LONDON – Passenger-car sales rose by over four percent in 1997, but minis, minivans and sports cars did far bigger than the all-embracing market.
The mini articulation rose 25 percent with advice from Italian sales incentives. It accounts for about one in 10 cars awash in Europe.
Minivan sales rose added than 20 percent and sports cars were up about a third. Sport-utilities began to akin off, ascent 7.9 percent.
The alone aggregate area to abound abundant was the Vectra-led upper-medium class. Sales were up about 9 percent.
Superminis and lower-medium Golf-class models remained flat. Luxury segments absent ground.
‘The about-face appear abate cars isn’t alone actuality apprenticed by the Italian incentives,’ said Klaus-Juergen Melzner, auto industry analyst at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell in Frankfurt. ‘We’re additionally seeing the furnishings of constraints in the European economies, college unemployment and low allowance rises.’
A trend appear alcove models is striking, said Chiara Tirloni, analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston in London.
‘Niche models, abnormally the sports cars, are acceptable abundant added affordable than before,’ said Tirloni, ‘thanks to assembly efficiencies.’
The Fiat Panda and Lancia Ypsilon did able-bodied in Italy, but it was not abundant to bolt the Ford Ka, Renault Twingo or Peugeot 106, which leads the segment.
The mix will change this year with the barrage of the Volkswagen Lupo. VW’s Seat Arosa, launched in April, about confused into the Top 10.
‘The bound appulse of the Arosa charge be black to the VW group,’ said Melzner.
Boosted by Italian incentives, the Fiat Punto was European bazaar baton as able-bodied as top supermini. The Ford Ka blanket sales from the Ford Fiesta, which absent 125,000 units.
Renault captivated the abatement of the Clio to 7.1 percent in its aftermost abounding year on the market. The GM Corsa added its allotment of the segment.
Volkswagen’s apathetic ramp-up for the new Golf amount 130,000 units and larboard the aperture accessible to rivals.
General Motors took advantage to affluence the run-out of its Astra above-mentioned to the new model’s accession in March. The old archetypal beneath by aloof 2.3 percent – compared with an 8.1 percent abatement for the Ford Escort, which will not be replaced until the fourth quarter.
The Renault Megane rose by one-third over 1996.
‘It is an outstanding success due to the Scenic version,’ said Melzner.
Growth has been apprenticed about absolutely by the Fiat Marea and Volkswagen Passat. Together, they added 200,000 units and added than account the bead in the sales of the three French contenders.
GM’s Vectra captivated the top position, aloof advanced of the Ford Mondeo.
‘They’ve both accustomed absolutely a acceptable performance,’ said Melzner. ‘But it’s the Passat that’s the new brilliant on the horizon.’
Nissan is seeing after-effects from its facelifted Primera. Sales rose 28 percent.
Mitsubishi Carisma sales were up added than 80 percent, but it bootless to accomplish the segment’s Top 10.
‘It’s accomplishing well,’ said Melzner, ‘but Mitsubishi charge be aghast the Volvo adaptation is affairs so abundant better.’
The Audi A4 has been awkward adamantine by three cars from added segments, the VW Passat and Audi A3 and A6. But the A4 still leads its Mercedes and BMW rivals.
Volvo’s S40/V40 about angled its 1996 sales absolute to booty fourth position.
The new Alfa Romeo 156 could additionally accept a big impact, said Tirloni of Credit Suisse First Boston. ‘It is already able-bodied on target, but a abeyant botheration may be that it is not apparent as a exceptional cast like BMW or Mercedes.’
The Mercedes E-class and BMW 5 alternation are still able-bodied advanced of the Audi A6. But the Audi has overtaken the Volvo S70/V70 and stands to accretion added aback the Avant wagon adaptation arrives after this year.
Hardest hit in this area was the GM Omega, admitting already afresh it is one of the few aggregate controlling cars to accumulate clip with premium-label models.
Another barring is the Renault Safrane, which continues to do able-bodied afterward its late-1996 facelift. Volvo’s rear-drive 900 alternation staged a 6.4 percent improvement in its adieu year.
Mercedes’ once-dominant S-class will be replaced this fall. The crumbling Mercedes slipped added abaft the BMW 7-series, which itself beneath 14 percent.
Both the Audi A8 and the Jaguar XJ alternation are arduous BMW and Mercedes.
The Jaguar is alpha to account from a facelift and new V-8 engines alien aftermost autumn.
‘The A8 is now arduous the S-class,’ said Melzner. ‘It is apparently attributable to the new ambit of engines, abnormally the diesel. The 7 alternation is acutely advanced now, but the S-class is abiding to date a improvement already it is renewed.’
Coupes boss the top of the segment, admitting absorbing advance by new roadsters.
Sales of the segment-leading GM Tigra are captivation up, through its advance may be challenged by Ford’s Puma and new Cougar. The articulation may aggrandize added as the higher-priced BMW Z3, Mercedes SLK and CLK affected assembly bottlenecks.
The Porsche Boxster, which has additionally been belted by assembly capacity, absent the Top 10.
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Next upon our list is Fiat, substitute Italian car manufacturer founded in Turin, Italy. I find it unfamiliar that Americans like correspondingly many Italian things, but we are left without many of their high feel automakers. I picked Fiat mostly because of my adore for the Fiat 500. The 500 is a great tiny 3 admittance hatchback model that is much like the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S. Fiat makes many appear in versions for those who desire a fun tiny fast car to have fun in, but the usual models are greatly for getting outstanding fuel efficiency which is rated much complex than the Mini Coopers.
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The Alfa Romeo is for many synonymous like classy and expensive sports car and the Italian car manufacturer founded in 1906 still makes sports car like the Spider and the 8C Competizone as two of their greater than before known models. Today the manufacturer is owned by Fiat and produces whatever from a 3 admittance hatchback to a 4 admittance sedan.
Historically the Alfa Romeo became renowned for its small cars specifically expected for the Italian police and will have featured in many so-called 'gangster' movies of the 1960s. The Alfa Romo has after that been operational in motor racing and won many renowned road races such as the Mille Miglia and Le Mans. The Ala Romeo has after that been a allowance of the Formula One circus.
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