Netherlands 2012 Results Highlights

Presentacion Ano 2012More than 500.000 passenger cars were sold in the Netherlands in 2012. It is the 6th largest car market in Western Europe, but it is also facing tough times, and last year the market was down 10%. VW Group controls 22% of the market, while PSA is far behind with 13% share. Hyundai and Kia impress jumping from 5th place in 2011 to the third one, increasing its registrations by 5%. The main reason of the fall comes from lower segments, A and B, that counted for 48% of total sales. City car sales dropped 15%, and B-Segment sales fell 10%. MPV segment fell 18%. The only segments to increase their sales were ‘C’, up 13%, and ‘D’, up 6%. Netherlands is feeling the consequences of austerity measures inside the European Union, and the high taxes on the prices of cars don’t help the industry to maintain its sales levels (in Jan-Apr 2013 total sales have dropped an incredible 30%!).

Source: Best Selling Cars Blog, Rai, FGW Data Basis

Source: Best Selling Cars Blog, Rai, FGW Data Basis

Even if the Netherlands is Europe’s second largest city car market in terms of share (after Denmark), Fiat-Chrysler’s position deteriorated dramatically in 2012. Total sales fell to 24.428 passenger cars (-32%) and 2.975 LCV. In terms of market share, the group controls 4,86% of the passenger car market, and 5,26% of LCV market. These numbers are better than the results in Germany, UK, France, and Spain, where the average market share was 3,2%. But this may get over as Fiat-Chrysler was the group with the deepest fall among big car makers. The reason for this? the VW Up! and the Fiat Punto. The arrival of the new VW city car had a big negative impact on the sales of the 500 and Panda, that fell 31% and 18%. Both products counted for 56% of the group’s sales. Besides, the Punto’s poor performance (down 56%) made Fiat brand to lose 1.5 basic points of share (-10.000 units). Alfa Romeo made part of the disaster, down 34%, enough to overshadow the good performance of Lancia, up 16%, but still very small (3,4% of the group’s sales).

Source: Best Selling Cars Blog, Rai, FGW Data Basis

Source: Best Selling Cars Blog, Rai, FGW Data Basis

As it was written before, A-Segment counts for 56% of the group’s sales. It is also the segment where the group has the best position, as it controls 11,3% of its sales (in its first year in A-Segment, VW group’s share within the segment was 13,4%; PSA controls 21,2%). B-Segment sales counted for 30% with market share of 5,9%. Passenger LCV (Doblo, Fiorino, Qubo) represented only 1,3% of the sales, but they controlled 10,3% of the segment sales. After a moderate fall in 2012, Netherlands’ car market is expected to drop considerably in 2013. In this context, and without any important launch (the 500L makes part of MPV segment, which is not popular over there), Fiat-Chrysler’s sales might fall to 16.000-17.000 units. The Up! and its cousins will continue to catch market share, while the 500 moves slowly, and the Panda hasn’t taken off yet.

Source: Best Selling Cars Blog, Rai, FGW Data Basis

Source: Best Selling Cars Blog, Rai, FGW Data Basis

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3 responses to “Netherlands 2012 Results Highlights

  1. I personally believe that this analysis is incomplete, i.e. when looking at the results one can obtain much more information about the problems of FIAT in the Netherlands.
    First of all there is the fact that both the sales numbers and the market share of the new Panda model in its first year are lower that those of the old Panda model in its last year. This of course could be a result of the strong performance of Volkswagen’s new up!, as you stated above. Also, the prices of the new Panda are considerably higher than those of its predecessor, and an entry-level engine option has arrived only lately (the TwinAir 65).
    Secondly one should look carefully at the sales mix of the FIAT brand in the Netherlands (I consider neither Lancia nor Alfa Romeo here, as these brands play a marginal role). In 2012, the models Panda, 500 and Punto count for over 95% of the sales! As a consequence, the other FIAT passenger car models (in decreasing order of sales Ducato, Doblò, Sedici, Bravo, Fiorino, Qubo and Scudo) count for nothing, literally. The FIAT Bravo, for example, in 2012 sold less units than the Fisker Karma…
    One could say that the bad results of FIAT in the Netherlands are due to the strong competition of Volkswagen in particular, but I disagree. With a growing A- and B-segment, a brand such as FIAT should gain market share instead of losing it. Therefore I believe the actual problem of FIAT is in the cars they build, one component in particular: the engines.
    As you certainly know, the Dutch car market has been dramatically disrupted by tax policies in the past years. Fuel efficient, “clean” cars get an enormous tax discount nowadays. This means that for a car model to be successful on the Dutch market, a fuel efficient version is vital. The best examples are the PSA-Toyota triplets (and their copies from Slovakia), the VW Polo (the 1.2 TDI Bluemotion in particular), the Renault Mégane (Eco2), the Ford Focus (Ecoboost) and so on.
    Also FIAT profited from this tax discount, especially in 2010 and 2011. The old Panda with the 1.2 Fire engine was clean enough to obtain the discount, so were the 500 1.2 Fire, the Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 MJET and the Alfa Romeo MiTo 1.3 MJET.
    But competitors reacted quickly, and one after the other introduced A- and B-segment cars with clean petrol and Diesel engines. As a result, the FIAT 1.3 MJET models had to compete with cars equipped with 1.6 e-HDi and 1.5 DCi diesel engines, highly superior in terms of engine noise and vibrations.
    But the real pain is, in my opinion, the TwinAir engine family. Yes, most cars (Panda, 500, Punto, MiTo, Ypsilon) equipped with these engines benefit from tax discounts, but customers do not appreciate (or do not understand) the two-cylinder engine. The competing three- and four-cylinder engines, turbocharged or not, provide lower noise and far better real-life fuel consumption figures than FIAT’s smallest.
    Unfortunately, I have no reason to believe that this situation is going to change soon. The 500L has had a positive reception, but the B-MPV segment is small in the Netherlands and the most important engines of the 500L are, again, TwinAir.

    • Thanks a lot for your comment Wouter. It’s always good to receive comments from locals, who normally have a better understanding of their markets. Unfortunately, as you mentioned, the analysis is incomplete. This is because it’s quite difficult (lack of time) to make a close analysis of all markets. That’s why I wrote ‘Highlights’. Anyway, what you say is very interesting to better understand the poor performance of the group in that market. It’s a pity that TwinAir engines are not appreciated in the Netherlands. Keep reading

  2. The only real problem is that the Dutch market is in a very bad condition and that FGA doesn’t have enough models (yet) to choose from. This combination kills the sales in a stronger way.

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