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True Fleet accelerating towards strong finish for 2016
With the best month of the year so far for True Fleet it comes as no surprise to see there were also some big winners for November. Renault managed to push VW from the Top spot for the 2nd time in 2016, the only manufacturer to do this. Peugeot recorded a 67.0% jump over November 2015 to take 3rd place with only Renault beating them in terms of growth rate (99.0%). Overall the Spanish automotive market saw an increase of 12.1% YTD and the Private Market saw its best month since July.
As we look deeper into the Top 20 model ranking the Renault brand dominates with 5 models, with worthy mentions for both the Megane and Talisman. The Peugeot 208 jumped 10 places from 15th to 5th and the Tiguan moved 67 places from 77th to 10th with the 2nd highest growth rate of 367.1% for November.
While the Tiguan fared well in the True Fleet SUV segment, justified mentions for the Mercedes GLC with a 263.4% increase and Ford Kuga with a 100.8% increase over November 2015 are also warranted. However the most noteworthy mention should be reserved for the Nissan Qashqai, it has held the number #1 spot for 15 of the last 16 months, has almost double the registrations of the 2nd placed SUV for November and YTD has managed to achieve a huge 9.7% of all True Fleet SUV registrations.
Within the Small car segment we are starting to see a rise in the adoption of petrol engines. Whether this is due to improvements in fuel efficiency, fallout from “Diesalgate” or improvements to manufacturer pricing schemes remains to be quantified. What is visible is that in 2015 petrol accounted for only 21.5% of all registrations but current YTD figures show petrol currently standing at 28.4% an increase of 6.9%. The Top 5 models from the segment Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, Volkswagen Polo, Seat Ibiza and Opel Corsa are all showing increases both for the month of November and YTD figures. Alongside this petrol rise alternative fuels are also pushing the boundaries and increasing their footprint in the segment posting a plus 1.4% (2015 Total vs 2016 YTD). It is perhaps then not to long before diesel equates to only 60.0% of this market.
The Italian market continues the current positive trend, though November was a little more muted than the preceding 3 months. The Private Market recovered from the October slump and achieved a 4.7% gain for November while also breaching the 1 million registration mark comfortably with a month still to go. True Fleets muted 15.9% for November still keeps Italy leading the EU-5 in terms of growth but with such a strong month from Spain the YTD growth gap between the nations has narrowed to just 3.4%.
Within the True Fleet vehicle segments SUVs remained in the #1 spot for the 20th month in a row recording 28.8% growth for November. While diesel reigns supreme as the SUV fuel type of choice, hybrid engine SUVs have shown a dramatic rise in 2016 and with December still to be accounted for these powertrains so far have produced a 241.1% increase over the 2015 total. To place this in context hybrid SUV Volumes in 2016 have achieved 75.9% of the petrol variants volume over the same time period.
Solid 50% growth in November came from 3 brands within the True Fleet Top 20, Jeep with 51.2%, Alfa Romeo with 58.1% and Hyundai with a 67.4%. From these 3 manufacturers model ranges the accolades must go to the Jeep Renegade with the highest total volume growth pushing the model from 13th to 3rd place in the Top 20 models for True Fleet.
Our final mention for the month should rightly reside within the Fiat camp. While Fiat continues to dominate the Italian True Fleet market the 500X is the model in ascension. With a YTD volume growth of 81.6% it has moved from 8th position to 3rd in the YTD model rankings and will narrowly miss 2nd place for the year should the 500L current performance continue.
The French automotive market seems to have recovered from last month’s hangover with a vibrant return to positive numbers. All three market segments produced positive results, Private Market achieved a 2.4%, True Fleets recorded a 14.6% and Special Channels ended with a 15.7% driven in no small part by Dacia, Mercedes and Renault.
Dacia’s results in the Specials Channels have seen it move from 16th to 10th in the brand ranking after producing a 234.9% growth. The brand’s November success was not limited to Special Channels; within True Fleets it also produced a gain of 222.5% taking it from 22nd into 14th position with the Sandero model driving the volume & percentage growth in all market segments for Dacia.
Sticking with True Fleets and focussing on the SUV segment we saw lots of movement inside the Top 10 models in November. In term of position jumps the Dacia Duster was the winner moving from 27th to 9th in the ranking while on the negative side the Nissan Qashqai dropped from 1st to 5th. The biggest percentage growth went to the Tiguan with 312.7% securing it 4th position. However the biggest stand out from the in-depth look at the True Fleet SUV segment came from Maserati. The Maserati Levante gave the brand its best ever month since Dataforce statistics started in 2003 and also has produced the best ever quarterly numbers with December figures still to add. This SUV on its current trajectory may soon be challenging the likes of Porsche Cayenne or BMW X6.
After a slight drop in October (- 2.1%) the German True Fleet Market returned to its growth path with a surplus of 1.6% (YTD + 5.6%). At the same time the share of fleet registrations was the highest so far in 2016 with 26.7% while the total volume represented the best November volume ever.
However only six of the Top-10 brands in True Fleets were able to raise their volumes compared to November 2015. Mercedes was one of them achieving its best market share in more than three years and closing the gap to Audi (ranked number two behind Volkswagen) to about 50 registrations. The fleet sales departments of Renault (ranked 8th), Nissan (10th) and Volvo (11th) can report satisfying November results as well with rates of expansion of 12.3%, 49.9% and 37.4% respectively.
It was already on the horizon over the last few months and now it finally happened in November: the SUV segment took the crown and was the best-selling vehicle group in True Fleets for the first time ever. With a share of 21.1% SUV outperformed the Compact Car segment (20.4%) and Middle-Class (19.7%). The shortfall from the 1st half-year probably will prevent the Sports Utilities from becoming the strongest segment for full year 2016. But it certainly wouldn’t surprise us to take first place next year.
Amongst the Top-10 there were three models which were able to re-enter the list: Audi A4 (4th, ranked 13th in November 2015), Volkswagen Tiguan (8th / 19th) and Opel Astra (9th / 17th).
With an impressive 7.0% the November growth rate for the British fleet market was the second best month of the year, only outmatched by April’s 8.4% both of which helped push the year-to-date growth to 3.0%. While the Private Market recorded a negative 1.2% for November, YTD growth almost disappeared falling to just + 0.7%.
The two most popular brands for fleet customers, Ford and Opel both lost volume and market share in the current month while all other manufacturers within that Top-10 brand ranking raised their registrations over November 2015. BMW delivered a shining result with a 30.0% increase, putting the Bavarian manufacturer on third position for the first time since January 2011. 3 Series, 5 Series and X1 contributed significantly to this positive result.
Premium brands were quite strong in November. Beside BMW the competitors Mercedes ranked 5th (25.4%) and Audi in 7th (26.0%) performed clearly above the average. The Mercedes C-Class took back the crown in the highly competitive Middle-Class from BMW 3 Series and the A-Class jumped from rank number 6 last year into 3rd place within the Compact car group.
November provided an interesting result for the SUV segment which was led by Asian brands with Nissan Qashqai on #1 followed by Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and Nissan Juke. For all of these four models the UK is currently the most successful market within EU-5 both regarding market share and especially total volume for True Fleet.
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