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Car Reviews

New car sales 2020: Registrations down 2.9 per cent in February

March’s data reveals expected collapse of new car market materialised last month; April’s figures could be even worse


It stands to reason that if car showrooms are closed, fewer cars will be sold – and that’s precisely what happened last month, as the coronavirus lockdown saw new car registrations fall by a dramatic 44.4 per cent.

The collapse – while expected – brings new-car registrations down to a level lower than any seen since the 1990s, and has seen the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) downgraded its projected annual 2020 sales figure 23 per cent to 1.73 million cars. 

  • Can I drive my car during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown?

But the worst may yet be to come: with the Government only announcing an enforced lockdown over mid-way through last month, buyers may still have been attending showrooms for the first part of March. April, with dealerships deemed non-essential businesses and closed all month, is likely to see all but online new-car sales dry up completely. 

The SMMT warns other European countries that shut down their countries earlier than the UK saw more dramatic declines last month, with Italian sales down 85 per cent, the French market falling by 72 per cent, and Spanish registrations dropping by 69 per cent.

Despite last month’s significant decline in registrations, some 11,694 pure electric cars were delivered in March, accounting for 4.6 per cent of the market. Plug-in hybrid sales, meanwhile, rose 38 per cent. 

The SMMT also highlighted the positive work being done by the automotive industry in the wake of the crisis, with Formula 1 teams and other firms racing to make medical ventilators, and manufacturers pledging both staff and vehicles to help front-line workers.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “With the country locked down in crisis mode for a large part of March, this decline will come as no surprise. Despite this being the lowest March since we moved to the bi-annual plate change system, it could have been worse had the significant advanced orders placed for the new 20 plate not been delivered in the early part of the month. 

“We should not, however, draw long term conclusions from these figures other than this being a stark realisation of what happens when economies grind to a halt.

“How long the market remains stalled is uncertain, but it will reopen and the products will be there. In the meantime, we will continue to work with government to do all we can to ensure the thousands of people employed in this sector are ready for work and Britain gets back on the move.”

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Car Reviews

Volkswagen EV Sales In U.S. Declined In Q1 2020

Electrification of the Volkswagen brand in the U.S. is moving slowly – e-Golf is declining, while the ID.3 is not even planned.

Volkswagen reports sales of 75,075 cars in the first quarter of 2020 (down 13%) in the U.S., but only less than half a percent were actually electric.

The general sales are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak (in March sales went down by 42% year-over-year).

The only plug-in model – the all-electric e-Golf – noted just 361 sales, which is 58% less than a year ago and just 0.48% of all VW (4.7% of Golfs).

Volkswagen e-Golf sales in the U.S. – Q1 2020

There are two major reasons for that – there is a ton of demand for the e-Golf in Europe and a necessity to sell a lot of e-Golfs in Europe to comply with new emission requirements.

That would basically explain why the volume is so marginal, even compared to the Nissan LEAF, to not search far.

Detailed results:


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Car Reviews

Volvo's Q1 2020 sales down by 18.2% due to Covid-19

Volvo’s consecutive years of charting record growth has been abruptly disrupted by the novel coronavirus outbreak, and in the first quarter of 2020 it sold 131,889 cars globally. That’s a drop of 18.2% compared to the same period last year.

Last month, the Swedish brand sold 46,395 cars, down 31.2% compared to the March 2019, mostly due to weaker demand in Europe and the US. It sold 70,510 cars in Europe, down 18.5% from Q1 2019, and shifted just 19,485 cars in the US, representing a reduction of 11.7%. Both these markets are expected to deteriorate further as they battle the rampaging Covid-19 outbreak.

On the flip side, the China market is currently showing signs of recovery, with Volvo claiming that showroom traffic is improving. In China, Volvo sold 20,780 cars, a 30.5% drop from the same period last year. Some provinces which began easing movement restrictions in the beginning of March have seen an increase of activity in dealerships, and Volvo has also reopened four of its manufacturing plants in China.


A breakdown for the total number of cars Volvo sold globally in Q1 2020

For Q1 2020, the Volvo XC60 was the best-selling model with 36,930 units sold (down from 46,259 units in Q1 2019), followed by the XC40 (34,268 units; up from 28,903 cars) and XC90 (18,327 units; down from 22,073 cars).

Its SUV range accounted for 67.9% of the total sales in the first quarter (up from 60.3% in Q1 2019), while the Recharge plug-in hybrid line-up stood at 14.7%, nearly doubling last year’s first quarter figure of 7.4%.

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Auto News

VW Sales Drop In Q1, But They Were Actually Going Well Until…

Volkswagen’s sales are down 13% in March, but it hasn’t lost faith in its product because until March sales had been up nearly 10%.

The sales dip was predictable given the global pandemic and looks as though it will dip into Q2, as well. March sales, as a result of the coronavirus, are down 42%.

“Our performance through February was outstanding and reinforced our confidence in our strategy,” said Duncan Movassaghi, EVP of sales and marketing, in a statement.

And indeed, the Tiguan and Atlas’s sales increased sharply in January and February. Volkswagen’s SUV sales rose 15% in the first two months of 2020. The Tiguan and Atlas’s, by the end of the quarter, were down 17% and 11%, respectively.

Although VW’s product plan is still okay, the company now has to face the same reality as everyone else. Reduced sales, regardless of reason, and fewer people buying. For the time being, though, says it will focus on keeping things as stable as possible.

“The focus now is on establishing as much stability as possible for our customers, employees, and our dealer partners during this crisis,” said Movasagghi.

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Car Reviews

Europe: Sales Stats Reveal BEV/PHEV Distribution Between Segments

More than two-thirds of all BEVs sold in Western Europe in Jan-Feb 2020 were small lower to medium size cars.

The plug-in electric car sales stats for the first two months of 2020 in Western Europe, provided by the industry analyst Matthias Schmidt, reveals a quite interesting pattern, between BEVs/PHEVs and particular segments.

Overall sales of the passenger plug-in electric cars amounted some 138,000, out of which:

As it turns out, two-thirds of all BEVs falls on three car categories:

On the other hand, half of all PHEVs were SUV/crossovers. However it this category the share of all-electric cars is also quite significant.

We assume that smaller cars simply don’t need anything else than pure electric drive and manufacturers are rarely even offering such vehicles as PHEVs.

On the other hand, adding a plug-in hybrid version of SUV models is kind of a necessary tool to lower average emissions to the required level.

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Car Reviews

The Last Positive EV Sales Numbers In Europe? February 2020

In February, plug-in car sales in Europe more than doubled. In March we expect the huge downward effect of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The overall passenger car sales are weak in Europe – in February new registrations decreased by 7% year-over-year to over 1.06 million.

With just several countries noting any increase, just imagine the full-blown effect of coronavirus in March and April.

Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented:

“The situation is rapidly deteriorating in Europe due to complex regulation, lack of available homologated cars, and increasing pressure on the economy. All of these factors are having a detrimental impact on consumer confidence.”.

The electrified car segment (xEVs – BEVs, PHEVs and HEVs), on the other hand, was doing great – in February, the total sales in 27-markets monitored by JATO Dynamics went up 80% year-over-year to 135,500! That’s almost 13% of the total car sales.

“Against this negative backdrop, electrified vehicles were once again the outlier in the industry. Their registrations jumped from 75,400 units in February 2019 to 135,500 units last month. The increase of over 80% came at the expense of diesel and petrol cars who saw significantly fewer registrations. Munoz added: “So far this year, electrified vehicles have been the only lifeline for manufacturers operating in Europe. This is good news, as the industry’s electrification plans have finally seen a positive response from consumers.””

Top 5 European countries by xEVs share in all passenger cars registrations:

Among the “big markets” by volume, France seems to have the highest xEV share (14%), followed by 13% in the UK, 11% in Germany, 10% in Spain and 8.6% in Italy.

Plug-in car sales in Europe (19-markets) – February 2020

Data for the 19-markets indicate that plug-ins are now a bigger segment than regular hybrids:

“As EVs have increasingly become a viable alternative to gasoline and diesel cars, SUVs are now struggling in the competitive environment. Registrations for SUVs fell by 1.7% to 415,300 units, taking the year-to-date total to 865,500 units, down by 1.4% from last year. The fall in registrations was due to the compact SUVs, declining by 3.7% in contrast to the strong growth experienced by large SUVs, who saw an increase of 17%. Although there was a decrease in SUV registrations their market share did in fact increase due to the overall downturn of the market.”


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Car Reviews

Austria's EV Sales Reach Record Level: 6.7% Of Total Automotive Sales

The coronavirus outbreak will not allow Austria to sustain such a result this month we guess.

During the first two months of this year, Austria was enjoying an outstanding take-off of plug-in electric car sales. Now the country is struggling with COVID-19.

The total number of new passenger plug-in car registrations amounted to 1,410 in February and 2,662 YTD (up 67% year-over-year), which was enough to put the reach to a record market share of 6.7%! That’s like 1 in 15 new cars.

The bad news is that coronavirus outbreak will not allow EVs to grow so quickly – actually there might be no growth at all in March and a couple following months.

The majority (about 70%) of sales are all-electric cars (4.6% market share), but BEV growth of 38% year-over-year is slow compared to what is happening with plug-in hybrids – up 192% year-over-year.

Plug-in electric car sales – in February 2020

The top-selling model in Austria is Renault ZOE – the new-generation of ZOE is doing great also in other European countries, followed by the Tesla Model 3.

In normal circumstances, we would expect a high number of Model 3 deliveries in March (third month of a quarter), but nothing is for sure today.


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Car Reviews

Porsche sales hits record high in 2019 – 280,800 cars sold, RM135.5 billion in sales revenue, 15% profit!

Porsche has achieved record levels in sales for its 2019 financial year, delivering a total of 280,800 cars to customers globally. This represents a 10% increase over the same period in 2018, with sales revenue up by 11% to 28.5 billion euros (RM135.5 billion). The return on sales before special items was 15.4%, which is the highest in the automotive world.

The Macan SUV is once again the automaker’s most popular offering, with 99,944 units (a 16% increase over 2018) sold worldwide. The Cayenne trails closely with 92,055 units delivered, or about 29% more than in 2018. Porsche said 15% of those sales were from the new Cayenne Coupe. Europe and Germany showed the strongest growth by far – Porsche shifted 88,975 vehicles in the continent, with 31,618 of those coming from Germany alone. Both markets saw an increase of 15% in sales compared to 2018.

The sports car manufacturer also saw an increase in the two largest auto market. In China, it sold 86,752 vehicles, an 8% increase from 2018, and in the US it sold 61,568 vehicles – also an 8% increase. On the whole, sales of the 911 drifted down slightly to 34,800 units in 2019.

Besides that, Porsche’s year-on-year operating profit went up by 3% to 4.4 billion euros (RM20.9 billion), a figure which would have been higher if it wasn’t for a fine of 500 million euros (RM2.38 billion) over the Dieselgate scandal. In the same period, the automaker’s workforce grew by 10% to 35,429 employees.


Porsche boss Oliver Blume said: “Thanks to our attractive product range, consisting of efficient petrol-driven cars, high-performance plug-in hybrids and now also purely electric sports cars, our deliveries once again increased in the 2019 financial year. Our primary goal is value-creating growth. We have increased our result by more than 60% over the past five years. This allows us to create the prerequisites to fully meet our entrepreneurial responsibilities in economic, ecological and social areas.”

Porsche CFO Lutz Meschke added: “In 2019 we achieved new record values in terms of sales revenue and profits before special items. The increase in profits is due particularly to the strong increase in volumes as well as the positive development of our other business fields and divisions.”

“At the same time, higher fixed costs, caused by our growth, significant investments in electrification and digitalisation, and currency effects had a negative impact on the result. We nevertheless again exceeded our strategic targets with a return on sales of 15.4% before special items and a return on investment of 21.2%,” he added.


Moving forward, Porsche will invest around 10 billion euros (RM47.5 billion) in the hybridisation, electrification and digitalisation of its cars. It will soon introduce the Taycan Cross Turismo and the Macan EV, both of which are underpinned by the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture. By 2025, half of its sales is expected to be comprised of electrified vehicles.

For instance, Porsche delivered just 813 units of the Taycan in 2019 (one of which is purchased by Bill Gates), but it already received around 30,000 orders for the EV before it debuted in September. Blume said more than 15,000 customers have since signed their purchase contract.

For 2020, Meschke said Porsche is facing an economically and politically challenging environment due to the coronavirus. However, the company aims to continue to meet its high earnings target. “With measures that will boost efficiency and by developing new, profitable business fields, we aim to continue to achieve our strategic goal of a return on sales of 15%,” he said.

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Plug-In Electric Car Sales In Switzerland Are Growing Quickly

Switzerland boosts its EV sales pace, achieving 8% market share during the first two months of 2020.

After the two first months of 2020, Switzerland already enjoys a strong plug-in electric car sales expansion by 84% to over 3,000 new registrations.

The average plug-in market share is about 8% so far this year – significantly above the 5.5% noted during 12 months of 2019.

The results in Switzerland are an important example, as there are no significant incentives for EVs, just a huge wealth accumulated over centuries, which allows buyers to afford the latest electric models. Once EV prices will gradually decline, also other countries will be able to see similar market share without grants.

Plug-in car sales in Switzerland – February 2020

The most popular model is clearly the Renault ZOE (267 in February and 477 YTD), but the second-best Tesla Model 3 (80 in February and 226 YTD), is expected to narrow the gap in March.

It’s hard to judge the market after just two months, but the table probably will change a lot, as many well-selling new EVs didn’t even appear on the top 20 list. There is no Peugeot e-208 or Audi e-tron, for example.


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Car Reviews

Geely sales down 75% in February due to COVID-19

It has been tough going in recent times with the outbreak of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, and the downturn has also been reflected in Geely Automobile Holding’s sales figures for last month, which includes Lynk & Co, saw the Chinese automaker chart a 75% decrease in sales to 21,168 units for February 2020 compared to the same month last year.

The disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak is in addition to the regular common factors in lower sales for month of February such as fewer working days in the month, as well as the Chinese New Year holidays immediately prior to this.

Elsewhere, other automakers have been adversely affected by the outbreak as well – Ford and its joint venture partner, among others, have been issued stop-work guidelines, while Tata, Mahindra and Nissan faced disruptions due to issues with parts supply from China.

Total sales volume recorded by the Geely group for the first two months of this year was 133,006 units, representing a decrease of around 45% compared to the same period last year, which brings the company to just 9% of its full-year target volume of 1,410,000 units for 2020. Also suffering decline was the group’s export volume, which decreased 59% year-on-year to 4,847 units for the first two months of this year.

The group’s total sales volume in the China market also fell, by 44% compared to the same period last year to 128,159 units in the first two months of 2020. Of these, 6,421 units were new energy and electrified vehicles, said Geely. In February, 8,321 sedans, 11,934 SUVs and 913 MPVs were sold. In this time, the total sales volume of Lynk & Co models totalled 2,066 units.

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