots on August to land in the European pole position, a ranking it had not held, you guessed it, since March 2005. Ford (-14.4%) is up two ranks to #2, BMW (-7.4%) is up 6 to #3 and Mercedes (-13.9%) is up 2 to #4. In the Top 25, Volvo (+3.2%), Mitsubishi (+18.6%) and Jaguar (+28.7%) are the only three brands in positive. Toyota (-2.5%) and Peugeot (-4.6%) also resist well in the Top 10 while Kia (-2.3%), Citroen (-3.9%), Mazda (-9.2%) and Hyundai (-10.8%) are relatively solid further down. Audi (-60.4%), Nissan (-44.7%), Fiat (-34.6%), Renault (-32.8%), Seat (-32.8%) and Skoda (-29.4%) would rather forget this month.

The Peugeot 3008 is the best-selling SUV in Europe for the first time.

The models ranking is going through an even more stormy ride, with the Opel Corsa (+5.4%) crowned as the European best-seller for the 2nd time in the nameplate’s 36 year-career after January 2007, while the VW Golf (-71.1%) is knocked out of the European Top 10 at #12 with no record of it happening at any time since the very first generation launched 44 years ago back in 1974. Below the Ford Fiesta (+19.6%) and Renault Clio (-18.2%), the Toyota Yaris (+1.5%) breaks its all-time European raking record for the 2nd time in the past 3 months at #4 vs. #7 last July and the Mercedes A-Class (+7.1%) tops the compact segment fo the first time in history at a stupendous 6th place overall, slicing its ranking record in 3 (previous best #18 in September 2017.

The JAC iEV7S has landed in Europe, namely in Croatia.

But the exploits don’t stop there: the Citroen C3 (+1.3%) equals its highest position at #7 (also reached last March) and the Peugeot 3008 (+7.6%) is the most popular SUV on the continent also for the first time in history at #9 overall. Other ranking record-breakers include the BMW 1 Series (#11) outselling the VW Golf (!), Hyundai Tucson (#14), Kia Sportage (#23), Toyota C-HR (#24) and Ford Ecosport (#30). All best-selling recent launches (<12 months) also reach their highest showing this month: the Volvo XC40 (#58), BMW X2 (#82), Jaguar E-Pace (#121), Peugeot Rifter (#172), Audi Q8 (#177) and MG ZS (#223) and we welcome the McLaren Senna (#352) and JAC iEV7S (#408).

Previous month: Europe August 2018: Renault (+72%), Nissan (+49%), VW (+44%) play pre-WLTP game

One year ago (1): Europe September 2017: Nissan Qashqai up to record #2 in market down 2.2%

One year ago (2): Europe September 2017: Discover the Top 348 models and Top 55 brands

Full September 2018 Top 10 groups, Top 70 brands and Top 410 models below.

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