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Europe January 2020: Toyota (+11.9%), BMW (+9.5%), Audi (+9.1%) defy market down -7.6%

A bright light in the dark: Toyota sales gain 11.9%. Image quattroruote

12/03 update: Now with the Top 50 All-brands and Top 350 All-models (source JATO).

The European new car market sinks -7.6% year-on-year in January to 1.138.057 units, its lowest January level since 2016. This month’s sales are paying the price for all the registrations pulled-forward to December to avoid the new EU emissions rules put in place on January 1st as well as some major taxation changes announced by some markets such as Sweden and the Netherlands. According to ACEA, other contributing factors include weakening global economic conditions and uncertainty caused by the UK’s departure from the European Union. As a result, the four major EU markets are all down significantly this month with France down -13.4%, Spain down -7.6% Germany down -7.3% and Italy down -5.9% just as the UK also dives -7.3%. However 9 of the 30 markets included in the study (EU+EFTA+UK) manage a gain, with Lithuania (+35.1%), Cyprus (+14.2%), Greece (+6.2%), Norway (+6.2%), Hungary (+4.1%), Croatia (+4%) and Estonia (+3.9%) the most dynamic.

The main positive outcome of this market reshuffle in January is the record share held by electrified vehicles soaring 72% year-on-year to 150.100 units and 13.3% share vs. 7.1% a year ago. Hybrids are up 36% to 71.400, EVs up 91% to 38.600 and PHEVs up 173% to 34.200. The highest share of electrified vehicles is reached in Norway (78%), Sweden (38%) and Finland (28%). By brand, Smart (96%), Lexus (95%), Toyota (66%), DS (42%), Suzuki (41%) and Land Rover (37%) showed the highest electrified ratios this month in Europe.

In the groups ranking, the VW Group (-0.1%) manages to stabilise its sales year-on-year at just under 298.000, improving its market share by almost two percentage points at 26.2% vs. 24.3% in January 2019. The PSA Group (-14%) and Renault-Nissan (-12%) are hit full frontal while Hyundai-Kia (-3.9%) contains its loss somewhat. The BMW Group (+3.8%) is the only one in positive in the Top 5, reaching a sturdy 6.8% share vs. 6% a year ago, but the true hero of the month is the Toyota Group up a fantastic 10.1% and one percentage point of market share to 6.3% vs. 5.3% in January 2019, now unleashing the power of its low-emissions hybrid lineup to the fullest.

Audi registrations advance 8.5% year-on-year. Picture

Brand-wise, the podium is entirely in negative with Volkswagen (-4.9%) distancing Peugeot (-7.9%) and Renault (-4.5%) but Toyota (+11.9%) surges 6 spots on December to land at a fantastic 4th place overall: this is simply the Japanese carmaker’s highest ever European monthly ranking. Mercedes (-1.2%) rounds out the Top 5 like last month and FY2019 and resists well, while BMW (+9.5%) and Audi (+9.1%) post the largest year-on-year upticks in the remainder of a Top 10 that only features Skoda (+2.2%) as additional gainer. Opel/Vauxhall (-26.3%) and Ford (-18.7%) completely implode this month. Seat (+7.3%) is the only significant gainer in the rest of the Top 25 vs. a slew of disintegrating brands such as Suzuki (-34.7%), Mazda (-30.7%), Dacia (-25.6%),  Honda (-19%), Mini (-14%), Volvo (-13.5%) and Jeep (-12.6%). Beyond, Porsche (+66%), DS (+47.4%) and Lexus (+28.7%) stand out. Tesla (+173.3%) is down 11 spots on the record #21 it hit in December, to #32.

The Ford Focus scores its first European podium in 8 years.

Over in the models ranking, the VW Golf (-21.9%) holds onto the lead despite a ghastly fall, followed as usual by the Renault Clio (-8%). The Ford Focus (+8.6%) manages its first European podium finish in exactly 8 years: since February 2012. For its part the Peugeot 208 (+10.4%) is lifted by the new generation and its EV variant to #4, its highest European ranking since February 2018 (#3). The VW Polo (-20.4%) is in great difficulty, the VW Tiguan (-5%) limits its fall thanks to its AllSpace 7-seater variant (+121%), the Opel Corsa (+6.9%) leaps up 57 spots on December thanks to the new generation, hitting its best European spot since last September at #7 and the Toyota Yaris (-11.6%) is up 9 ranks on last month to #8, its highest since last October. The Toyota Corolla (+1032.6%) is up 20 spots on December to #12, which is this generation’s best European spot so far, eclipsing the #16 it reached last July.

The Land Rover Defender has landed in the European charts.

Models that were artificially registered in December to avoid upcoming rising EV taxes in some European markets and the new EU CO2 emissions rule come crashing down in January. It is notably the case for the Tesla Model 3 going from #3 in December to #160 in January, the Ford Kuga from #4 to #125, Dacia Duster from #5 to #29, Smart Fortwo from #22 to #187 and Suzuki Vitara from #23 to #118. The VW T-Cross (#19) is the only recent launch to make it into the Top 50, distancing the Skoda Kamiq (#69), Ford Puma landing directly at #70 for its first month in market, the Skoda Scala (#75), Mazda CX-30 (#77) and Kia Xceed (#109). Finally notice the new generation Land Rover Defender making its very first appearance in the European charts at #194.

Previous post: Europe 2019: Last minute tax-related sales rush edges market up 1.2% to highest in 12 years

Previous month: Europe December 2019: Tesla Model 3 surges to #3 in market artificially boosted up 21.4% to highest volume in history

One year ago: Europe January 2019: Citroen and Dacia shine, VW Group recovers in market down -4.6%

Full January 2020 Top 10 groups, Top 50 All-brands and Top 350 All-models below.

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