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Europe September 2020: First gain of the year (+1.1%) is optical illusion, VW ID.3 cracks Top 10 in 6 markets, wins 2

It’s official: the VW ID.3 is an instant blockbuster.

Provisional data released by ACEA shows the very first year-on-year uptick of 2020 for the European new car market in September at +1.1% to 1.300.048 registrations (EU+EFTA+UK), an evolution you were already able to track over the past two weeks on our Live COVID-19 Dashboard. However this is a bit of an optical illusion as year-ago volumes remained weak across Europe due to WLTP regulation disruptions: yes, September 2019 was up 14.4% on 2018 but still down -12.3% on 2017, which was a more realising comparison set. The year-to-date tally now stands at 8.567.920 units, down -29.3% or a gaping 3.55 million units over the same period in 2019. Moreover, prospects for the rest of the year are dark as most of Europe is now hit by a second, larger coronavirus wave that has already brought record new daily cases in the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy as of October 15. Thankfully death figures appear to be a lot lower than during the first wave so far. Some countries have already enacted partial lockdowns such as Spain and the UK, with France imposing a nighttime curfew in 8 of its largest cities from October 17 onwards. The return of strict lockdowns and widespread business closures – a very real possibility at the time of writing this article – will inevitably trigger a second new car sales implosion over the fourth Quarter.

In September, Italy (+9.8%) and Germany (+8.4%) are the only two Top 5 markets in positive, with France (-3%), the UK (-4.4%) and Spain (-13.5%) receding. Romania (+79.9%), Ireland (+65.9%), Iceland (+41.4%), Norway (+39.4%), Slovakia (+31%), Luxembourg (+23.1%), Greece (+20.5%), Hungary (+18.6%) and Lithuania (+17.8%) all post fantastic double-digit gains whereas Bulgaria (-27.7%), Netherlands (-21.9%), Slovenia (-16.6%), Croatia (-12.8%) and Switzerland (-11.4%) all struggle. In the groups ranking and according to ACEA data, the VW Group (+14.1%) brilliantly manage the largest gain in the Top 10, pushing its volume to just under 295.000 units. That’s over 115.000 more than the #2, PSA Group (-14.1%) in contrast struggling with the steepest fall in the Top 10. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (+5.4%) is also solid at #3 above Hyundai-Kia (-0.8%), BMW Group (-11.9%) and Daimler AG (-7.7%) all in negative. FCA (+11.8%) and the Toyota Group (+8.7%) also impress in the remainder of the Top 10.

In the brands ranking, Volkswagen (+6.5%) widens the gap with its followers as the only Top 4 brand in positive above Mercedes (-5.2%), Renault (-1.3%) and Ford (-4.5%). Peugeot (+3.4%) also beats the market at #5. Audi (+41.8%) recuperates from a drab year-ago volume to post by far the largest gain in the Top 10, with Skoda (+16.5%) and Toyota (+10.5%) also very impressive. Reversely Opel/Vauxhall (-32.5%) and BMW (-9.2%) go against the market growth with stifling losses. Below, Suzuki (+49.1%), Dacia (+33.1%), Jeep (+24.7%), Lancia (+12.4%), Fiat (+10%), Seat (+7.7%), Nissan (+6.6%) and Honda (+3.8%) also manage to post a year-on-year uptick in the remainder of the Top 30 brands. In the naughty corner: Smart (-47.9%), Jaguar (-36.9%), Mitsubishi (-25%), Mazda (-23.4%), Mini (-19.5%), Porsche (-19.2%), Land Rover (-15.7%) and DS (-13.7%).

Although we won’t get confirmed models data until the last week of the month, one very significant event in September in Europe is the very successful arrival of the VW ID.3 in dealerships across the continent. Volkswagen’s first EV nameplate instantly becomes the best-selling vehicle outright in Norway (#1) and Ireland (#1), and already ranking inside the Top 20 of at least 7 additional markets: Iceland (#3), Denmark (#5), Finland (#6), Switzerland (#9), Netherlands (#11), Sweden (#15) and Austria (#16). Exclusive partial October data also shows the ID.3 in the overall lead in Norway again as well as in the Netherlands, so the next few months will be fascinating to follow as it starts to gain traction in larger markets such as Germany, France and the UK and start climbing the European charts for good…

Final brands data and complete models data will be uploaded to this article when made available to us.

Previous month: Europe August 2020: BMW (+8.9%), Kia (+6.8%) survive worsening market (-17.8%), Peugeot 2008 (+33.9%) #1 SUV for the first time

One year ago: Europe September 2019: VW, Renault, Tesla lift market up 14.4% on 2018 but still down -12.3% on 2017

Full September 2020 Top 10 groups and Top 33 brands below.

Europe September 2020 – groups (Source ACEA):

1Volkswagen Group294,95714.1%12,172,339-26.8%11
2PSA Group179,469-14.1%21,235,688-36.8%22
5BMW Group90,448-11.9%5602,297-22.5%55
6Daimler AG88,303-7.7%6536,913-27.8%66
7Toyota Group79,5148.7%8502,482-18.1%79
8Ford Motor79,433-4.5%7481,219-34.4%97
10Geely Group29,801-3.4%10198,435-20.1%1010

Europe September 2020 – brands (Source ACEA):

23Land Rover16,945-15.7%2682,682-29.2%2323
31Alfa Romeo4,090-1.3%2824,493-40.8%3232

Source: ACEA

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Another thing we also can’t forget is that we are only getting top performance ID.3 versions ( 205 HP). Both lower powered versions are still coming (110 and 150 HP) which means entry point into it will go much lower in coming months. Base ID.3 will be 2000 € cheaper here than basic Zoe( if you buy battery).

    1. If the ID.3 will be that cheaper then will kill the e208 and the eCorsa which are both more expensive and have less range than the Zoe.

      1. Is it a crystal ball or do you possess an extraterrestrial gift that enables you to predict the future?? I envy you.

  2. Good start for the ID3. ‘Start’ as shipments to dealers after spending quite a while on parking lots awaiting software updates. Upcoming months will be interesting to see when the ID3 hits its plateau. Likely the Zoe’s 11.000 units in September will be broken by the VW EV in October. To what extent Tesla will feel the pain …. “stay tuned on BSCB!!”

    1. A fascinating few months coming up, that’s for sure Rick! Also interesting will be the behaviour of the Golf once the ID.3 has settled to long-term volumes.

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