European Brand Sales Outpace Industry; Jaguar and Land Rover Mum on Numbers

By Jacob Brown | November 01, 2011
All European automakers except Porsche posted strong sales numbers in October compared to last year’s figures. For the first time in a while, the Mercedes-Benz brand outpaced BMW on the month with 22,637 vehicles sold, not including the Sprinter commercial van. The three-point-star brand led with a strong performance lead by its updated C-Class, which tallied 7084 sales. By comparison, BMW came in as a close second with 21,873 vehicles sold, bringing up the automaker’s lead in the luxury market to an industry-leading 199,552. The BMW 3 Series sold 7748 units. Oddly silent this month was Jaguar and Land Rover, which, despite new hits like the 2012 Range Rover Evoque, did not post October numbers. Otherwise, here’s how the European makes faired: BMW’s Winners:
  • BMW's 5 Series, 6 Series, and 7 Series were the only three models to post gains in BMW’s passenger car lineup.
  • The BMW X3 and BMW X5 crossovers buffered BMW’s overall numbers—which it needed in an otherwise down month.
  • The Mini Coupe and Mini Countryman crossover saved the brand's overall sales numbers, as the rest of the lineup took sales hits.
BMW’s Losers:
  • BMW 1 Series sales slipped 40 percent.
  • The BMW Z4 sports car tumbled to just 92 cars sold for the month. Ouch.
  • The Mini Cooper and Mini Clubman models all tumbled. Luckily, the Coupe and hatchback didn’t.
Mercedes-Benz’s Winners:
  • Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW for the month, making the company the top-selling luxury make for the first time in a while.
  • Diesel power represented huge gains for the brand.
  • The E-Class trailed the smaller C-Class by 1500 units, which isn’t bad considering the E-Class costs almost $20,000 more.
  • The Sprinter commercial van saw its sales more than double in October. Colder-weather doesn’t strike us at the best time to start new construction projects.
  • If the CLS-Class sold as good as it looks…wait, it does sell as good as it looks. Nevermind.
Mercedes-Benz’s Losers:
  • The Smart Fortwo sold 327 units last month. Because $14,000 golf carts are the smart things to buy.
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class sales took a nosedive, falling off by half to 927 cars.
  • Could the G-Class finally be nearing its end? The high-priced luxo-ute found just 80 buyers.
  • Mercedes-Benz found just 13 takers for the SLS—down from 59 last year. Thirteen.
  • Rounding out the brand’s tanking vehicles is the R-Class, which no one knew the automaker still made.
Porsche’s Winners:
  • Porsche Cayenne sales amounted almost as much as the Panamera’s and 911’s sales combined.
  • The Panamera sedan found almost as many new owners as the 911 and Boxster combined.
  • There’s something odd going on with a sports car company that doesn’t sell a lot of sports cars…
Porsche’s Losers:
  • The 911 and Boxster/Cayman sold a dismal 441 units and 186 units, respectively. Fortunately, the all-new 911 and Boxster are debuting this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, sure to be a sign of good things to come.
Volkswagen Group’s Winners:
  • The new Audi A8 sold almost 1000% better than the last one. It may look like a big Audi A4, but customers don’t seem to mind.
  • Diesel engines comprise half of the sales for the Audi A3, Audi Q7, Volkswagen Golf and Jetta models. Maybe the Germans are on to something with this diesel thing.
  • The Audi A6 and A7 are runaway hits. Changing wrappers and jacking up the price makes for some added prestige.
  • The new Volkswagen Passat sold the most of any Passat model since Dec. 2005—right before the ridiculously expensive redesigned last-generation model bowed.
  • The new Volkswagen Beetle just went on sale and is building some strong momentum. Will it be able to keep it going?
Volkswagen Group’s Losers:
  • Audi A3 sales dipped by one-third to 412 units. The cheapest Audi is also one of the worst-selling.
  • The Volkswagen Routan minivan remains unloved, selling 834 units, 11.7 percent of what its platform mate, the Grand Caravan sold.
  • Diesel sales at Volkswagen dropped off a cliff, from 37 percent of car sales to 20.5 last month.
  • No love for wagons. Volkswagen no longer sells a Passat wagon, and the Jetta SportWagen is down on the month. Poor guys.
  • The Audi R8 was up 15 percent on the month. That means something if you’re selling more than 69 units in a month, which Audi didn’t.
Volvo’s Winners:
  • Despite having fewer models to sell, Volvo’s brand sales are up for 2010 overall.
  • The Volvo S60 is the newest car from Volvo. Consequently, it’s the only one that sells in much of any volume. Go figure.
  • In Canada, Volvo sold 160 XC60s as its top-selling model. Why should you care? You shouldn’t.
Volvo’s Losers:
  • Where’s the Volvo C30 on any of the company’s sales figures? No one wants a retro-styled niche luxury hatchback, apparently.
  • The Volvo XC60 and XC90 finished second and third for Volvo. That’s not hard to do when you only sell seven vehicles.
Sources: BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, Volvo

That insight would have saved us a lot of efrfot early on.