* See the Top 350 best-selling models and Top 58 brands by clicking on the title! *
Today we inaugurate a new series on BSCB: on top of the US and Chinese market, I will now analyse the year-to-date rankings each month for Europe as well. This way you will be kept abreast of all longer-term trends at play in the 3 biggest car markets in the world. Lucky you! Confirming it is on the mend by lodging a 6th consecutive year-on-year gain in February, the European new car market is up 6% so far in 2014 to 1.873 million units, meaning 2014 could be the first year of European growth since 2007… No mean feat! Check out also Strategy: Will the European new car market ever grow again? for a thorough analysis of Europe’s future.
1. Skoda Octavia testing new levels
Year-to-date analysis is about long-term trends so let’s get straight to the point. Yes the VW Golf is up a fabulous 17%, yes the rest of the Top 5 is only superminis with varying fortunes (Polo-Clio-Fiesta-208) but this is not new news. Five vehicles models stand out from the crowd in this start of 2014. Firstly the Skoda Octavia, thanks to the new generation which is even better value for money, redefines the success of entry brands by consistently maintaining itself among Europe’s 10 favourite cars. It ranks at a splendid 6th place so far in 2014 with sales up 36% on 2013.
2. Audi A3 redefining premium compact sales performance
The Audi A3 has significantly stepped up its sales since the introduction of the 4th generation last year. It is up 67% on its 2013 score to break into the European Top 10 for the first time ever in a year-to-date ranking at #9 with 28,882 sales. It is the best-selling premium car in Europe above the BMW 3 Series at #10 and even ranks #3 in the overall compact category below only the VW Golf (#1) and Ford Focus (#8) but above the Nissan Qashqai (#12), Opel Astra (#18), Toyota Auris (#22) and Peugeot 308 (#23). Its premium compact competitors are hit hard and far below: the Mercedes A-Class is #26 (-14%) and the BMW 1 Series #29 (-9%).
3. Dacia Sandero pushing the limits of low-cost
I have talked and talked about the success of Dacia in Europe over the past few years, but it does not seem to want to stop: the French-Romanian brand is still the fastest-growing mass carmaker on the continent, and is poised to pass Volkswagen in France to potentially rank #4 there in 2015-2016. Illustrating the step-change that the new generation Sandero is offering to consumers, the model is up 66% and 21 spots compared to last year to land at #16 with 23,774 sales. A monthly Top 10 ranking can’t be excluded this year, especially during the slower summer months when all kinds of surprises happen.
4. French mini SUV a recipe for success
If you are a regular BSCB reader this won’t come as a surprise to you. The Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 are Europe’s success story of the past year, and neither shows any sign of plateauing. The Renault Captur was only a few hundred sales off breaking into Europe’s Top 10 last December and if it has evolved a little lower so far this year (#17), its sales volume is now 87% of that of the 10th ranked. The Peugeot 2008 for its part broke into the Top 20 for the first time in February and has seen its production increased 3 times since launch. With both models now inside the French Top 4 as of March, it would only take a strong performance in the UK to boost them inside the European Top 10 as early as next time Europe results are published in one tiny week.
But wait there’s plenty more news in Europe so far in 2014. Helped by much improved new generations, the Citroen C4 Picasso (+77%) and Peugeot 308 (+42%) take giant leaps forward in the ranking, as do the Opel Mokka (#31), Seat Leon (#37), Fiat 500L (#41), Mercedes E Class (#42) and Hyundai i10 (#52). The Skoda Rapid (+174%) is rapidly gearing up to cruising rhythm now that it ranks #2 at home in Czech Republic, while the Ford Kuga (+50%), Nissan Note (+133%), Toyota RAV4 (+112%), Mazda3 (+157%) and Dacia Logan (+194%) all benefit fully from their new generations.
As far as recent launches are concerned, all pale compared to the Captur/2008 couple, but some still get noticed: the Mercedes CLA ranks #104, Chevrolet Trax #108, Suzuki S-Cross #109 and BMW 4 Series #120. The Tesla Model S lands at #209 with 864 sales, 65% of which in Norway, and will shoot up much further based on its March result in the Scandinavian country. The Ghibli introduces Maserati into unheard-of levels, ranking #219 with 714 sales which is more than the Renault Zoe, Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Pajero or Mazda MX-5!
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Full 2 months 2014 Top 350 models and Top 58 brands Ranking Tables below.