In the first quarter of 2016, 558,700 more units (LCVs and passenger cars) were sold, compared with the same period in 2015, according to a report released by JATO Dynamics. Global car sales totalled 20.44 million units, a 2.8 percent increase compared to the same period in 2015. The market’s biggest brands posted declines, with Volkswagen declining by 1 percent, Hyundai by 3 percent and Chevrolet by 9 percent. Ford, Honda and Mercedes posted the biggest increases among the top 10, at 7 percent, 5 percent and 14 percent respectively.
In terms of models, the Toyota Corolla reported a 4.8 percent gain in Q1 2016, which moved it up the ranking to become the best-selling vehicle for this period, knocking the Wuling Hongguang from the top spot.
The popularity of SUVs in China has been an ongoing source of growth, and the trend continued last quarter, with the country accounting for 36 percent of total sales in Q1 2016. Sales of SUVs in Europe (including Russia and Turkey) gave the overall market a boost with 20 percent growth and 1.11 million units sold.
SUVs continued to dominate across much of the rest of the world in Q1 2016, with the category increasing sales by 23 percent compared with the same period last year and five vehicles from the category entering the top 10 best-selling car ranking – these were the Nissan X-Trail, Honda HR-V, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. All regions included in the report posted positive growth for SUVs, with all except for Japan-Korea posting double-digit growth. As a result of the growth, market share in the SUV segment jumped to 27.4 percent compared to 23 percent in the same period of 2015. Growth in the SUV segment was offset by slower rises among the traditional segment leaders: Renault-Nissan kept the lead in the SUV category but its growth was half the average for the segment. The SUV category showed room for improvement in India and South America as the segment only accounted for 15 percent and 14 percent of the countries’ respective total volumes.
SUV growth also drove premium car volumes, with 2.15 million units sold, 833,300 of which were SUVs. Overall, the premium category saw a dramatic 9 percent gain on the same period last year. The category went from a 10.8 percent market share in Q1 2015 to 11.4 percent in Q1 2016. Europe was the strongest market for premiums, accounting for 43 percent of the global total. North America was second, losing ground at a 24 percent share, and closely followed by China-Taiwan with a 23 percent share of global sales.
Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO, said, “Q1 2016 saw dramatic changes as the SUV category increased its market dominance. The whole world wants a SUV, and this shift is evident in the brand ranking, as those that focused on this segment were the brands that posted the largest gains.”