After the positive growth figures over the recent months, the True Fleet Market eked out positive for September (+ 0.1%). This was in line with a general slowdown of all market segments. While the Private Market softened (‑ 0.3%), Special Channels took a notable 7.9% dip and due to the relevance of tactical registrations in Germany led to a decline of the Total Market by – 3.3%. Once again, it was diesel continuing its downward slide, that other fuel types could not offset, and therefore affected the market segment performances. Nonetheless, the year-to-date growth of + 2.2% for the Total Market is still a healthy level to be at in September.
Fuel types and SUVs influence brand performance
Looking into the True Fleet Top 10 OEMs, we identified different changes compared to September 2016 with a few outstanding gains. No surprise at all, German manufacturers took the first four ranks with Volkswagen in pole position. Mercedes in 2nd climbed two ranks and continued their sound 2017 performance with another + 17.5% in September, owing to the GLC and the E Class as the relevant growth contributors.
Ranks number 3 and 4 went to the Bavarian brands with BMW remaining 3rd and Audi on 4th.
While Skoda in 5th, achieving Top 10’s second highest growth (+ 34.9%), and Ford (6th) were pirouetting around each other, the latest PSA member Opel held its position in 7th and Renault climbed one position into 8th. At 9th position, the Top 10 welcomed a new entry: fuelled by its hybrid engines in general and the new C-HR in particular, Toyota achieved a remarkable double-digit increase of 57.8% and the coveted highest growth rate inside the Top 10. SEAT completed the ranking with their 45th consecutive Top 10 appearance.
Several models counteract negative trend in Middle Class
By analysing fleet’s vehicle-segments, we focussed our attention on the Middle Class, a segment that experiences the perfect storm with competition from SUVs hitting from one side and declining demand for diesel from the other. YTD September, the Middle-Class dipped 10.6% overall while registrations of petrol and alternative fuel types rose by 41.2% and 73.1% respectively.
However, we identified several models, which have managed to achieve a YTD growth. Once again Mercedes with the C Class and also Skoda with the Superb were in the black, but it was the Alfa Romeo Giulia that stole the show increasing by a triple-digit growth rate (+ 861.2%), although it is yet too early to claim a Top 10 position in the Middle Class.