Kovid-19 dominated the front pages last year, so the chaos that ensued in the car market comes as no surprise.
In the top 10 world markets, 7.71 million fewer cars were sold in 2020 compared to 2019, which is a drop of 12.6 percent. Only one country saw an increase, in South Korea, while the United Kingdom was the worst with a deficit of 28 percent.
Meanwhile, Toyota has regained its crown as the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer, electric cars have continued to break sales records, while the premium segment has remained highly ranked in China.
In fact, a global increase in electric vehicle sales of 28 percent shows that this sector is firmly supported by investment, policy and high technology.
Another significant trend is the continued decline in demand for luxury sedans, as customers continue to turn to SUVs / crossovers. Cadillac and Lincoln, for example, withdrew three sedans from the market, while the large BMW X7 achieved significant sales results in its first year of presence on the market.
Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, sold more vehicles than BMW, as in 2019, but when all brands are included in the bill, the BMW Group was better than Daimler.
Porsche continues to record success with the 911, while Chevrolet has also profited with the new Corvette with a centrally positioned engine.
Significant decline in sales in the top 10 markets
China was the first country to report coronavirus patients, so this market was hit earlier than others, but it also recovered faster. Namely, 2020 ended with a drop in sales of only two percent. Considering that a deficit of eight percent was recorded last year, last year’s result is quite solid.
“The virus, the emergency measures and the initial panic largely explain the general decline in global sales,” said Jato Dynamics analyst Felipe Munoz. “However, we must recall that the global market was already downhill for months before the arrival of Kovid-19.”
The USA (-15%), Japan (-12%) and Germany (-19%), although they had double-digit deficits, still did better than France and Brazil, which climbed to seventh place despite the minus, thanks to even worse UK results.
“If something is encouraging, it’s evidence that sales are recovering in 2021. Fortunately, we see clear signs of market recovery such as China and South Korea, as well as some less visible in the United States, Latin America and India,” Munoz said.
The electric car offensive does not subside
Two years ago, the big news was that electric cars broke the number of one million units sold. Last year, electric cars improved the result to 1.8 million, an increase of 28 percent, so Fr.we expect the two million barrier to be broken in the second half of 2021.
Europe was a significant driver of this growth, surpassing China in 2020, because in the most populous country in the world, subsidies were withdrawn for some months, which slowed down sales.
In Europe, the revised Renault Zoe took first place, ahead of Tesla’s Model 3, which is a great result of this B-segment electric car, which success can be attributed, among other things, to a new battery that provides wider autonomy.
Overall, the Model 3 will transfer the figure of 300,000 units sold to the three main markets, although Jato warns that it may take an additional few months to finalize it.
Signs of recovery in China
The last few months in 2020 suggest that car sales in China could grow this year, after two years of “minus”.
Part of the growth can be attributed to the sale of electric cars, while Tesla, Toyota, German premium brands and domestic manufacturers such as Changan and Hongqi hope to continue the “winning streak”.
Volkswagen, Geely, Hyundai and General Motors, on the other hand, will seek to improve the ranking.
Luxury cars in decline, but not written off
Although global sales of luxury vehicles fell by six percent in 2020, to below 10 million, this decline is significantly smaller than that recorded by the total market. As for the sale of premium cars in China, it even increased in 2020, by 13 percent, which is a great result.
“In fact, the large increase in China has made it possible for this market to surpass the European one and become the largest for premium vehicle manufacturers,” says Munoz. One of the three luxury cars sold in the world, it ended up in China.
The biggest winners globally were Tesla, China’s Hongqi and Nio, and Hyundai’s premium Genesis subsidiary. The biggest losers, on the other hand, were Land Rover, Acura, Infiniti, Jaguar and Alfa Romeo.
Electric SUVs / crossovers continue to grow – the Audi wheel leads
In 2019, electric SUVs / crossovers were one of the favorite topics, because after five years of development and research, premium brands filled this segment that was once conceived by the Tesla Model X.
Last year, the Audi e-tron ranked best, outperforming all major rivals in terms of sales, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
“The sales volume of the e-throne was twice as high as the EQC,” says Munoz, “which is exceptional, since Mercedes has stronger positions almost everywhere. Nio ES6 and EC6 also recorded interesting results. We have to keep in mind that these cars are not cheap and could soon play an important role outside the home, Chinese market. “
Toyota is again ahead of VW, Hyunda and Kia in solid positions
The Japanese company regained the leading position with the most sold cars in 2020. This is primarily due to the expertise in the field of hybrid drive and the strong market presence in Japan and the USA. Even, the difference in the end was not insignificant, as Toyota surpassed Volkswagen by 1.86 million units with 7.27 million cars sold.
“Volkswagen was more exposed to the impact of the pandemic due to its strong positions in China and Europe, where Kovid-19 hit the hardest in the first six months of last year,” says Munoz. However, Volkswagen’s recent expansion into the SUV / crossover segments has halted sales.
The global transition to electric cars has rewarded the investment efforts of BMW, Kia, Hyundai and Mercedes, which have strengthened their positions relative to direct rivals.
Hard times for JLR
Sales of the Jaguar Land Rover fell in 2020, and both brands recorded a “minus” higher than the global level (6%), when it comes to the premium segment.
Land Rover “slipped” to 311,000 units sold (-18%), while Jaguar recorded an unpleasant drop of 35 percent (104,000), coming very close to the figure of 100,000, where it was ten years ago, before billions of pounds. pumped ”by the Indian Tate.
“JLR continues to deal with the same problem: Jaguar cannot position itself firmly after losing too many years on limousines, while Land Rover is facing cannibalization,” says Munoz.
The bright spot was the Jaguar I-Pace EV with an increase of three percent (almost 17,000 units), but the bestsellers like the F-Pace and E-Pace SUV / crossover experienced a collapse due to the pandemic and “Brexit”.
With the temporary closure of the plant in Castle Bromwich due to the pandemic, the Jaguar XE and XF sedans together sold sales of barely 30,000 units, which is a three-month production of the BMW 3 Series.
With the arrival of the revised Evoque, the combined sales of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, of nearly 100,000 units, were close to Jaguar’s total placement. Despite all the adversity, the company sold about 20,000 more cars than in 2019.
Supercar sales are weaker, but some have been successful
It was to be expected that sales of super sports cars would be weaker in 2020, and that is what happened.
There are also more models in this segment than ever before, at least 20, so their lives are further complicated by pandemic difficulties. A drop of five percent (82,097) was recorded, but the Porsche 911 was obviously not affected.
The new Chevrolet Corvette has dominantly entered the market since its launch, surpassing the results achieved by its predecessor, and for now, fears that a change in powertrain could turn away traditional customers seem to have been unfounded. Also a newcomer, the Bentley Continental GT, proved to be “virus resistant”, while the Lexus LC also profited, leaving behind some more established models, after the convertible version was launched.
Aston Martin’s troubles have been well documented throughout the year, but it may not have been expected that Ferrari Portofino would experience a significant drop in sales.
German premium brands indestructible like “armor”
Mercedes leads the German premium giants globally, although the BMW Group has been the most successful when Mini and Rolls-Royce are added to the bill.
The new 3 Series made a strong contribution to BMW, while Audi was slowed down by the timeless A4 and the launch of the new A3.
New Defender arrives “with fanfare”
A significant selling point of JLR was the new Land Rover Defender. With 26,500 units sold, this model has established itself as a good business project, given the much higher price compared to its predecessor, although hand on heart not exactly celebrated.
Jat’s preliminary figures show that the five-door Defender 110 is selling in the US market at a ratio of two to one compared to the UK. Still, Discovery sales fell nearly 12,000 units (-34%), so the question of “cannibalization” within the game is quite certain.
Growing sales and first profit for Tesla
The California-based manufacturer has finally profited from sales expansion in 2020, which is a key moment for the company in its twelve-year history.
Sales in China, for example, experienced a spectacular growth of 226 percent, with the start of local production, while the Model 3 broke the barrier of 300,000 units sold.
“Most importantly, the company made a profit based on the sales expansion process,” says Munoz.
Jato also stressed that Tesla’s figures are likely to change when the finalized data from November and December replace the current estimates.
Still, last year proved challenging for Tesla. The older and more expensive Model S and Model X lost a share of sales in the growing segment. The Model 3 lost its leading position in Europe to Renault Zoe, while the brand began to lose market share in the Old Continent, albeit slightly.
Looking ahead, the competition will only get tougher as many other manufacturers enter the electrification of their offerings, and this process was accelerated in 2020, when the PSA Group and Volkswagen Group launched an electric offensive, and both the Mini Electric and Fiat 500e were launched.
Luxury limousines are losing customers from SUVs / crossovers
The significant drop in sales of premium limousines is a consequence of some dramatic decisions. Cadillac discontinued production of the XTS and CT6, Lincoln “euthanized” Continental, while Porsche launched Taycan, as a kind of electric counterpart to the Panamera.
“The XTS sold well in China, and Continental is a victim of Ford’s strategic decision to abolish sedans in favor of SUVs / crossovers,” says Munoz.
Sales of the Lexus LS, a model that is only three years old, have also declined. “Lexus has almost disappeared from the segment with the LS, which is not to the taste of Europeans,” added Munoz.
Urban and luxury models best-selling among SUVs / crossovers
The flock has yet to collect complete annual data from the SUV segment globally, but early indicators suggest that the city and premium models ranked best in terms of sales.
In its first year of market presence, the BMW X7 was extremely successful, finding nearly 48,000 owners. The Range Rover, the ancestor of this vehicle category, fell to 49,000 units sold.
Ford Mustang bike leads to “athletes”
Sports cars and coupes are two separate segments, but in both there was a significant drop in sales, as discretionary spending was affected by the pandemic.
Market conditions proved difficult for the new BMW Z4, while the icon in the segment, the Mazda MX-5, fell to less than 17,000 units sold, which is worrying.
Meanwhile, the fabulous Alpine A110 continues to struggle. Last year, only 1,529 units of this model were sold, which is a drop of 68 percent compared to 2019, while the rival from Porsche, 718 Boxster / Cayman, recorded a “minus” of 57 percent.
Source: Hot tires
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