A quirk of German new car sales has the Fiat Ducato classified as a passenger car. It shouldn’t be.
The German new car market endures a 7th month of decline in the past 8 in April at -1.1% to 310.715 units, tilting the year-to-date volume back into negative at -0.2% to 1.190.807 units, still the 3rd largest level at this stage of the year in the past 20 years. If last month the Volkswagen Group seemed to finally have shed any residual post-WLTP effects, in April the nightmare is back with a vengeance with both Volkswagen (-11.2%) and Audi (-12.8%) posting their first double-digit decline of the year, Seat (-8.9%) and Skoda (-1.3%) also in negative and Porsche (+0.6%), Bentley (+33.9%) and Lamborghini (+90.2%) too small to prevent a harsh -9.6% fall for the Group this month to 35.7% share vs. 36.7% so far this year where it is now back in negative (-2%).
Instead, BMW (+17.6%) is the hero of the month, scoring the only double-digit gain in the Top 10 and climbing onto the brands podium for the first time this year at #3 below a solid Mercedes (+1.6%). Only Hyundai (+5.2%) and Renault (+4%) also gain ground in the Top 10. Just outside the 10 most popular brands, Fiat (+26%) is very strong just thanks to pre-holiday Ducato deliveries (see further down), with Tesla (+442.5%), Lexus (+52.1%), Mitsubishi (+37.7%), Smart (+25%), Volvo (+20.6%), Land Rover (+17.9%), Citroen (+15.6%) and Jaguar (+11.1%) also making themselves noticed further down.
Over in the models ranking, the VW Golf (-9.6%) remains undisturbed in pole position, holding a strong 6% share despite a steep decline and distancing the VW Tiguan (+2.9%) as is the case year-to-date. The surprise is in third place: a quirk of German new car sales categorise the Fiat Ducato as a passenger car and traditionally sales peak in spring as campervan rental companies purchase significant numbers of the vehicle before transforming it. This year the oddity is pushed to the extreme with the Ducato soaring 34% year-on-year and 16 spots on March to land on the third step of the overall podium! This is by far the Ducato’s highest ever ranking in Germany, smashing its previous record of #10 established in April 2017.
The VW T-Roc (+28.8%) is the other great gainer in the Top 10 whereas the Audi A4 (-22.5%), Ford Focus (-18.3%), VW Polo (-11.6%) and Passat (-10.5%) are all in great difficulty. Further down, notice the Mercedes A-Class (+200.1%), Opel Adam (+92.9%), Ford Ecosport (+91.6%), Mitsubishi Space Star (+89.2%), Audi Q3 (+71%), Skoda Superb (+68.7%), BMW X3 (+65.4%), X1 (+63.5%), Skoda Karoq (+62.9%), Renault Clio (+47.3%) and Hyundai Tucson (+44.2%). The VW T-Cross (#129) is the best-selling new launch, up 144 spots on March and distancing the Peugeot Rifter (#135), Audi Q8 (#137) and Tesla Model 3 (#138) down 90 ranks on last month.
Full April 2019 Top 48 brands and Top 325 models below.