German True Fleets drop almost 40%
New car sales in Germany fell by 30.5% last month compared to September 2017, figures released by Dataforce show. “That’s 200,134 units in absolute figures. We have to go back to 1985 to find a lower result for September”, says analyst Benjamin Kibies.
German True Fleet registrations in September fared even worse, falling by 38.5% year-on-year. Silver lining: we have to go back only nine years to find a lower result. “While the Private Market took a similar punch – losing 33.7% - registrations of Dealerships, Manufacturers and Short-Term Rentals were a litter closer to their 2017 comparatives, dropping only by 22.7%.”
The reason for this wipeout: the Worldwide Harmonised Light-Vehicle Test Procedure. Better known as WLTP, this is the new, stricter emissions test that vehicles have to pass before they get sold. Those rules did not yet apply in August. Unsurprisingly, Germany had its best True Fleet sales month ever in that month.
So, how did individual brands do in the new test environment?
While the brand ranking habitually lists the ‘usual suspects’ in a grossly similar order, the introduction of WLTP provided a thorough shakeup. “Those OEMs able to deliver Euro 6c cars climbed the ladder while others dropped by almost 80%,” says Mr Kibies.
- BMW grew by 1.7% – performing more than 40% better than the overall channel – and took the True Fleet crown for the first time ever.
- Mercedes came in second because it lost less than the other brands in the WLTP storm.
- Volkswagen came in third – the first time ever it did not lead the True Fleet ranking.
- Each climbing one rung on the ladder, Skoda, Ford and Opel took fourth to sixth place. Ford could have done better had Focus registrations not dropped by 85%.
- Audi, often among the top three, came in only seventh. Toyota, Volvo and Peugeot completed the Top 10.
Further down the ranking, some other brands apart from BMW also managed to grow their True Fleet sales.
“A sharp rise in CX-5 (pictured) fleet registrations boosted Mazda to a +13.8%, into rank number 11, its best position since august 2006. With a +3.0%, Citroën appeared well prepared for WLTP but it seems they were missing a capital J to be part of the month’s high-risers: Jaguar’s registrations surged by 33.9% while Jeep achieved an even higher + 46.1%”.