Now that we have left 2016 behind us, I thought it would be interesting to have a look at last year’s European Union new car registrations and the market shares. Unsurprisingly—at least to us Old World folks—Volkswagen is once again way ahead of any other car brand.
The difference between Volkswagen and number two Renault is significant, to put it mildly. The first Japanese brand is Toyota on position number 11 with a market share of 3.9%. Anyway, here’s the 2016 European Union Top 30 by brand:
Source (click on the link if you want to know everything): ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Now I assume the 2016 North American chart is a whole different story…
Editor’s postscript: Yes, the US chart is different, and I’m putting up a similar analysis shortly. And I’m also adding a second chart here similar to this one, but by manufacturer/group, instead of brand, as it gives a better comparison to the one for the US:
|EU 2016 Sales by Manufacturer/Group|
And as another point of comparison, The total EU market sales in 2016 were 14,641,356 compared to 17,550,351 for the US.
60% more people and 15-20% fewer cars sold compared to the USA. That number will probably get worse with demographic changes, (aging) in the EU over time. Not sure economic growth will actually increase car sales for much longer even here.
True, but Europe’s so urbanized, personal car ownership is less of a necessity.
Europe is also poorer than the US.
That’s because they spend too much money on cheese.
Quite right. It’s a fact that cheese is also much more expensive than Wurst & Schnitzels. I mean, look at all the big Benzes etc. those Teutonics drive, while we found ourselves in their Kadetts.
One can never spend too much money on cheese.
Even British & Irish cheese are expensive in the States. Must be profitable, making a boutique product like that. Back when American cars led the world, we didn’t care much what wine, cheese, beer, bread, or coffee we consumed.
Interesting comments. I know comparisons are odious, but I’d rather drive my Toyota (or my wife’s VW) and drink a Ninkasi IPA, sip a Kicking Horse coffee (though NOT the inappropriately named “454 Horsepower” roast), or eat my wife’s homemade sourdough with a Rogue Creamery cheese, than drive an American V8 …. or a Mercedes or BMW.
Europe including the European part of Russia is about 700 million people. I would say the purchasing power is about the same as the US would have at that size. However, car ownership is about twice expensive, and gas is about three times more expensive. Tell me what you would drive if you had to pay double the price for the car you have, and it would cost a hundred bucks to fill it up every time? Besides, the public transportation is fairly well developed, especially so in cities where car ownership is prohibitively expensive due to congestion fees and parking fees. If you live within a city, you don’t really need a car, if there are buses and subways going every five minutes in any direction.
Actually, aging is not a problem. At least in France.
Most retirees lived a pretty stable work life and acquired full pension rights. Most of them bought their home before real estate prices skyrocketed and fully paid for it.
With no rent or loan to pay, plus a full pension, many retirees have a good purchase power.
Which is not the case of younger folks who suffer from more precarious kind of jobs (part-time, temporary job, or independant workers). In France, a precarious job means no credit.
As a consequence, the medium age of new cars buyers has been constantly growing. Now, it’s something like 55 ou 57 years old.
Moreover, with gasoline prices, insurance costs and general cost of living growing up, without many raises, car buyers are acting on the only lever left : purchase price.
More than 2/3 of cars sales are used cars.
And with a more and more urbanized lifestyle, combined with good public transportation, car sharing and new services like Uber (which is a huge hit in Paris), more and more young people aren’t considering owing a car or even passing their driving licence (which is pretty expensive – 2 to 3.000 € – an difficult to get).
If you add that more and more big cities are waging a war against cars, with Paris as their general, closing down roads, forbidding older cars to access downtown…
Basically, I’m only 37 yo and already feel like a dinosaur because I’m clinging to my wheel. Especially now since my ’79 Caprice is now forbidden in Paris, my hometown, during weekdays, from 8 am to 20 pm.
My German built ’86 Jetta GL has been serving me well since ’91, over 300k miles now and still looks good w/ original paint, interior, gas engine and 5 speed trans. These were the last VW’s that were really built to last. Almost all the upkeep has been done by me over the years. Going to get a collector plate today, 30 years old and now will be registered for life (no more yearly registration fees). It was my get to work car for 17 years, now it’s just an occasional around town runabout.
That said, probably my last VW, but no intention of selling it. VW is #1 in worldwide sales this year, slightly ahead of #2 Toyota. Too bad its US division has been neglected for so long.
I had an ’86 GTI (Westmorland built) which I bought almost new (it was 9 months old when I got it); it was a great car, but I did replace it with a 2000 Golf (my first new car) which I still have. I’ve done most of the upkeep on both cars (thinking about doing timing belt on the 2000); the GTI was pretty dependable, though I did have to replace the clutch due to leaking seal in the transaxle (at least I never had problems with the notorious self-machining problem in the close-ratio transmission). Redid the suspension with (non-lowering) progressive rate springs and struts/shocks. The most common repairs I had (besides the weird odometer issue which intermittently didn’t log mileage) were the voltage regulators (replaced multiple times, kept having pulsing headlights) and the seat fabric which had the bolster keep wearing out. I even replaced the really long rubber “raingutter” piece which held the weatherstripping on the driver’s side; I had to get a used one shipped from a salvage yard “up north” because all the ones in salvage yards in the sunbelt were in even worse shape than my own. My only small regret was that it didn’t have power steering; when I broke my collarbone and 2 ribs I had to drive it (with standard transmission) and it was a bit of a handful until my injury stopped hurting.
My Golf has been reliable, but it does require continuous maintanance, even so I’ve left the non-working power locks in my passenger and driver’s side rear door as is.
I’ll also admit, I don’t know if I’ll buy another VW after my current one, but I have no plans to get rid of it. Note that it is my only car, in fact I’ve never owned any other brand in 36 years (having bought a ’78 Scirocco back in 1981) so guess I have some momentum in owning this marque.
The second table really shows the dominance of VW!
Jaguar will probably drop to the bottom of the list post Brexit.
Ex UK, VW will perhaps be even more dominant. I doubt VW has a 23.9 share in UK.
Shouldn’t Kia and Hyundai be listed as the same company on the manufactures chart?
The VW brand has a 9-10% share in the UK, not much less than the 11.3% in the rest of the EU. Audi does quite well in the UK. I doubt VW Group’s share in the UK is much different. You could look it up yourself, you know, rather than speculate. Google is your friend.
Hyundai only owns a minority 33.83% stake in Kia Motors.
2016 UK market share:
BMW & Mini………………… 9.34
VW (brand)………………… 7.69
VW (Group)*……………… 19.57
* VW, Seat, Audi, Skoda, Porsche, Bentley (not counting Lambo & Bugatti)
I wonder how different it would had been if some defunct brands from the late British Leyland and Rootes was still there in 2016?
The VW brand has a 9-10% share in the UK, not much less than the 11.3% in the rest of the EU.
The VW brand would be even more dominate if they dropped the Skoda and Seat brands and put the VW brand on the models coming off the Spanish and Czech lines: about two and a half times the sales of Renault, Ford or Opel.
I had always thought Hyundai had a controlling share. Interesting, given there seems to be a lot of technology and content sharing between the two. Suppose it’s like Mazda’s relationship with Ford in the 80’s/90’s?
It’s more like the Nissan-Renault alliance. Cross ownership of shares, by both parties, but at minority percentages. But an operating agreement and degrees of joint management.
I knew that the VW group did well in Europe, but did not know that they were this dominant.
Looking at it by country of ownership/control, Germany is way out front with 37%, France behind at 20 and Italy (to the extent that FCA is Italian and not American by now) way behind at 7. Thus European manufacturers still have about 64% of the European market.
Among “foreign” manufacturers, the US is largest with a 14% share (Ford and Open-Vauxhall), Japan right behind at 12 and Korea with 6. China and India have about 2% each.
I wonder how the French companies will fare if there is a significant anti-establishment government that comes out of their next election. I had understood (thought my information may be old) that the French Government has been very active in keeping French auto manufacturers competitive. Is this still true?
VW in Europe is the GM of yore.
Your labeling Opel and Ford as “foreign” is interesting, as Europeans generally do not think of them that way. Opel was of course originally a German company, and both it and Ford have been there so long, and their products so European, that they have long been “naturalized” citizens of the automotive community there.
The real “foreigners’ were/are of course the Japanese, and more recently, the Koreans. The European industry was very worried about a repeat of the Japanese Invasion that happened in the US, and it did make some serious inroads in the 80s, but then stalled out, as Europeans made a massive effort to improve the reliability/quality of their cars, and there was a concerted PR effort to play up perceived weaknesses with the Japanese (brakes), to feed the intrinsic xenophobia and play up the chauvinism.
It’s surprising how much negative perception there is among Europeans to Asian cars, and how embraced they are here.
The failure of the “Japanese Invasion” of Europe is a story that I’ve long wanted to write up, but like so many others, has languished on my To Do list.
Regarding France: I’m not up on the National Front’s platform regarding industrial policy, but if it’s anything like Trump’s it will likely favor domestic producers/production.
I will admit that I struggled in my arbitrary assignments of companies to countries. I certainly agree that Ford’s European business and Opel/Vauxhall have become so separated from their US counterparts that there is very little (if any) “American-ness” to them. Which raises the question – does that make Land Rover/Jaguar British instead of Indian? Volvo Swedish instead of Chinese? And what is FCA?
If this exercise proves anything it is that the old nationalistic categories are becoming more and more obsolete.
I’ve continued to think of LR/Jag (and to a far lesser extent RR and MINI) as British, and Volvo as Swedish, since the overseas ownership has provided cash infusions and guidance but seem to have, for the most part, left the development and production back in the “old country”.
…and Italy (to the extent that FCA is Italian and not American by now)
Outside of the US, the Fiat brand has a substantial presence, while Dodge, Chryser, Jeep and Ram are primarily restricted to North America.
Here’s a table of the best selling car brands in the world, through the first 9 months of 2014. The Fiat brand ranks.14th at 1.36M, putting it on a par with BMW, Audi and Mercedes. The US FCA brands do not make the list. For fun, I pulled up the September US sales report from FCA, as this will capture the vast majority of US based FCA brand sales. Year to date sales for Jeep were 516,387, Dodge 443,957, Ram 337,148 and Chrysler 223,066, for a total of about 1.5M for the four brands combined.
In France, there were import quotas limitating the importation of japanese cars.
Also, Peugeot then Renault played the diesel card against japanese cars. They put diesel engines on their whole range, from small to luxury cars. And, because we didn’t have the equivalent of diesel Delta 88s, diesels got pretty strong here (as high as 75 % of the market), thanks to fiscal law (lower taxes on diesel, deductible VAT for professionnals, tax credits, etc).
It wasn’t a very smart move since diesel is now a pollution problem, used as a pretext to ban any pre-1997 car in Paris.
Moreover, even if japanese cars were better built during the 80’s, they weren’t as good as french cars in terms of handling and comfort.
Japanese cars really became competitive at the end of the 90’s with diesel engines and cars more adapted to the french market, in terms of design and roadability. Also, Toyota did the same as everywhere and built a factory in France heavily playing the “made in France” card.
About the National Front, I don’t think car companies (like most businesses whatsoever) are on the same agenda. Many factories were transfered in lower wages east european countries (the famous no-frill Dacia is built in Romania).
And, although our presidential elections taking place in may might turn batsh..t crazy, I don’t think the National Front will be elected. Maybe the next one, in 5 years.
Even if sometimes I tell myself I should place a 100 to 1 bet on this election, in order to get a silver lining to what would be a pretty bad thing…
“the French Government has been very active in keeping French auto manufacturers competitive. Is this still true?”
Yes, like all governments with national car makers…but, diesel (a French specialties) hunting is everywhere and police drive VW and Ford…
What?TOYOTA is not in the top five.
This is very interesting indeed, that Honda has such a poor showing. Looking forward to a more complete story on that.
And thanks for adding the 2nd chart, because that was exactly what I was thinking while reading the first. “Well lets see, Hyundai and Kia are the same group, but whoops I forgot about Seat…”
And yes, it’s amazing how walkable much of Europe is. A family we know (Dan’s a University Prof from Michigan living in Canada) did a year in Germany so the whole family moved there. Once they figured out the various systems they didn’t miss their car, and they all lost weight from walking so much.
The short story is this:
The Japanese did so well in NA initially for three reasons:
1. A growing number of Americans wanted small cars, which the domestics were not building or lousy at it. And the Beetle was obsolete. The Japanese had the right cars, at the right time, for a very good price, due to the dollar-yen relationship.
2. The Japanese cars were very well built, so they developed a reputation for that.
3. The Japanese started building cars in the US, and more importantly, designing cars specifically for the US market. Look at the top selling Japanese vehicles in NA: they’re largely designed specifically for us, and not Japan or Europe. Honda in particular. The overwhelming majority of Honda’s NA lineup is not relevant to the EU.
The European market has evolved considerably since the 80s when basic small cars were the overwhelming part of the market, and Honda did ok with their Civic and Accord. But the European market has changed since then, just like the NA market. That meant huge investments to meet the specific tastes of the European market. Toyota has the money to keep doing that, more or less. Honda just doesn’t, and as such, they’re increasingly becoming less relevant to the European market. Frankly, Honda should just move to the US; they’re a more American company than GM. They make their overwhelming majority (like 90+%) of their profit in NA.
The European market is very competitive, and fragmented. Honda simply doesn’t have any specific advantages over the competition; quite the opposite.
Where’s Subaru? I knew their strong performance in the US was an aberration but do they not sell at all in Europe?
Subaru is among the “Other Japanese”, with a total market share of 0.2%.
Click on the link (in the article) inbetween the two charts, page 3 of 5.
There are a number of other brands sold in the EU that had too small a share to include without making the list very long. Only the bigger sellers made the list.
IIRC one of the reasons why we’re getting the Civic hatchback again at long last is that Honda has so much excess production capacity in the UK.
Paul: indeed, but note the inroads made by the Koreans in recent years. I think they understood they need to make a “European” car for Europe and an “American” car for the US/Canada. This is reflected in their styling and car set up. Couple that with keen pricing and you have a recipe for success. The only Japanese manufacturer understanding this at the moment is Mazda and at least in Austria it paid dividends. I’m not sure where Nissan and Toyota have the bulk of their European sales but it’s certainly not here, they are embarrassingly way below the Koreans and Mazda.
John Cadogan, an Aussie reviewer, ranks Kia, Hyundai, & Mazda high on his list of recommended brands. VW, Benz, & US brands are in his doghouse.
While I don’t disagree with those particular items, he is a bit of a blowhard and wrong on some things.
Edit: of the US brands FCA is obviously on the nose, plus there were issues with the Ford dual-clutch gearboxes that are no longer sold. Holden Cruze reliability is not brilliant, the Captiva is pretty woeful, and historically some of the Opel-sourced cars have been ok they have not been stellar overall.
This is very interesting indeed, that Honda has such a poor showing. Looking forward to a more complete story on that.
Honda has dropped the Accord in Europe. I had read that the Civic hatchbacks being offered in the US now are built in the UK, because the UK plant has so much surplus capacity. I looked at the VIN of a Civic hatch at the Detroit show last week. Sure enough, the VIN started with an S, indicating UK production.
Honda developed a diesel, and highlighted it in in their “Hate something” TV commercial. That doesn’t seem to help them.
Honda now offers the Jazz (Fit), Civic (hatchback and wagon), CR-V, HR-V, and the truly exotic NSX.
Honda’s own 1.6 and 2.2 liter common rail turbodiesels are sublime engines, BTW.
In Austria, Honda was reasonably popular in the 80s-90s but then they went “off” some way or another and I really do not know why. Styling can explain some of that with the Civic looking stranger and stranger with each new generation; certainly the current car seems to appeal to far eastern tastes rather than European ones. Again the same applies to the HR-V. The cars are built in the UK but they got the quality issues well in hand now. When I was looking for a new car a year ago I almost bought a previous gen Civic but twice the cars were sold before I even could take a test drive, which surely means something… I cannot speak for other parts of Europe but to me the way Honda (as well as Toyota and Nissan, which also have appalling sales figures) is conceived is as a car for (other than the Type R and NSX which are atypical) the pensioner. Reliable yet excruciatingly boring. The best selling Japanese brand here is… Mazda and it’s no coincidence Mazda produces the most “European” Japanese cars. It also managed to stay away from being hit by the ugliness or strangeness stick as did Honda or Toyota – compare for example the Toyota Avensis with the Mazda 6 or the Honda Civic with the Mazda 3 and you’ll see what I mean.
From my limited perspective in Portugal…
Honda did very well in the 80s and 90s. They had pretty, reliably and very sophisticated cars. Then the market shifted to diesel and Honda didn’t. This hurt them. Also their cars became ugly.
Toyotas are even uglier but they do better because they have diesel cars.
Looking at this and the link is fascinating and answered a question that formed in my head this morning before I knew this was being ran.
A friend sent me an article (unsourced, but it looks like Hemmings) about the rise and decline of wood powered vehicles in Europe between the two world wars. Pictured was a ’29 Ford Model A that is wood powered. This car is in a soon to be opened (or perhaps opened by now) museum in southern France. It came from Denmark with the wood stove manufactured by a Scandinavian firm.
The article stated that in 1944 there were 72,000 vehicles registered in France. My question was about what the number is currently, and here it is. There were 190,000+ new registrations (not just total registrations) in France in December ’16 alone. Truly a contrast of two vastly different eras that have reflected tremendous growth in the intervening 72 years.
“My question was about what the number is currently, and here it is”
35 millions including light commercials.
On a recent visit to Germany, the biggest difference I noticed was the number of diesels, especially in SUVs and sedans. While waiting for a bus on a busy street corner in Berlin, 65-75% of the passenger vehicles had the familiar clack of a diesel engine. It was just as prominent with Asian as well as European brands including BMW, MB, and Audi. A bit of an education for me.
wrt diesel: several European cities are moving to phase out diesels due to their particulate emissions.
Marchionne held a press conference at the Detroit auto show a couple weeks ago. He said that upcoming emissions standards, including Euro-6 are looking like they will make diesel uneconomic vs gas engines. Fiat alone would be looking at half a billion Euros to try and develop compliant diesels.
here’s the transcript of the presser:
For fun, I pondered what would happen to VW in the US if the 35% tariff on Mexican cars because reality, as most VWs sold in the US are built in Puebla.
The US Passat is now obsolete as German production has moved to the next generation on the MQB platform.
The US Jetta is way obsolete as it is still derived from the Jetta platform introduced 10 years ago.
The Beetle is also obsolete, being based on the Mk V Golf.
The EU spec B8 Passat is about 5″ shorter than the US Passat and 5″ longer than the Jetta.
The Steve plan would be to drop the US Passat and stop importing the Jetta. Import the B8 Passat from the EU instead as a compromise in size and price vs the two older models.
That would clear a line in Chattanooga to produce the new Tiguan. I gave the new Tig a very hard look at the Detroit show, and I suspect they are going to sell about a bazillion of them. The newly installed second line at Chattanooga would carry on as is building the larger Atlas SUV.
US market Golf and Golf wagon would be sourced from Europe. They are low volume models anyway. The Mk V and Mk VI Rabbit/Golf were sourced from Germany.
The Beetle would die…a death which has been rumored for several years.
“The total EU market sales in 2016 were 14,641,356 compared to 17,550,351 for the US.”
EU number are without light commercials vehicles (pick-ups et cargo vans) ?
Yes, “passenger cars” only. So without (light) trucks and panel vans.
“Overall in 2016, nearly two million new vans were registered in the European Union”