Good first half per­for­mance for car mar­ket

New Ross Standard - - MOTORING SPECIAL - BY DAVID TUCKER

THE Euro­pean car mar­ket is more dy­namic than ever be­fore, record­ing its best yearly first half per­for­mance of the cen­tury.

Volk­swa­gen’s Golf, Nis­san’s Qashqai, Re­nault’s Cap­tur and Peu­geot’s 3008 were among the star per­form­ers, with Volk­wa­gen’s T-Roc the stand­out in the new launches.

It was also a pos­i­tive first half for the Citroen C3 Air­cross, Opel/Vaux­hall Cross­land, Seat Arona, Skoda Karoq and Jeep Com­pass.

There were 8.6 mil­lion car reg­is­tra­tions be­tween Jan­uary and June – a year on year in­crease of 2.7%. De­spite un­cer­tainty in the UK, where the mar­ket was down 6.3% on the first half of 2017, the growth recorded in Ger­many, France and Spain al­lowed the over­all mar­ket to keep grow­ing. But it was the pos­i­tive eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion across the con­ti­nent that boosted re­sults, as mid­size mar­kets like the Nether­lands, Poland and Swe­den all posted in­creases, and smaller mar­kets like Hun­gary, Greece, Ro­ma­nia, Croa­tia and Lithua­nia sim­i­larly posted sig­nif­i­cant in­creases.

The growth is also a re­sult of car mak­ers con­tin­u­ing to launch new mod­els – giv­ing con­sumers more choice than ever be­fore.

‘It was cer­tainly a good first half for the Euro­pean mar­ket and this is due to the choice that con­sumers now have. Car mak­ers con­tinue to up­date and mod­ernise their tra­di­tional mod­els, while the range of SUVs on of­fer con­tin­ues to grow and ap­peal to all kinds of bud­gets and needs. The diesel cri­sis cer­tainly af­fected the speed of growth in the mar­ket, but con­sumers are overcoming this by turn­ing to more at­trac­tive ga­so­line and AFV so­lu­tions,’ said Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global an­a­lyst.

Diesel ac­counted for just 37% of the to­tal mar­ket – its low­est share since 2001. Diesel’s big­gest de­clines took place in Nor­way (-32%), the UK (-30%), Slove­nia (-28%), Fin­land (-20%) and Bel­gium (-20%).

Al­ter­na­tive Fu­elled Ve­hi­cles per­formed well, as electrics, hy­brids and plug-ins posted an in­crease of 31% and recorded 450,200 reg­is­tra­tions, mak­ing up 5.4% of to­tal reg­is­tra­tions. They ac­counted for 56% of the to­tal mar­ket in Nor­way, 13% in Fin­land and 11% in Swe­den. How­ever, AFVs only made up 3.4% of the Ger­man mar­ket.

There were 2.92 mil­lion SUV reg­is­tra­tions in H1 2018, a re­sult that marks the best-ever per­for­mance for the seg­ment in Europe. SUVs grew by 24% in H1 and by 30% in June, sig­ni­fy­ing that the boom won’t be slow­ing down any­time soon. Most of the growth in H1 was driven by the small SUV sub-seg­ment, which saw a record 1.08 mil­lion reg­is­tra­tions. Com­pact SUVs and mid­size SUVs also posted in­creases and con­trib­uted to the re­sult, record­ing 1.24 mil­lion and 455,400 reg­is­tra­tions, re­spec­tively. Only large SUVs saw a de­crease, record­ing a 9% de­cline to 141,000 reg­is­tra­tions.

Con­sumers con­tin­ued to shift to­wards SUVs at the ex­pense of tra­di­tional cars, as reg­is­tra­tions for cars (rang­ing from city-cars to lux­ury cars) fell by al­most 4% to 4.85 mil­lion. Sub­com­pacts recorded the high­est vol­ume with 1.77 mil­lion reg­is­tra­tions, but this was still a year on year de­cline of 2%. Mean­while com­pacts recorded 1.55 mil­lion reg­is­tra­tions but recorded a de­cline of 5%. How­ever, the big­gest vic­tim of the SUV boom was the MPV seg­ment, which saw reg­is­tra­tions down by 23% to just 532,600 – one of the low­est re­sults of the last ten years.

The VW Group was once again the top-sell­ing car­maker in Europe, but for the first time also be­came the top-sell­ing SUV maker.

‘ The VW Group is mak­ing the most of the pos­i­tive land­scape cre­ated by SUVs. Al­though the VW brand ar­rived late to the seg­ment, the im­pres­sive and large ar­ray of SUVs they are of­fer­ing the mar­ket is pay­ing off. As ex­pected, the T-Roc is hugely suc­cess­ful and is fast be­com­ing one of the topselling cars in Europe. VW’s other brands are also per­form­ing well due to their SUV ranges, mean­ing that SUVs res­cued VW Group from the diesel cri­sis,’ said Munoz. Reg­is­tra­tions for VW Group’s SUVs were up by 42% in H1 2018, while their com­pact cars were up by just 3%.

De­spite be­ing launched in 2011, the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of Volk­swa­gen Golf con­tin­ued to be Europe’s topselling model and in­creased its reg­is­tra­tions by 9% – an im­pres­sive ac­com­plish­ment for a ve­hi­cle that has been on the mar­ket for seven years. Al­though there was a 26% drop in the Golf ’s diesel reg­is­tra­tions, this was off­set by a 29% in­crease in its petrol reg­is­tra­tions. It also recorded more reg­is­tra­tions of its al­ter­na­tive fuel types, which counted for 6% of its to­tal vol­ume. The Golf was the top-sell­ing car in Ger­many, Aus­tria, Lux­em­bourg, Latvia and Bel­gium.

The Nis­san Qashqai con­tin­ued to per­form well, as it climbed one spot to en­ter the top 5 best-sell­ing mod­els and main­tained its po­si­tion as the best-sell­ing SUV in Europe. How­ever, its reg­is­tra­tions fell by 1% while its clos­est ri­val, the Tiguan (ex­clud­ing Allspace), grew by 1% and was just 5,300 reg­is­tra­tions be­hind. The Cap­tur was the top-sell­ing small SUV with 121,200 reg­is­tra­tions – ahead of both the Peu­geot 2008 and Da­cia Duster.

The most im­proved per­for­mance came from the Peu­geot 3008, while the new Duster, Ford Ecosport, Mercedes GLC, Opel/Vaux­hall In­signia and Toyota Yaris all con­tin­ued to grow as well.

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