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Germany May 2020: Motorhome boom forecast lifts Fiat Ducato to #2, sales down -49.5% to lowest May since 1968

The Fiat Ducato is up to #2 overall in Germany in May.

11/06 update : Now with Top 285 All Private sales models.

With car dealerships reopening as early as April 20, the -49.5% year-on-year drop of German new car sales in May to just 168.148 units can be considered disappointing even though it is an improvement on the -61.1% of April. Germany’s year-on-year evolution in May now matches that of Italy (-49.4%) and France (-50.3%) whereas it performed much better than these two markets in April. This means Germany holds a much lesser weight in European sales, currently standing at 27.5% of the 23 markets that have communicated May sales so far vs. 41% in April. If we remove April 2020 figures (120.840) which were the lowest of any month in Germany since August 1982, May would be the weakest monthly tally since August 1991 (165.040) which marked the end of cancelled taxes for low-emissions vehicles. In any case, this is the lowest May volume in Germany since 1968 (155.131), at a time when the VW Beetle and Opel Kadett topped the sales charts. The year-to-date volume is now down -35% to 990.350 and we have lowered our 2020 forecast for Germany quite significantly from 2.88m to 2.7m units which would be a -25% drop on 2019 and the lowest annual volume in the country since 1985 (2.38m).

The last time May volumes were lower in Germany, the VW Beetle was #1.

Fleet sales drop -50.3% to 104.083 units and 61.9% share vs. 62.9% a year ago in May 2019 while private sales drop a more measured -48.2% to 64.065 units and 38% share vs. 37.1% a year ago. Year-to-date, fleets account for a much larger 64.2% share vs. 35.8% for private sales. The most popular segment is SUV with 19.9% share followed by compact cars at 18.9%, small cars at 14.3% and 4WD at 12%. The RV segment (motorhome) is the only one in positive this month at +29.1% to 6.2% share, because campervan specialists anticipate a surge in demand come Summer as flying restrictions still in place throughout Europe mean summer holidays will most likely have to be taken on the road in 2020. Petrol car sales are off -56.3% to 85.904 and 51.1% share vs. 59% a year ago, diesel is down -52% to 53.218 and 31.6% share vs. 33.3% but HEV edges up 0.3% to 16.089 and 9.6% share vs. 4.8% in May 2019, PHEV shoots up 106.6% to 6.755 and 4% share vs. 1% and EV lifts 20.5% to 5.578 and 3.3% share vs. 1.4% a year ago.

The Twingo (+25.4%) helps Renault drop “just” -33.9% in May.

Brand-wise, the podium returns to its 2020 YTD order with Volkswagen (-51.5%), Mercedes (-42.5%) and Audi (-46.1%) the most popular. Ford (-57.1%) drops one spot to #4, BMW (-62.1%) is off two to #5 and both Skoda (-47.8%) and Opel (-59.6%) remain at #6 and #7 respectively. Fiat (-13%) gets an artificial boost from campervan sales as we’ll see further down, with Renault (-33.9%) also performing a lot better than the market at #9 and Hyundai (-46.5%) sliding back inside the Top 10 with a respectable hold. Further down, Subaru (+13.3%) scores the only year-on-year gain in the Top 30 while Mitsubishi (-19.2%), Tesla (-27.9%) and Citroen (-29.3%) contain their loss. In contrast, Smart (-91.4%), Dacia (-63.4%), Seat (-61.1%), Lexus (-59.3%), Suzuki (-57.3%) and Honda (-55.9%) continue to struggle. Among brands holding less than 0.2% share Morgan (+100%), Iveco (+17.5%), Lamborghini (-10.7%) and DS (-25.1%) fare best.

First Top 10 finish for the Mitsubishi Space Star, up to a record #9.

The VW Golf (-54.3%) remains the best-selling vehicle in Germany despite a steep year-on-year fall, but the event of the month is in 2nd place. A quirk of German new car sales methodology categorise the Fiat Ducato as a passenger car – it most definitely shouldn’t – and, as the standard base for motorhomes, traditionally sales peak in Spring as rental companies purchase significant volumes of the vehicle before transforming it in time for summer rental. The coronavirus pandemic means we have a slightly delayed peak that is reaching even more grandiose proportions given not much flying will be allowed for European holidays and motorhome companies anticipate a surge in demand. As such the the Fiat Ducato (+30.9%) sports a fantastic year-on-year gain and lifts two spots on April to land at a record 2nd place overall. Note the Ducato has scored 3 of its 4 all-time best German monthly rankings in the past 3 months with May 2020 (#2), April 2020 (#4) and March 2020 (#6) only matched by April 2019 (#3). Before then, the Ducato’s highest ever ranking in Germany was #10 in April 2017. This month’s volume (6.511) is also a record for the Ducato, eclipsing the 5.873 it hit in April 2019, and the Ducato now ranks 5th year-to-date. As a bonus, the Fiat Ducato repeats at #1 in the private sales ranking and snaps the YTD top spot off the VW Golf…

Subaru is the only mass carmaker to post a year-on-year gain this month. 

Below, the VW Tiguan (-46.3%) remains in third place and cements its 2nd spot YTD, with the Mercedes C-Class (-45.6%) up 14 spots on April to #4 and Volkswagen also placing the Passat (-52%) and T-Roc (-50.6%) in the Top 6. The Ford Focus (-48.9%) is down 5 to #7, the Opel Corsa (-38%) up 5 to #8 and the Opel Astra (-33.7%) up 18 to #10, its first German Top 10 since last October but we have another notable performer in the Top 10 this month: the Mitsubishi Space Star (+17.1%) scores a splendid year-on-year gain that lifts it up 18 spots on April to #9, smashing its previous ranking record of #19 hit in September 2018. The Space Star also ranks #2 with private buyers above every single VW model… The Mercedes GLE (+111.7%), Renault Twingo (+25.4%), Citroen Jumper (+20.8%) – also lifted by campervan sales, Hyundai Kona (-6.8%), Mercedes CLA (-7.9%), BMW X3 (-14.1%), Kia Ceed (-18.8%) and Opel Crossland X (-21.1%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 50. The Skoda Kamiq (#42) tops recent launches above the Ford Puma (#49), Mercedes GLB (#66) and Mazda CX-30 (#72).

Previous month: Germany April 2020: Sales drop limited to -61.1% to lowest month since August 1982

One year ago: Germany May 2019: BMW (+42.1%), Seat (+34.9%) shine in market boosted up 9.1% by resurgent diesel sales

Full May 2020 Top 50 brands, Top 300 models and Top 285 Private sales models below.

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