I could write for hours, commenting the data below. Volkswagen is down because the German market was down in 2010, Renault is up because of the cash-for-clunkers program in France, and so on. But if I look at the big news, the large market trends, I see only 2.
|European Union 2010 new car registrations, Top 25 per brand*|
|Marketshare %||2010||2009||Change %|
|Market||100,0||13 360 599||14 132 346||– 5,5|
|1||Volkswagen||11,1||1 488 140||1 606 317||– 7,4|
|2||Renault||8,5||1 129 892||1093540||+ 3,3|
|3||Ford||8,1||1 082 112||1 256 229||– 13,9|
|4||Opel/Vauxhall||7,4||986 598||1 046 854||– 5,8|
|5||Peugeot||7,4||983 763||993 762||– 1,0|
|6||Citroën||6,1||821 512||863 957||– 4,9|
|7||Fiat||6,1||812 913||1 004 376||– 19,1|
|8||Audi||4,5||600 112||590 586||+ 1,6|
|9||BMW||4,4||587 668||553 439||+ 6,2|
|10||Mercedes||4,3||570 884||573 201||– 0,4|
|11||Toyota||4,1||550 544||668 570||– 17,7|
|12||Skoda||3,3||446 767||467 893||– 4,5|
|13||Nissan||2,9||390 129||357 197||+ 9,2|
|14||Hyundai||2,6||347 529||333 008||+ 4,4|
|15||Seat||2,2||294 151||310 474||– 5,3|
|16||Kia||1,9||257 857||248 070||+ 3,9|
|17||Dacia||1,9||257 753||236 175||+ 9,1|
|18||Volvo||1,6||213 286||190 455||+ 12,0|
|19||Suzuki||1,4||185 326||241 014||– 23,1|
|20||Honda||1,3||177 555||233 185||– 23,9|
|21||Chevrolet||1,3||175 755||188 561||– 6,8|
|22||Mazda||1,3||172 066||199 913||– 13,9|
|23||Mini||1,0||137 032||131 943||+ 3,9|
|24||Alfa Romeo||0,8||105 797||107 334||– 1,4|
|25||Lancia||0,7||98 534||120 442||– 18,2|
The first is that premium brands are on the rise. Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW and Mercedes all performed better than the market, which overall is down 5.5%. The second big information is that, to my great sorrow, hybrids cars are not successful in Europe. The 2 manufacturers which had most heavily invested in hybrid technology, Toyota and Honda, are both sharply down.
I don’t have all the details yet, and I must not underestimate the effects of the strong yen. But I know that the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius are both the right size for Europe, and that they sell at the right price. They should sell much better than they do. Honda told me that it sold more Insights in 2010 than in 2009, but the Insight was not available the whole 2009, and, anyway you look at it, sales are much less than what the manufacturer was expecting initially.
The CR-Z also had a good start, but I worry about the financial analysts working for all car manufacturers. They will look at the data above, then they will look at the cost of developing an hybrid car, and they will conclude that it’s not worth it…
I’ll keep on writing positive articles about hybrids (here, and on my French website), because it’s a green technology that works, that is effective to reduce CO2 emissions, but I see much more is needed to make them successful in Europe. In fact, I know where the problem is, it lies in the phenomenal success of the diesel engine all over Europe. A Volkswagen Golf diesel has the same fuel consumption as a Toyota Prius, the differences being that the German car is cheaper, and that diesel fuel is a bit cheaper too, thanks to a lower tax rate.
So I’m waiting for a diesel hybrid. The first one, the Peugeot 3008, will be available this Spring. This will be the vehicle that may change the fate of hybrids in Europe.